The best place in your state for a scenic fall drive


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While warm weather may be on its way out as we get into September, that leaves us closer to seeing the beautiful color changes that happen within nature during the autumn months.

What’s even more noteworthy is how differently fall presents itself in different parts of the country, from trees in the mountains to the valleys below — and there are many routes you can drive to see it all.

So if you are looking to find some beautiful and scenic fall foliage drives for your next vacation, we’ve got you covered with a list of one in every state.

Related: The world’s most fabulous fall foliage

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Alabama – Cheaha State Park

Drive through Cheaha State Park in Delta, Alabama to reach the highest point in the state which lies on Mount Cheaha. The scenery is filled with fall leaves on trees covering the land below — 400,000 acres of it to be exact.

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Alaska – Seward Highway

This highway bridges the gap between Alaska’s capital of Anchorage and the Alaskan community of Seward. At a two-hour distance, you will pass shorelines of Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains, with fall trees bordering the highway along the way.

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Arizona – Scenic Highway 180

This highway along Flagstaff, Arizona takes you to the Grand Canyon while also passing the San Francisco Peaks and Mount Humphreys — making it a road-trip in itself. The fall scenery comes from the Aspen trees, which turn golden yellow and compliment the neighboring pine trees.

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Arkansas – Scenic 7 Byway

Take a look at the Ozark National forest by heading north from Russellville, Arkansas into the town of Jasper through the Scenic 7 Byway. This will take you through the Ozark Mountains which are packed with fall trees to gaze at.

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California – Route 88 near Lake Tahoe

Carson Pass and Hope Valley along state Route 88 south of Lake Tahoe brings you a plethora of valleys and mountain peaks with colorful fall trees spotted in the distance. This drive’s underdeveloped land makes seeing the stray fall colors that more valuable.

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Colorado – Trail Ridge Road

Drive through the Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road in Colorado. Whether you’re at the point on the road where you’re aligned with the trees or high above the trees, you will see nothing short of fall leaves galore in this vast forest.

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Connecticut – The Merritt Parkway

Also known as Connecticut Route 15, the Merritt Parkway travels through Fairfield County. It is filled with fall-stained trees on either side, and because it’s often taken by commuters to work, it’s best to enjoy this highway on a fall weekend. The Merritt Parkway is also considered a National Scenic Byway.

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Delaware – The Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

In Wilmington, Delaware, drive through the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway to see breathtaking fall views, while also getting to pass through historic towns along the way.

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Florida – Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

Travel though 30 miles of roadways to see all of the diverse nature on the coast of central Florida. This trail will let you see parks, rivers, creeks, beaches, marshes and an array of fall-colored red maple and pignut hickory trees.

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Georgia – South Fulton Scenic Byway

This byway near Atlanta travels through 29 miles of sloping fields to keep your eyes glued to. Dubbed as the loneliest road in Metro Atlanta, it’s actually made up of four roads, and is blanketed by colorful scenery in the fall months.

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Hawaii – Road to Hana

Located across Maui, the Road to Hana will give you a glimpse of the northeast coast that passes through cliffs, waterfalls and sand beaches. Although Hawaii doesn’t technically have fall foliage, this trail is filled with green trees to give you that fall forest feel while still seeing the tropical features of the island state.

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Idaho – U.S. 30 to Bear Lake

This scenic drive will take you through beautiful fall foliage on either side of the road, but once you hit Bear Lake, the blue waters surrounded by the colorful fall trees may make you want to stop and take a picture.

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Illinois – Grandview Drive

At just 2.52 miles, this small drive brings big scenery. Theodore Roosevelt called it the “world’s most beautiful drive” as it offers wide views of the Illinois River Valley and surrounds plenty of colorful leaves during the peak fall season.

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Indiana – Hoosier National Forest, Route 1

Route 1 of Hoosier National Forest, southwest of Bloomington, Indiana, has views of Lake Monroe and the abundance of hills around the lake that are covered in trees and fall leaves.

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Iowa – Highway 52 outside of Bellevue

Starting just south of Bellevue, Iowa on Jackson County Road Z-15, you can spot unique wild birds and animals along with beautiful fall trees that’ll keep your eyes occupied.

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Kansas – Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

Located in northeast Kansas, you can see the ruminants of ancient glaciers consisting of rolling hills and valleys made of rock. It might be hard to spot the glaciers however, as the area is covered in fall trees and colorful leaves.

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Kentucky – Old Frankfort Pike

A little short of 17 miles, this byway connects the towns of Lexington and Frankfort. Being named one of the ten best scenic drives in the U.S., you will see an array of colorful trees and farms — it’s no wonder it’s dubbed “Horse Country” of the state.

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Louisiana – Jimmie Davis State Park

Drive through the Jimmie Davis State Park on the peninsula on Caney Lake in Chatham, Louisiana for a ton of fall views to soak in. If you want to stick around for another day, you can stay in one of the park’s cabins.

Related: Fabulous fall pumpkin recipes

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Maine – Acadia National Park Loop Road

At 27 miles, this road takes you through Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island where you can see the coast, mountains, forests and tons of fall foliage in between. Bring some change with you, because there is a fee to access part of the road.

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Maryland – Deep Creek Lake

Drive around the mountain roads of Deep Creek Lake in Maryland to see colorful fall foliage complimented by Maryland’s blue waters, especially in their peak season in early to mid October.

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Massachusetts – Mount Greylock Scenic Byway

Passing through Massachusetts, this 2.5 hour drive takes you from Pennsylvania to the edge of Maine — not falling short of providing beautiful fall foliage along the way through state parks and trails.

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Michigan – US 27

Pass through fall foliage in the thick forestry, hills, farmland and tiny towns on the historic US 27 highway running from northern Michigan to Miami, Florida. It is no longer considered a state highway, but it was, and is still considered one of America’s great north-south driving routes.

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Minnesota – North Shore of Lake Superior

Pass through fall foliage in state parks, lake views, rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic overlooks along this driving trail. The best time to make this drive is in the middle of the week to avoid other travelers, and it is one of 15 routes that are a designated “All American Drive.”

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Mississippi Homochitto – National Forest

Drive through the Homochitto National Forest in Meadville, Mississippi to see the 189,000 acres of vibrant fall foliage the state has to offer. You can also stick around for recreational activities including hiking, picnicking and swimming in a man-made lake.

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Missouri – Hannibal to St. Louis, Highway 79

This drive will take you through St. Louis, where you can see fall foliage in the Missouri Botanical Garden, Forest Park and Gateway Arch National Park. If you want to take the full drive, you will also pass through Louisiana.

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Montana – Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway

Pass through the historic Pioneer Mountain range in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on this scenic byway. See a range of fall foliage in the forests and mountain meadows that neighbor the range’s granite peaks as you ascend to almost 8,000 feet (7,800 to be exact).

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Nebraska – Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway

Named after the explorers themselves, you can travel through 82 miles of the Missouri River and an abundance of fall foliage and wildlife through forests in the parks, recreation/campground areas and wildlife refuges along the way.

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Nevada – Mt. Rose Scenic Drive

At 25 miles long, this scenic drive takes place between Reno, Nevada and Lake Tahoe. You can see a long stretch of fall foliage through the forested terrain of the Washoe Valley and the Sierra Mountains.

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New Hampshire – Monadnock Region Loop Scenic Drive

Located in Keene, New Hampshire, this 12 mile scenic drive gives you fall foliage from Mount Monadnock, Perkins Pond and pasture vistas.

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New Jersey – Palisades Scenic Byway

Labeled a National Historic Landmark, you can travel aling 18.5 miles of the Palisades Scenic Byway and Henry Hudson drive to see tons of fall foliage — including three lookout points where you can stop and smell the crunchy leaves.

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New York – Catskills Scenic Drive

This scenic 12-mile route in upstate New York slices the Catskill Mountains in half — hence its nickname “The Notch.” This route is known for its vibrant fall foliage surrounding the Catskills without an extremely lengthy drive to get to the good stuff.

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North Carolina – Blue Ridge Parkway

With an abundance of visitors each year, it is referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive.” At a whopping 469 miles, you will travel through the fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains in both North Carolina and Virginia along with wildlife, the Linville Gorge and Mount Mitchell.

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North Dakota – Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway

This 53-mile scenic drive will take you through north and central North Dakota. In the fall, you will see the abundance of colorful trees from the Lake Metigoshe State Park, lakes that separate the American/Canadian border and the Turtle Mountain Recreational Forest.

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Ohio – Gateway to Amish Country

This one-hour drive through Ohio’s Knox County is full of fall foliage from the surrounding forestry and hiking trails, which were once vacated railroads. You will also pass through an American landmark called “The Bridge of Dreams” on this scenic drive.

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Oklahoma – Chickasaw National Recreational Area

This drive through southern Oklahoma will let you see the abundance of pine trees and colorful leaves on their native hardwood trees around the Lake of Arbuckles in Sulphur, Oklahoma. If you’re itching for more fall foliage, nearby, you can drive to Turner Falls along I-35 near Davis, Oklahoma.

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Oregon – Mount Hood Scenic Loop

This scenic loop combines the Historic Columbia River Highway and the Mount Hood Scenic Byway to deliver 146 miles of fall foliage from the Columbia River Gorge, nature along the Hood River and from Mount Hood.

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Pennsylvania – New Castle to Slippery Rock

Take State Route 108 in Pennsylvania to see 16 miles of colorful leaves that come from the historic town of New Castle to the town of Slippery Rock. To top the drive off, make a stop at McConnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County, where you can see the scenic overlooks and waterfalls from the National Natural Landmark of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge.

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Rhode Island – Conanicut Island (Jamestown Island)

Check out the fall foliage that comes from the Narragansett Bay and rolling fields of Conanicut Island on this 22-mile drive. You will also get to see some cool historic homes and the Jamestown village center along the way.

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South Carolina – The Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway

If you want to see the fall foliage that surrounds the waterfalls, mountain towns on the Blue Ridge Mountains and overlooks of South Carolina, this is a good option. The byway got its name from the foothills at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the native home of the Cherokees.

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South Dakota – Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

This 22-mile drive brings you through ponderosa pines, elm and oak trees in fall colors galore on the Spearfish Canyon. You will also see the Bridal Veil Falls, the Roughlock Falls and the Spearfish Falls surrounding the fall foliage.

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Tennessee – Newfound Gap Road

With many overlook spots, a lot of tourists drive on this 31-mile road to see the fall foliage from the Smoky Mountains. This road is as historic as it is scenic, due to president Franklin D. Roosevelt delivering his grand opening speech for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park here.

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Texas – Devil’s Backbone Scenic Drive

Travel southwest of Austin to take the Devil’s Backbone Scenic Drive, stretching from Wimberly to Blanco, Texas. At only 20-miles, this drive offers vires of rolling hills and colorful oak trees from the valleys in the surrounding area.

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Utah – Mount Nebo Scenic Byway

Crossing through the Uinta National Forest, it will bring you up to over 9,000 feet in elevation where you can see the fall foliage from the Utah valley, Wasatch Mountains and Mount Nebo — the tallest mountain in the entire Wasatch Range.

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Vermont – Green Mountain Byway

Traveling through the towns of Stowe and Waterbury, Vermont, you will see fall foliage blanket the mountain backdrops of this scenic drive. You will also pass through residential areas, farmland, historic homes and historic sites, giving you plenty to look at.

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Virginia – Skyline Drive

Travel through 105 miles of the Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive, a sight known for its beautiful fall foliage. In addition, you will see many forms of wildlife in the meadows surrounding the drive including deer, songbirds and bears.

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Washington – Cascade Loop Scenic Byway

See the yellow Aspen and colorful Mountain Ash of Stevens Pass, Methow Valley and North Cascades National Park on this scenic byway. Also on the loop is the Tumwater Canyon, which features many red oak trees to glance at.

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West Virginia – The Potomac Highlands

Check out the fall foliage in the Potomac Highlands region located on U.S. Highways 48 and 219. You will find mountain towns on 48, and Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park and Monongahela National Forest on 219 — all full of fall colors.

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Wisconsin – Lake Superior Scenic Byway

Check out the southern shoreline of Lake Superior along the Mayfield Peninsula that will let you see 70 miles of forests, sandy beaches, farms, orchards and blue waters — all accompanied by the seasonal fall foliage.

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Wyoming – Black Hills Scenic Byway

This 78-mile drive through the Black Hills National Forest will let you see a combination of both dark green landscapes and sights of bright fall foliage. You will also be able to see the grass prairies and roaming wildlife that the Black Hills has to offer on this scenic drive.

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