This time of year (Fall) is when most hikers, backpackers, and campers really get motovated to get out into nature and soak in all the colors of Fall. So we put together the top 5 trails or hikes we think might just get you outside.
- The Appalachian Trail – The Appalachian Trail is the ur-scenic trail and the first one completed in the U.S. Finished in 1937, the trail starts atop the suitably epic-sounding Mount Katahdin in Maine and terminates 2,175 miles later, on Springer Mountain in Georgia. Try the 104-mile section that wends through the Shenandoah Valley National Park in Virginia. With neither the humidity of Georgia nor the arduous climbs of New England, it’s gentle and addictive, beset on all sides by oak trees and yawning vistas of fall color. The nice thing about the AT, it covers 13 States, so almost anyone on the Southeastern Seaboard, has no excuse whatsoever.
- Hoking Hills State Park – Not everything in Ohio is flat. Hocking Hills, an hour south of Columbus, is every bit the equal of better-known parks, and threaded with waterfalls, towering hemlocks, and limestone gorges. Hike the plunging gorge of Conkle’s Hollow, opting for the Rim Trail for a thorough workout. Southern Ohio has some of the best backpacking around. Fall is one of the most beautiful times in Southern Ohio as the colors are brilliant and and scenery is stunning.
- Smoky Mountain National Park – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places in the country for viewing fall colors. Due to the diversity of trees and its broad elevation range, leaf peepers and hikers can usually enjoy the beauty of fall colors for several weeks in the Smokies. The timing of the fall color season depends upon many variables, making it virtually impossible to predict the exact dates of “peak” colors in advance. One of the most important variables is elevation. At the higher elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains, fall color displays begin as early as mid-September with yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry beginning to show their autumn colors. If you’re looking for good fall color hikes during this time period, you’ll want to be at the highest elevations in the park. However, you’ll also want to avoid hiking in areas that are predominantly spruce-fir forests.
- Porcupine Mountain Wilderness in the U.P of Michigan – The Porkies cover 60,000 acres and is Michigan’s largest state park. Within the park is a block of old-growth forest comprising almost 35,000 acres and considered by some to be the biggest and best stand of virgin Northern Hardwoods and Hemlock in North America. This forest makes for some particularly attractive color during the fall. You can get some of the best fall color pictures in the Upper Peninsula.
- Charles Deam Wilderness – Lots of trees make for great fall colors! The Charles C. Deam Wilderness is a great place to hike in the Hoosier National Forest about an hour south of Indianapolis near Indiana University just outside of Bloomington. On Tower Ridge Road about five miles from Knightridge Road lies a fire tower, which is excellent for leaf viewing. Even though most of the leaves seemed down in the forest, from the fire tower enough reds and oranges were visible to make the scenery spectacular.
Which one would you hike?