Put on a flannel, dust off your boots, and buy that pumpkin spice latte you’ve been craving all week. That’s right folks, fall is officially here and we couldn’t be more ready. While apple picking, hayrides, and campfires are all staples on your seasonal bucket list, adding a nice fall hike to your to-do list is another must. Enjoy nature’s red and orange opulence and the crisp fresh air with these amazing hiking destinations. Trust us – they’re worth the trek.
Gardiner, New York
Any New Yorker will agree that the city can feel hectic and claustrophobic at times. Occasionally, a weekend getaway is needed. Shawangunk Ridge (also known as the Gunks) is the perfect hiking destination to relax, take a (pollution-free) breather, and enjoy the great outdoors. Located an hour and a half away from the city, this landmark is super easily accessible for Manhattanites or Brooklynites looking for a nice escape. The ridge is a recreational centerpiece for hikers, skiers, and rock climbers, and if you aren’t the athletic type, check out the iconic rail-trail which features caverns, rivers, gorges, and breathtaking views of fall foliage.
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a total northwestern gem. Its breathtaking landscapes and easy accessibility attract a whopping two million hikers every year, and its trails allow you to easily bike along and stop wherever you want to hike or explore majestic waterfalls. If you’re an adventurous driver, take the Washington State Route for a steep, narrow, and wild ride. If you’re all about the views, make a pitstop at Multnomah Falls, a 620-foot, two-tiered waterfall!
Little Lakes Valley
Little Lakes Valley is home to one of the most beautiful hikes in Eastern High Sierra. While most Sierra Trails are reserved for expert-level mountain climbers, this one is easily attainable and equally picturesque. The Valley is known for its large American black bears, which are pretty commonly spotted by hikers. The Valley is also popular for fly fishing. If you’re lucky enough, you may just catch a golden trout, which is native to California. As for the scenery, the views start kicking in early – just one third of your journey in, you’ll already have some killer views of Mack Lake.
La Sal Mountains
La Sal Mountains attain heights of 13,000 feet, making them the second highest mountain range in Utah. Needless to say, these monumental mountains are a popular hiking destination. If you aren’t sure which trail to pick, drive down La Sal’s Mountain Loop Road, a 60-mile pavement circling the peaks. The 3-hour drive will fly by as you see the forested ridges, the famous red rock landscapes, and incredible sunsets. You can make it an overnight trip by staying at the Warner Lake Campground, which offers pretty comfortable accommodations to keep you well-rested on your adventure.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is the ultimate mecca for naturalists and recreationists. Not only is the park itself stunning and full of fun activities, but the impressive natural landscape also sits just beside the scenic, postcard-worthy town of Estes Park. It offers kitschy boutiques, great restaurants, and charming inns. Once you hit the trails, make sure to follow the Bear Lake Loop, an easy path which takes you to gorgeous lakes and cascades. In for an even bigger treat? Hike towards the rocky canyon walls, where you may just spot a herd of elk!