As the seasons change, the hot days of summer come to an end and are replaced with cool and crisp temperatures. Leaves on the trees begin to turn, and there’s nothing quite like the beauty of autumn. This fall, download your favorite playlist, pack some drinks and snacks in the cooler, and load up the car for a scenic road trip of the season. Here are five of the most beautiful fall roads you should travel this year.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK LOOP ROAD
This 27-mile trip through Acadia National Park in Maine offers breathtaking views of Acadia’s lakes, mountains, and shoreline. Begin near the Hull Cove Visitor Center on the north side of the island, and plan to stop along the way at some of the special observation points, including Schooner Overlook, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and others. Some stops even have walking paths for further exploration, so lace up your hiking boots and keep an eye out for wildlife—which is abundant in the forests and mountains.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
Running from Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina, this 469-mile drive takes you through the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains. The majority of the trip runs through George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, offering stunning landscapes of rolling pastures, waterfalls, mountains, and hills. There are dozens of mileposts offering activities, historic sites, picnic or camping spots, and observation points along the way. With the speed limit topping out in most spots at 45 mph, you won’t want to miss anything.
HYDE PARK ROAD
Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and along Little Tesuque Creek, Hyde Memorial State Park is New Mexico’s first state park. Hyde Park Road will take you from Santa Fe through the 350-acre state park, winding through mountains and along several creeks throughout. Stop for an overnight stay at one of the several campsites along the way, but be sure to make it to the Vista Grande Overlook observation site for a serene and peaceful photo opp.
MCKENZIE PASS-SANTIAM PASS SCENIC BYWAY
Wind your way through mountain lava fields, past snowy volcanic peaks, beautiful forests, and green valleys on this 82-mile loop route in Oregon. You’ll find quite the contrast of landscape as you make your way through snowy mountains, black lava fields and grasslands, and around a lake, all home to many endangered species, other wildlife, and plant life. Typical driving time is three to five hours, but there are plenty of spots to stop along the way to take in the view.
Running for 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains and through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, this road trip is perfect for viewing fall foliage. While it only takes a few hours for the full drive, the speed limit is only 35 mph, so take your time and experience the mountains, forests, and wildlife along the way. Plus, find nearly 70 overlooks offering stunning views of the valley and fall colors.