Looking for great fall hiking destinations? Well we got you covered with these locations across the U.S. Thanks to the country’s expansive and dynamic geography, nearly every corner in America’s national parks come with spectacular views. Ranging from easy to strenuous, these 5 great fall hiking destinations offer epic views and trails suitable for a variety of interests and skill levels.
Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Appalachian Trail, also known as the A.T., runs for more than 71 miles through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It enters the park from the south at Fontana Dam, and exits in the northeast at Davenport Gap. The highest point anywhere along the 2180-mile trail is 6625 feet, at Clingmans Dome. The trail also passes by other notable landmarks in the Smoky Mountains, such as Charlies Bunion, Rocky Top and the historic stone fire tower atop Mt. Cammerer.
Appalachian Trail signIt usually takes 7 days for most people to hike the Smoky Mountains section of the Appalachian Trail. If you don’t have that much time, this hike can easily be shortened by using Newfound Gap or Clingmans Dome as a mid-point. Either of these sections of the A.T. can be done in 3 or 4 days. Of course, since these are all one-way trips, you’ll have to arrange for some sort of transportation at the end of your hike. Read more here.
Central Park, New York City
You don’t have to go far to experience an invigorating hike. In fact, you can do it right in the center of one of the country’s s largest cities. The Ravine, a stream bed located in the lush green and yellow trees of the North Woods in Central Park, is great for leisurely hikers and kids. The trail extends from 101st Street to Harlem Meer (ending near the gorgeous Huddleston Arch) and is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, like migratory birds and raccoons. Home to 57 other hiking trails, there’s plenty of places to see the colorful trees and monumental skyline inside the 1.3-square-mile natural oasis. Read more here.
Beaver Lake Loop in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Other trails that provide opportunities for overnight adventures are the 10-mile Chapel Basin Loop and the 12.9-mile Beaver Lake Loop, both include access to many of the park’s 13 backcountry campgrounds, the only places backcountry camping is allowed.
Pictured Rocks offers a wide range of day hikes as well, ranging from short interpretive trails like the 0.7-mile White Pine Trail at Little Beaver Lake Campground to several trails that lead to the park’s stunning collection of waterfalls. In the winter Nordic skiers, snowshoers, winter campers and ice climbers converge on the park. Read more here.
Wildwood Trail, Oregon
For those looking for superb urban hiking, it’s hard to beat Portland’s Wildwood Trail in Forest Park. The trail, which is designated as a National Recreation Trail, starts in Washington Park near the Oregon Zoo, enters Forest Park at mile three, and reaches its terminus at mile 30.2 at Newberry Road.
The trail is well maintained and well-marked with blue blazes and mileage markers posted every quarter-mile. The first 5 miles of the trail are fairly busy since it provides access to several excellent must-see Portland sites. Read more here.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park, Maine—which comprises 47,000 acres of land on Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula—is the only national park in Maine. You can see all of the state’s quintessential natural features in one place, including its rocky coastline, mountains, forests, ponds, marshlands and fields. You can also see the diversity of the state’s native species, ranging from mollusks and mammals to raptors and reptiles. You and your family can watch for whales, seals, moose, foxes, peregrine falcons, herons, salamanders and toads as you explore the park. Read more here.