The 5 Best National Parks to Visit in the Fall

National Parks


At long last, the fall season has arrived! Now is the time to dig the winter coats out of the closet, pick up an RV rental, and head off into the wild to enjoy a little cool-weather camping.

If you’re anything like our tribe of RV lovers, you plan your autumn weekends around hunting down the best fall color views. In our humble opinion, there is no better place for leaf-peeping than in the many national parks scattered across the U.S. and Canada. Here are some of the best national parks to visit in the fall to see fall foliage.

The Best National Parks to Visit in the Fall

While any national park can be a great place to visit in the fall, if you’re looking to see fall colors, here are five parks we recommend.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is a kaleidoscope of color all year round. Various shades of red, brown, pink, salmon, gold, and white are on constant display due to the Navajo sandstone that makes up the park. The changing of the leaves gives the park an extra splash of color, especially during the first two weeks of October. 

Things to Do at Zion National Park in the Fall

Zion is a magical place all year, but this is especially true in the fall season. Some top things to do in the park during autumn include:

  • Hike The Narrows

  • Watch the Fall Foliage

  • Explore Zion Canyon

  • Canyon Overlook Trail

  • Observation Point Trail

  • Camp Under the Stars

  • Ranger Programs

  • Wildlife Viewing

  • Photography

  • Canyoneering 

  • Horseback Riding

Remember to check for any seasonal closures or trail conditions before your visit, and always practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park's natural beauty. Fall is a fantastic time to experience Zion National Park, with cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and stunning autumn scenery.

Insider Tip: While you can see tons of great color from the Valley floor, we recommend taking in the bird’s-eye view from the top of Angel’s landing.

fall foliage

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the best places in the country to catch fall colors and the state takes that honor very seriously. In fact, they come out with a weekly fall foliage report so you can know exactly when and where to catch the highlights. 

Things to Do at Acadia National Park in the Fall

There is no shortage of things to do at Acadia National Park during autumn. Try some of these activities: 

  • Hike the Trails

  • Drive the Park Loop Road

  • Climb Cadillac Mountain

  • Visit Jordan Pond

  • Explore Carriage Roads

  • Bird Watching

  • Whale Watching

  • Photography

  • Enjoy Fall Festivals

  • Visit the Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center

  • Campfires and Stargazing

  • Paddle the Lakes and Pond

  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Be sure to check the weather conditions and park alerts, as some areas and facilities may close in the fall due to weather or seasonal changes. Acadia National Park in the fall offers a mix of outdoor adventure, scenic beauty, and cultural experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.

Insider Tip: For some of the best Autumn vistas, we recommend taking a drive along the 27-mile scenic loop in Acadia National Park that begins at Hulls Cove Visitors Center. 


Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Autumn is pure magic in Grand Teton National Park with its large stands of cottonwoods, aspens, and willows. Be on the lookout for wildlife as well — It’s deer and elk mating season and they are en masse in the park, taking in the fall colors along with you!  

Things to Do at Grand Teton National Park in the Fall 

Grand Teton National Park is a site to behold, especially during fall! Check out these fun activities for your road trip to Grand Teton:

  • Fall Foliage Drives

  • Wildlife Viewing

  • Hiking

  • Scenic Boat Cruises

  • Photography

  • Wildlife Safaris

  • Stargazing

  • Fly Fishing

  • Visit the Jackson Hole Visitor Center

  • Horseback Riding

  • Attend Ranger Programs

Remember to dress in layers, as the temperatures can vary greatly in the fall, and be prepared for cooler evenings. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventure, wildlife encounters, or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, Grand Teton National Park in the fall offers an array of activities to enjoy the beauty of this iconic destination.

Insider Tip: Head to Oxbow Bend – with the Snake River in the foreground and Mt. Moran behind, the yellow and oranges of fall sure pop! 

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

In Banff National Park, spring and summer are dominated by the blues and greens of its crystalline lakes and evergreen trees, while winter is a whitewash of heavy snow. But for a brief, two-week period near the very end of September, Mother Nature sneaks in to crown the area with an unforgettable splash of color. 

Things to Do in Banff National Park in the Fall

Banff National Park in Alberta is known for its beauty in all seasons. Fall is no exception. Here are several activities the whole family can do in Banff this autumn:

  • Take a Scenic Drive

  • Hiking

  • Canoeing

  • Wildlife Viewing

  • Visit Lake Louise

  • Gondola Rides

  • Visit Moraine Lake

  • Photography

  • Relax in the Hot Springs

  • Stargazing

  • Visit the Town of Banff

  • Go Horseback Riding

  • Attend Ranger Programs

  • Explore the Cave and Basin

Make sure to check the weather and road conditions, as some areas may start experiencing snowfall in the fall. Dress warmly, and be prepared for changing weather conditions, as mountain weather can be unpredictable. Banff National Park in the fall offers a serene and colorful escape into the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Insider Tip: Fall trees dot the mountains behind Lake Louise like multi-colored sprinkles on a Pop-Tart. It’s our favorite place in the park for taking in the season.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an extraordinary variety of deciduous trees, including yellow birch, mountain maple, American beech, and pin cherry. At the height of Autumn – usually mid to late October – visitors will see the full gambit of reds, oranges, yellows, and even purples throughout the park. 

Things to Do in Smoky Mountains National Park

The Smoky Mountains offer plenty for visitors to do while they explore the national park, including:

  • Hiking

  • Auto Tours

  • Wildlife Viewing

  • Waterfalls

  • Picnicking

  • Horseback Riding

  • Fishing

  • Ranger-Led Programs

  • Birdwatching

  • Wildflower Viewing

  • Photography

  • Visit Historic Buildings

  • Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers

  • Water Activities

Before you visit, check the park's website for current conditions, road closures, and safety guidelines. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of activities for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and outdoor adventurers to enjoy throughout the year.

Insider Tip: The best fall color drives include the Foothills Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway and Clingmans Dome Road (the highest point in Tennessee).


Wherever you’re heading to get your fall color fix at one of these best national parks to visit in the fall, let us take you there in a Cruise America RV rental. Tag @CruiseAmericaRV on Instagram with your best fall color pics for your chance to be featured on our social pages!