Every autumn, something magical happens. Landscapes that were once covered in a sea of green become dotted with reds, yellows, oranges, and purples. That is, of course, if you’re in the right part of the world. If you’ve never lived in a state that has a full four seasons and experienced the color-changing magic of fall foliage, then you’re really missing out. So take a road trip or fly and rent a car and get out to see some this year before it’s too late.
Be warned, though. Fall foliage is never the same from year to year. Autumn colors are fickle, delicate, and dependent on the weather. Sometimes they’re early. Sometimes late. Sometimes four days of rain wipes out a whole season. But, if you’re a landscape photographer or outdoor enthusiasts, it’s a must-see event. With that, here are our Top Five Places to Shoot Fall Foliage.
(all photos used with Creative Commons 2.o license)
Surrounded by mountains and valleys, Stowe is a great place thanks to many stunning views. But we’d also recommend a little hamlet called Bellow’s Falls, which is on the New Hampshire border. Regardless, flying in and out of Burlington is a breeze. And when the leaves change, the whole state transforms into a stunning autumnal palette straight out of a Bob Ross painting.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
When you leave Bellow’s Falls, VT and drive up through Walpole and Keene, NH, you’ll be gobsmacked by the variety of colors and rural hills. But if you really want to see fall foliage at its best, head to the White Mountains. North Conway, Crawford Notch, and the Mount Washington Hotel. The White Mountains will give you enough photos to fill ten memory cards. If you check out the covered bridge map and plan your trip around them, you’ll get the bucolic photos of your dreams. Like Vermont, the entire state is painted with deep yellows, reds, oranges, and purples. The best part of leaf peeping is the journey sometimes and the surprise little nooks you find along the way. Also as New Hampshire is bordered to the right by Maine, you could really get a three state-run in that would be something you would never Forget.
Just east of Denver, Breckenridge sits between Vail and Aspen, giving you stunning views of both. It’s a sleepy skiing town which provides you an advantage… ski lifts. Take a gondola to a summit to see glorious views without having to hike all day to get there. (This also applies in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.) What makes Breckinridge unique is that the land is basically a mountain range. You’ll be able to see hills and valleys for miles, giving you unobstructed photos of the color.
Blueridge Parkway & Asheville, North Carolina
Experiencing North Carolina foliage is as much about driving as it is about locations. The Blueridge Parkway provides an unparalleled foliage viewing experience. You’ll be driving along mountain ridges, down valleys and through switchbacks all while being surrounded by fall colors. Asheville is not only beautiful, but it’s a thriving community with great restaurants, shops, and bars. You’ll be able to leaf peep while the sun shines and then wine and dine at night. It’s a perfect place to enjoy nature.
Maine is similar in landscape to NH and VT, but it has one unique feature. It’s bordered by the ocean and yet, unlike most seacoast states, it isn’t all beaches. There are some really cool spots where the ocean meets the mountains and you can get images of lighthouses and fall foliage in the same shot. It’s a veritable cornucopia of opportunities to get amazing pictures. To do the aforementioned three-state run it’d be pretty easy to fly into Burlington, rent a car and head east until you hit the ocean. You’ll be so stunned by the beauty around you that you’ll be making so many stops that the journey will go by in a flash.