Where to Find the Most Awesome Fall Hiking Trails in the U.S.
Fresh air, foliage, and photo opps, oh my!
Who doesn’t love to get outside in the fall? Fresh air, cool temps, and of course, that fall classic: vibrant foliage. And for a truly unforgettable fall getaway, you can combine all three of them on some pretty awesome hiking trails scattered around the country.
So go ahead, pack your comfy hiking boots and coziest fleece, and meet us at one of these trails. You’ll “fall” in love with them, we promise!
Acadia National Park, ME
It’s no secret that we love our national parks!
Acadia National Park has been nicknamed “The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, and it’s easy to see why. The park contains numerous summits mixed with easy hiking trails to suit almost any experience level.
If you’re an experienced hiker/climber, have a go at the challenging climb of Champlain Mountain’s Precipice Trail. The nearly vertical climb rises over 1,000 feet in less than a mile, making it physically and mentally taxing. The stunning summit views are well worth it!
If you want to take it easier, you’ll enjoy the Ocean Path Trail. The 2-mile path hugs the craggy shoreline, making for a relatively flat walk with plenty of gorgeous scenery.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH
One of the things we love most about Cuyahoga Valley is its location: stretched along the Cuyahoga River, an easy day trip from either Cleveland or Akron.
But you’ll forget that you’re anywhere near a city once you enter the park. The park offers a whopping 125 miles of hiking trails, with backdrops that feature winding rivers, thick forests, gently rolling hills, and peaceful valleys.
Our favorite hike in the park is the popular trail to Blue Hen Falls. At just over 3 miles, with some elevation changes, it’s not easy, but you’ll be glad you did it. The 15-foot waterfall is beautiful all year, but seeing it amongst the fall foliage is magnificent.
Pro Tip: if you’re flying into Cleveland, leave time to visit a brewery (or two)!
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Ready to take on a slightly longer hike? Mount Rainier’s got this one covered.
The park’s Skyline Trail is slightly longer than most easy hikes, coming in at 5.5 miles (roundtrip). But wow, are the views with the extra miles! The trail goes above the tree line, leading to unobstructed views of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. And about halfway through the trail, you’ll reach Panorama Point, with sweeping views that include Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, and the Nisqually Glacier.
Plus, the park is bursting with vibrant red and gold in the fall, making it a jaw-dropping background for your fall Instagram feed.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, MN
For lighthouse lovers, afternoon adventurers, and casual hikers, this popular state park might be the place to visit in the fall.
One of the most picturesque hikes here is the Little Two Harbors Trail, which starts at the lighthouse. You’ll make your way down to the cobblestone shores of perennially-chilly Lake Superior, from which you can look back at the iconic lighthouse and majestic cliffs.
The trail is perfect for beginners, with a less challenging downhill climb—although you will encounter some stairs.
And while summer is great for waterfront picnics, there’s no denying the beauty of the fiery, vibrant autumn colors during a fall hike.
Whiteside Mountain National Recreation Trail, NC
One of the most popular hiking trails in the state comes to life in the fall, with blazing reds, oranges, and yellows stealing the spotlight.
The 2-mile loop is moderately challenging due to the elevation change, roughly 600 feet. But that amazing view from the top! From the 750-foot tall cliffs, you’ll be seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains, resplendent with some truly beautiful fall foliage. And on a really clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way to South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Home to peregrine falcons, Whiteside Mountain is also big for bird-watching, so keep your binoculars and camera ready.
Ready to hit the hiking trails? Whether you’re in the mood for a challenging summit or an easier waterfront walk, you’ll find it at one of these awesome fall destinations… The stunning colors are a bonus!
And to make the most of your fall getaway, ship your stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. For less than the average price of a checked bag, we’ll get your hiking gear there and back for you. No worries about heavy hiking boots and chunky sweaters pushing you over your baggage limit!