A road trip can be a good idea at any time of year, especially if you want to see as much of the countryside as possible. A road trip in the fall, however, takes on a whole new meaning when the leaves turn gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow for miles around.
Read on to learn more about the five road trips experts recommend for seeing the greatest fall colors.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Oregon
According to Allison Keeney, global communications manager for Travel Oregon, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Central Oregon “offers a one-of-a-kind view with dazzling red vine maple juxtaposed against black lava.”
Its 66-mile (106-kilometer) trail passes several lakes in the central Cascade Mountains.
She claims that while the blaze of color peaks in mid-October, this year’s hot, dry summer may force it to happen earlier
Covered Bridges Scenic Byway: Iowa
The 82-mile (132-kilometer) route, made famous by the 1992 novel “The Bridges of Madison County” and the 1995 film that accompanied it, focuses on attractive natural landscapes, historic and cultural sites, as well as covered bridges.
An annual Covered Bridges Festival is scheduled for Oct. 8 and 9.
Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia and North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Mountains are traversed by this opulent, winding route. It runs for a total of 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina in the Southwest (755 kilometers).
The Parkway’s advantages include:
There are no advertisements or businesses in sight
It is free and open for travel 24 hours a day, unless certain areas are closed due to inclement weather or landslides.
Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway: Maine
The Height of Land on Route 17 is “the flagship of the route,” according to Explore Maine, and offers “breathtaking views” of lakes and mountains. The website also extols the great fall foliage color on the Byway. In this region of Maine, foliage color usually peaks between October 6 and 13.
Visitors also enjoy the adjacent Saddleback Ski Area, where they can indulge in outdoor activities such as mountain biking before the ski season begins.
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway: Colorado
The majority of its 26 scenic byways-26 in the total-have national designation.
Start with the scenic Peak to Peak Byway! The 55-mile (89-kilometer) highway offers breathtaking views of the Continental Divide and can be reached from Denver or Boulder in about an hour.
And at a number of scenic spots along the way, including the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Golden Gate Canyon State Park, you may find yourself spending more time outside than inside your car enjoying the views.