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Which Are the Best Routes for Fall Color Road Trips?

If you have recommendations for a good road trip to see foliage in full autumn bloom, we want to know.

This week in Asheville, North Carolina, I participated in the Land Rover TReK competition on rocky and muddy trails in a new Defender. Designed to improve dealer representatives’ off-road knowledge during a challenging one-day program that includes precision driving, winching, towing, mudding, running, navigating, and more, it’s a spectacular event. Before you ask, the answer is no, my team didn’t win. But since Olympic athlete Lindsey Vonn and world-class mountaineer Hilaree Nelson were on one of the teams that beat us, I have no regrets.  

Asheville is a quaint town on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is 469 miles of asphalt twisting through the Blue Ridge Mountains between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In other words, it’s an ideal place to take a road trip (unless you’re in a squatted truck, of course). And doubly so in the fall, when a patchwork of jewel-toned trees line the roads before they shed their leaves for winter. What other routes are your favorites for fall colors? I’m ready to hit the road and need some new recommendations. 

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Halifax, Nova Scotia is another stunning place to visit in the fall, and trust me when I tell you that you should also make time for a Halifax Mooseheads hockey game and a Beaver Tail, which is a fried pastry. Inside the U.S., from New York to Maine it’s a vast expanse of color starting in late September. New Hampshire has a 37-mile trek called The Kanc (short for Kancamagus Scenic Byway) and Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway leads you through Massachusetts to a three-state view from Bash-Bish Falls State Park.

In the Midwest, Ohio’s Hocking Hills Scenic Byway includes a full display of fall and Brown County State Park in Indiana lies in the middle of multiple scenic routes. Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, and on down to Georgia are all good choices too. In fact, I’d highly recommend renting a cabin near Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain at 4784 feet above sea level. From its observation deck at the top, you can catch a 360-degree panoramic view of Georgia and parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Out west, I didn’t forget about you, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.

Down here in Austin, Texas, fall colors are much more subtle; I miss the explosion of hues in the northern states where I grew up. Fall is my favorite season and I’m up for long drives with an apple cider in the cupholder and a cozy sweater wrapped around me. What do you recommend from your travels? We’re looking for a few good roads. 

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