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Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Fall Foliage Road Trips for Leaf Peepers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fall means different things to different people. For some, it's back-to-school time and the start of a new football season. For others, it means the end of hot weather and crisp autumn temperatures. For leaf peepers, however, fall is the best time to witness a vast array of colors as the leaves begin to change. Fall foliage road trips are the best way to take in nature's colorful display. Refer to our regional guide on the best places for leaf peepers to cruise around this fall.

Operating motorized equipment or machinery such as a electric generating plant, motor vehicle, audio device in a manner that exceeds a noise level of 60 decibels at 50 feet; or if below that level nevertheless; makes noise which is unreasonable considering the nature and purpose of the actor's conduct, location, time of day or night, purpose for which the area was established, impact on park users, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.


New England offers some of the most popular fall foliage road trips along with a host of cute bed and breakfasts along the way. In September, your best bet is to hit northern parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The Acadia Harbors and Heights touring loops, which start in Bangor, Maine, are a great option. By October, try the southern parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as Northern New York, Pennsylvania and Western Massachusetts. Take the Southern Vermont Loop for a scenic drive that passes several historic sites. By mid-October, move toward Central and Eastern Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, Central Pennsylvania, the Catskill region of New York, Northern New Jersey and Southern Rhode Island. In late October, check out Southern Connecticut, Southern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.


Beginning at the end of September, the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia offers a stunning drive through Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The season begins with dogwood, sourwood and black gum trees turning a deep shade of red, followed by yellow poplars and hickories. Maples add a hint of red while sassafras tree leaves turn beautiful shades of orange. Later in the season, around the end of October, oak tree leaves will begin to turn brown and red. The parkways are extremely popular in the fall and are often crowded on the weekends, providing a slow-paced, relaxing drive with ample opportunities to pull into the scenic overlook spots.

Midwest and West

In the Midwest, trips along waterways will usually offer the best views for leaf peepers, including the Lake Superior Circle Route that winds through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario. Hocking Hills in Southeast Ohio and Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin also offer great fall foliage road trips. The Rocky Mountains is the prize jewel of foliage viewing in the West, but be sure to check weather reports first as snow storms can start as soon as early fall and block access to these roadways. The White River National Forest near Aspen, Colo., also offers picturesque foliage with aspen trees turning a warm golden hue.

Prepare for your trip by getting auto insurance quotes

You can't start a road trip without securing the proper insurance coverage first. It's easy to receive free auto insurance quotes, either online or by calling an agent. It's also a good idea to compare policies by referring car insurance reviews, where you can read what other customers think of specific plans.

Note: Sponsored content was created and provided by Nationwide Insurance.

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