Planning out your fall adventures? Fitting in a scenic road trip is the perfect way to celebrate the change of seasons, and here at StorQuest, we’ve got you covered with a list of the best autumn drives across the country. Load up, pull out, and roll down the windows to soak up these six memorable road trips where you’ll catch amazing fall colors.
Olympic Trail, New York
Known and loved for its legendary fall colors, Upstate New York serves up some of the region’s best views, and there’s no better way to see it than with a drive along the Olympic Trail. This 170-mile scenic stretch connects the eastern edge of Lake Ontario to the western shore of Lake Champlain. Take in stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains and vibrant colors from the maple, oak, and birch trees dotting the landscape. With plenty of options for camping, hiking, canoeing, and fishing along the way, you’ll have your choice of ways to live big!
San Juan Skyway, Colorado
Buckle up for some epic views and memorable stops along the famous San Juan Skyway in southwest Colorado, a 236-mile loop connecting charming mountain towns such as Durango, Telluride, and Ouray. The Million Dollar Highway, a 25-mile stretch between Silverton and Ouray, serves up views of vivid fall foliage topped by soaring, jagged peaks. Your palms may get sweaty as you skirt cliff edges among the San Juan Mountains, but this is a bucket-list fall road trip you won’t forget. Stop and tour the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, and spend as much time as you can in Telluride, a great spot for year-round mountain fun. Grab your mountain bike, hiking boots, fishing pole, and kayak to take advantage of the full range of outdoor adventure in Colorado.
Columbia River Highway, Oregon
Skirting the mighty Columbia River for 70 miles along the border of Oregon and Washington, the historic Columbia River Highway has been captivating road-trippers since it was completed in 1916, becoming America’s first scenic highway. Fall adds splashes of orange, red, and yellow leaves to the commanding cliffs overlooking the majestic Columbia Gorge. From scenic Crown Point, take in views of the Columbia and Cape Horn, Mount Hood to the southeast, and Mount Adams to the northeast. And whether you’re windsurfing in Hood River or exploring one of the best hiking regions in the country, you’ll have no shortage of epic fun.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia
For a quintessential fall road trip, you won’t do better than a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you’ll tour rolling, tree-covered hillsides through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Connecting Roanoke and Asheville, and trekking through Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this 469-mile stretch of road has it all: scenic overlooks, endless forest, and all the exploring you can handle.
Palisades Interstate Parkway, New Jersey
You don’t have to go far from the big city to enjoy an autumn drive that’s worth the trip for the views alone. Completed back in 1958, the Palisades Interstate Parkway serves commuters from Orange and Rockland Counties in New York, connecting the George Washington Bridge to the Bear Mountain Bridge. Don’t let that fool you – there’s plenty to see here! Explore the trails at Tallman Mountain State Park at the interstate border, and make stops at the Rockefeller Lookout and the Alpine Lookout for stunning views of the Manhattan city skyline and the Hudson River Valley.
North Cascades Highway, Washington
North of Seattle along the Puget Sound, hop on the North Cascades Highway for a memorable ride through the rich farmlands of the Skagit Valley to the rugged mountain landscape of the North Cascades. Winding east through the magical Methow Valley, through the quaint towns of Mazama and Twisp, you’ll find whatever autumn adventures you’re looking for. Ride the mountain bike trails in Winthrop, camp at the otherworldly Ross Lake, and trek through untamed wilderness at North Cascades National Park. Leave plenty of time for unplanned adventures along this mesmerizing drive.
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