Tag Archives: fall

Pack Your Bag and Head to the Woods: Great Fall Camping Sites Near You

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that fall is one of the best times to pack a bag and pitch a tent in the middle of the woods. Fall camping means colorful foliage swirling around, crisp air biting at your nose, and the opportunity to be completely immersed in the wilderness without having to worry about feeling sticky in your tent or freezing on the cold, hard ground. Really, does it get any better than having an autumn adventure? We made a list of some of the best state and national parks to spend the night in this fall.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Perfect Fall Camping Setting at Acadia National Park

Seriously, how is Acadia National Park allowed to even be real? [Image: http://bscrittersitter.blogspot.com/]

Of course Acadia National Park is a camping hub—with its gorgeous views and wide array of outdoor activities to partake in, it’s almost easier to make a list of things you can’t do here. You’ll find everything from mountain ranges and dense woodlands to vast expanses of beaches and sparkling waters. With a wide variety of different habitats comes the opportunity to see all the fall changes that come to each, which of course you can’t be expected to see in just one day.

Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas

Lost Maple State Natural Area in fall.

The colors, Duke, the colors. [Image: https://www.geocaching.com/]

Head out to the Lone Star State to watch the leaves change and enjoy the cooling weather—if the name wasn’t indicative enough, it’s an especially fantastic spot to peep some changing maple trees at! The Lost Maples State Natural Area is updating their website to note the changing foliage throughout November, advising when the best time for visiting would be. It’s a great resource to have to make sure you don’t accidentally show up after all the leaves have already fallen.

Kissimmee State Park, Florida

Kissimmee State Park trees.

Tour the gorgeous trees at Kissimmee State Park this fall. [Image: http://www.centralfloridahiker.com/]

Whether you’re looking to head out into the water or opt for a low-key, relaxing picnic instead, you’ll be accommodated at Kissimmee State Park. It also happens to be one of the most ideal places in Florida to extend your stay by a few days and relax into the warm weather. If you aren’t already aware, fall in Florida is entrancing and is not something to be missed.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park in fall.

Yosemite National Park, how’d you get to be so beautiful? [Image: https://www.scenicwonders.com/]

There’s a reason that Yosemite National Park has a reputation for its jaw-dropping views and plethora of outdoor activities. So it only makes sense that it’d have premium camping opportunities as well. Although a California autumn isn’t quite the same as an East Coast one, it still makes for a unique adventure that’s worth experiencing. Bottom line: You could definitely do worse than spending a few nights in Yosemite National Park this fall.

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Snow Canyon State Park.

Although there aren’t any pretty leaves, we think we can forgive Snow Canyon as it’s still super beautiful. [Image: http://www.sandhollowresorts.com/]

A bit of a different direction—one that doesn’t exactly have the changing leaves we normally affiliate with fall. But spending a night in the hypnotizing Utah desert is a worthwhile venture regardless. Climb over the spreads of black lava and red rock cliffs during the day then collapse into a tent as the seemingly endless sky spreads out overhead. Can’t you picture it already? It’s just like a movie.

Perrot State Park, Wisconsin

Perrot State Park in autumn.

Breathtaking views and amazing foliage: Coming this autumn to Perrot State Park. [Image: https://philipschwarzphotography.wordpress.com/]

Some of the most picturesque campsites can be found in Perrot State Park, and they’re only enhanced by autumn and all its predictable changes. Many visitors come for the hiking, biking, and canoeing. Then they decide to stay so they can do it all again the next day.

Are you feeling convinced yet that fall camping is one of the best ways to spend your autumn? Good, we figured as much. Before you head out, make sure you download our handy Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to aid in any and all of your explorations.

Outdoor Adventures this Fall Season

Fall is finally here! The leaves are once again changing to vibrant colors, sleeveless shirts and shorts are getting replaced for long sleeves and sweaters, and seasonal fall treats are once again in favor. However, with the changing season comes the drop of temperature. While some of us may believe that we have to bid farewell to outdoor adventures along with summer, that isn’t necessarily the case! Here are some outdoor adventures you could have this fall season.

Fishing

Fishing is at its prime during this season—fish such as salmon, smallmouth, and walleye are popular catches. Of course, at times, fall does have its rough days where it is difficult to catch any fish; in which case, anglers can rise to the challenge and find innovative ways of catching by using other tools, such as rocks. Be sure to check out the right times and regulations in regards to each fish!

English: Smallmouth Bass Fishing in the Fall

Man fishing small-mouth bass in the fall. [Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/]

Hunting

Hunting is also at its peak this season. Depending on your state, you may be able to hunt antelope, bear, foxes, white-tailed deer, bear, and various game birds. Youth hunting is also available for children ages 12-15 so that they can spend some time in the field and learn the necessary skills for becoming safe and responsible members of the hunting community.

English: White-tailed deer

White-tailed deer. [Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/]

State Park Adventure

Before the state parks are touched by a crisp winter frost, you can take advantage of a plethora of exploratory adventures that can be done within the many parks in your state! Enjoy the weather with its cooler air while observing the myriad of wildlife activity in the area.

Hiking

Trek with friends, family, or go out by yourself for some much needed alone time. Hiking not only improves fitness and health, but also gives you the chance to conquer nature by hiking through trails this fall. Witness the changing foliage on the way, admire tall, noble trees, listen to the sounds of birds, or simply appreciate nature in its entirety.

English: Wikipedia:Heilbronn, hike tour

Group of friends hiking in the fall. [Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/]

Camping

Relish the weather by camping in the woods this fall. Enjoy your coffee or seasonal autumnal foods, such as pumpkin pies while enjoying nature. Share stories around the heat of a bonfire, and witness the innate beauty of the stars at night in the campgrounds. Don’t forget to bring insect repellent and to keep yourself warm and comfortable with the appropriate season attire!

Car Camping at Hunting Island State Park, Sout...

Camping outdoors with a car. [Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/]

This coming season, don’t let the weather stop your adventurous spirit—go out, explore, and conquer the outdoors! Enjoy the beauty of nature away from the electric buzz of the city and the daily grind of everyday life. And with the Pocket Ranger® app in your pocket, you’ll always be up to date with the latest news on the outdoors. And remember, you can always share your adventures with us!

Ten Fabulous Ways to Peep a Leaf in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

Mt. Washington Valley, located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, says hail to the “peep” each fall as Mother Nature provides a spectacle of color unmatched anywhere else in the U.S. Offering not only spectacular foliage but also a wide variety of ways to enjoy the harvest hues of nature’s artistry, this region offers plenty of great ways to enjoy fall foliage throughout autumn. Here are some conventional and a few unconventional suggestions for viewing Mt. Washington Valley’s fall foliage. Simply click on the links below, or visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org and click on EVENTS for a complete list of fall events to augment your leaf peeping itinerary.

New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Image Credit: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative

From the Seat of a Train

Mt. Washington Valley offers a host of train rides year round; these fall rides add that spectacle of color in September and October. Book a seat on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, and take this famous train ride to the top of Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. Or enjoy fabulous scenic tours to Conway, Bartlett, and Crawford Notch on the Conway Scenic RailroadClick here for a complete list of Mt. Washington Valley’s trains and attractions.

From the Top of the Notch

Scenic drives through Crawford Notch to Bretton Woods or Pinkham Notch to Gorham offer everything from ridge top vistas and rock formations to moose sightings. Be sure to have the camera ready because there’s a new surprise around every turn.

From the Moose Van

Take a ride along the picturesque Androscoggin River and into the 13-Mile Woods area, or travel into “Moose Alleys” in other parts of the Valley on a choice of spectacular and scenic Moose/Wildlife Tours. As many as 23 moose have been spotted in one tour! Tours also includes folklore and historic features of the region. Choose from three different tours, including Dan’s Scenic Tours, Gorham Moose Tours, and MWV Moose Bus Tours/Moose Safari. The Omni Mt. Washington Hotel also offers moose tours from the hotel.

From a Gondola, Chairlift, or Zipline

Fall is the time of year to take in the spectacular vistas from Mt. Washington Valley’s mountaintops. For those who’d rather not hike up, take the lift! For a truly “zipalicious” view of foliage, try the zipline at Wildcat, the Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods, Soaring Eagle at Cranmore Adventure Park, the high ropes courses at Monkey Trunks, or the new ZipTour at Attitash (the longest single zipline span in the East!).

From the Pumpkin People Tour

A highlight of foliage season each year is “The Return of the Pumpkin People”, which is now in its 28th year. Businesses throughout Mt. Washington Valley create whimsical displays of pumpkin people, the only requirement being that the heads are made of pumpkins. Take a self-guided tour of at Settlers Green Outlet Village where 20 of the pumpkin people can be found, and vote on your favorite from Oct 1st-31st.

From the Seat of a Car

Mt. Washington Valley is renowned for its fall foliage scenic drives, including the Kancamagus Highway, the country’s only scenic byway loop. Take a Sunday drive through the mountains any day of the week and discover picnic sites, swimming holes, wildlife, and family attractions along the way. Make sure you vote for the Kancamagus Highway through September 28th in USA Today’s 10 Best Scenic Autumn Drives contest.

From the Seat of a Golf Cart

Many of Mt. Washington Valley’s golf courses remain open throughout October, offering golfers picturesque holes and challenging courses. This is the time to enjoy golf at Mt. Washington Valley’s 11 courses, which are all within a 45 minute drive from North Conway, NH. Go to www.Golfmwv.com and check out profiles of each course, including lists of the most picturesque holes on each golf course. You can imagine with fall foliage in the background how gorgeous these spots are for putting and peeping!

From a cozy B&B, Inn, Motel, Hotel, or Family Resort

Mt. Washington Valley is well known for its wide variety of lodging. More than 50 country inns and B&B’s offer cozy and romantic retreats while the region’s motels, hostels, and campgrounds provide additional options for those seeking getaways on a budget. Family resorts, condos, vacation rentals, and timeshare properties round out the offerings so there’s something for everyone. Many of these lodging properties have packages and itineraries for fall foliage getaways.

From the Seat of a Bike

Mt. Washington Valley offers ideal biking terrain, ranging from gentle back roads that go through covered bridges and past farms and meadows to extreme off-road slick tracks. In fact, New Hampshire was recently named among the most cycling-friendly states in the country. There are even inn to inn biking tours offered throughout the fall.

From the Table in the Dining Room

Mt. Washington Valley offers more dining with a view than any other New England destination. Whether it’s overlooking North Conway with Cranmore Mountain front and center from the White Mountain Hotel’s dining room or a fabulous view of the Moat Mountains and Presidential Range from Darby Field Inn, you’ll find spectacular dining with a view throughout the Valley.

Whether you put your foot to the pedal or the metal, don’t forget to bring a camera because the foliage in Mt. Washington Valley is arguably the most exquisite in New England. For all your fall foliage planning information, visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for help in planning your getaway. And be sure to check out www.VisitNH.gov for all the resources you need to explore New Hampshire this fall.

Autumn and Accessible Trails

Autumn lends itself to outdoor adventure across much of the United States. The leaves are aflame, the air has become tinged with earthiness and the scent of woodsmoke, the mosquito population has dwindled, and it’s finally cool enough to be out and about in the middle of the day. In fact, with sweaters donned and knitted caps freshly retrieved from storage, it simply feels fantastic to be outside. With this in mind, coupled with the spirit of the 25th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, now seems like the perfect time to highlight some trails that are accessible to nature lovers who happen to use wheelchairs or other adaptive equipment. These trails were chosen for their paved or highly compacted surfaces.

Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes—Mullan, ID

view of lake surrounded by trees at the accessible Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

One of the many lovely vistas offered along the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
[Image: http://taimages.railstotrails.org]

This 72-mile trail is paved for its entirety, offering 20 developed trailheads and 17 wayside stations for rest, rehydration, or a scenic picnic between Mullan and Plummer, ID. The trail is accessible for persons who use wheelchairs as well as runners, cyclists, in-line skaters, and even the occasional moose.

Call (208) 682-3814 for more information.

Cumberland County Biker/Hiker Trail—Gardners, PA

The Cumberland County Biker/Hiker Trail is two paved miles along some of Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park. The park is notable for being the approximate middle point of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Travelers will enjoy proximity to two lakes, the Michaux State Forest, and all the charms and wiles that make the Appalachian Trail one of America’s most beloved outdoor destinations. If you are looking to combine a jaunt into nature and some family-oriented fun, the park’s 7th Annual Fall Furnace Festival is on Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th.

Call (717) 486-7174 for more information. 

Paseo del Bosque Trail—Albuquerque, NM

Paseo del Bosque Trail is a 16-mile paved, rather level pathway through Rio Grande Valley State Park in the heart of Albuquerque. The trail offers a unique and brilliant Southwestern beauty with a dash of autumn color in the leaves of the numerous cottonwoods that line the Rio Grande River. But visitors should seize this opportunity soon—predictions are that the peak color changes are already taking hold!

Call (505) 452-5200 for more information.

Bearskin State Park Trail—Minocqua, WI

Flat and accessible.

Some autumn foliage on Bearskin Trail. [Image: http://www.erikgrinde.com]

Bearskin State Park Trail boasts the best of Wisconsin’s Northwoods and journeys through an area with one of the densest concentration of lakes in the world. The trail runs for 18 miles on a fine, hard, compacted granite that should prove a winning surface for people operating a wheelchair. An encounter with this trail is a delight for outdoor enthusiasts year-round.

Call (715) 536-8773 for more information.

While these are just a few examples, it holds that diversity and mindful inclusion are what make America such a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Our state parks reflect that wonder naturally, especially as we continue to grow toward better inclusion for people of all abilities. For more information on state parks near you, check out our Pocket Ranger® apps, or for wheelchair- and otherwise ADA-accessible trails and parks, please explore the following resources:

A List of Wheelchair-Accessible Trails by State

Information on ADA-Accessibility and Trails

Fees, permits, and reservations may apply. Visitors should check with their local park or trail organizers to be sure of a pathway’s accessibility before embarking.

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Give a Warm Welcome to the Autumnal Equinox at a State Park

September marks the official end of summer, and almost on cue, the weather is becoming a bit chillier already and people are donning their sweaters. One of the best things about the cooler weather is that we can all do our favorite outdoor activities without ending up coated in sweat—plus, nothing is more entrancing than hiking through the woods surrounded by changing foliage. The autumnal equinox was officially on September 23rd, and here are some state parks that knew how to properly celebrate the arrival of fall.

A fairy covered in leaves changing their colors by Gary Curkan.

Gary Curkan’s fairy changing the leaves. [Image: http://ginadianneharding.com/]

Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s only prehistoric Native American archaeological site, Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, is a great place to experience autumn. An easy one-mile guided walking tour will bring you around its beautiful grounds. You’ll gain an exclusive look into Oklahoma’s past and its prehistoric people that built the mounds. There’s even a theme-appropriate treat: learning why 12 of the mounds line up during the equinoxes and solstices.

L.L. Stub Stewart State Park & Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon

Stargazing at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park to celebrate the autumnal equinox

Look to the sky at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park this fall. [Image: http://www.cheapflights.com/]

Both L.L. Stub Stewart and Rooster Rock State Parks in Oregon host a Star Party to ring in the autumnal equinox. Guests were able to look through a variety of telescopes to stare at the stars, not-so-patiently awaiting the arrival of fall as they did so.

Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park, Arkansas

Visitors learned all about Native American culture at Arkansas’ Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park during the autumnal equinox. There was a weapons demonstration, and similar to Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, there was also an explanation of the mounds in correlation with the sun’s placement.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Florida

You may have visited Hugh Taylor Birch State Park during the summer solstice when the Moonpath Circle held a Tequesta Drum Circle. In fact, these drum circles are held during all equinoxes and solstices, honoring those who lived on these lands before we did. If you missed the autumnal equinox celebration, then make sure you head over there during the winter solstice where you’ll be comforted by a huge bonfire, poetry, belly dancing, and, of course, drumming.

Harriman State Park in fall.

Spending fall in a state park is a magical experience and full of beauty, just like this photo of Harriman State Park in Idaho. [Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/144326363032814914/]

Enjoy a relaxing scenic drive to watch the leaves change, or head out for a refreshing fall hike. Whatever your vice, make sure you download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to aid in your explorations.

5 Great Fall Florida Hikes

This post is contributed by Justin Fricke of The Weekend Warrior

Hiking season is a little backwards in Florida. Or maybe it’s the right way, and the rest of the country has got it backwards. Whatever the case may be, it’s prime time for hiking in Florida as hiking season usually starts in the fall and lasts through the beginning of spring.

trail surrounded by trees great for Florida hikes

Image: http://floridahikes.com/sabal-point-sanctuary

As the temperatures start to ease up a bit, the hiking trails will soon see more use. So which trails are great for hiking in Florida? Here are five favorite fall Florida hikes.

Lake Lotus Park

Lake Lotus Park is in Altamonte Springs just outside of Orlando. The urban park lends its way to an easy 1.7-mile hiking trail. The trail runs along Lake Lotus and the Little Wekiva River, which gives plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. The trail is very easy, and part of its boardwalk extends out over the water. Bring a fishing pole and cast your line out at one of the designated fishing areas, or just hangout and enjoy the view.

Econ River Wilderness

You would never guess that there are 240 acres of wilderness tucked away behind all the subdivisions, malls, and strip shopping centers. The wet season’s coming to an end, and the 3.2-miles worth of trails are starting to dry out. These trails are well maintained and offer hikers a great way to experience nature. There are even some picturesque spots to sit by the water and listen to it flow.

Florida Trail, Wheeler Road to Joshua Creek

For hikers that want a longer day hike, the Florida Trail has loads of sections that are longer than 5-miles. One of those is the section from Wheeler Road to Joshua Creek that stretches for 9.4-miles. The trail runs underneath a myriad of oak trees where their branches weave together to provide plenty of shade from the sun. The trail also takes you through a natural botanical garden of wild orchids.

Sabal Point Sanctuary

Throughout Florida you’ll find that old logging trails make for some great modern day hiking trails. They’re wide, well maintained, and perfect for group hikes. The 7-mile Sabal Point Sanctuary is perfect for hiking in the fall. The hickory trees and red maples start shedding their gold and crimson leaves, bringing some fall foliage to Florida. Hike as far as you want on this trail and turn back around whenever you’re ready.

Lake Harney Wilderness Area

A hike with one of the most diverse landscapes is in Lake Harney Wilderness Area. Along the two loops that make up the 2.4-mile trail, you’re bound to find deer grazing in the uplands or spot eagle nests in the pine trees. Wildflowers in the woodlands create a beautiful panoramic around the pristine lake formed by the St. Johns River.

Best Autumnal Scenic Drives

Watching the leaves change color is a special part of the year that any outdoor enthusiast can enjoy, whether its from the comfort of their car or with the accompaniment of a cozy pair of hiking boots. It’s as if nature understands that once Labor Day passes, autumn and its gorgeous foliage is pretty much here to take over. Well we’re standing here with our arms wide open to welcome to much-needed end of the heat! Here are some scenic drives that you can take this fall to watch nature do it’s thing and enjoy the leaves as they change color.

Hudson River Valley, New York

Leaves changing in the fall at Hudson River Valley with bridges in the background.

Explore the gorgeous Hudson River Valley. [Image: https://goingplacesnearandfar.files.wordpress.com/]

Rolling hills, access to New York’s serene beauty, and a bird’s eye view of the expansive Hudson River makes a drive through Hudson Valley a worthwhile autumn treat. Extending 150-miles out of the edge of Manhattan, you’ll be able to see a range of the state across ten counties (Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Albany, and Rensselaer). Along the way, find a local farm to enjoy some apple or pumpkin picking!

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Changing leaves in Harpers Ferry with two bridges.

Fall foliage in Harpers Ferry is a must-see. [Image: http://travelchannel.sndimg.com/]

West Virginia is well known for how it transforms come autumn. Knowing this, there are multiple tours that visitors can partake in to explore the state’s unique look. The Golden Gateway Tour traverses through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to showcase its autumnal beauty. Once there, guests can take a dip in the mineral rich water at Berkeley Springs State Park or travel further to truly escape reality at Cacapon Resort State Park.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Leaves changing around a parkway.

A serene drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is just what the doctor ordered. [Image: http://www.blueridgeparkwaydaily.com/]

Known to some as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway spans from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia 469-miles into Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina. It follows the Appalachian Mountain chain along this beautiful highway and features more than 100 different species of tree.

Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Changing leaves around a moss-covered highway.

Let the Columbia River Highway take your breath away this fall. [Image: http://www.buckyandhisbike.net/]

The 75-mile Columbia River Highway was built in 1913 to highlight the natural beauty of the Oregon area. Not surprisingly, it’s an especially perfect place to visit to see the changing foliage. From the 900-foot cliffs it winds through, it overlooks expansive valleys and a lulling river. While there, make sure you check out the breathtaking 620-foot Multnomah Falls from Ainsworth State Park!

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico

A road leading into a beautiful town in New Mexico surrounded by changing leaves.

Get away from reality at the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway in New Mexico. [Image: http://www.davidmixner.com/]

If you have a preference for stunning aspens, then you might want to head to Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, which loops 83-miles to and from Taos. Follow this route around New Mexico’s highest point, Wheeler Peak, and watch the leaves change from yellow to dark orange.

Download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to explore the changing fall foliage near you. But be quick, because autumn slips into winter suddenly and quickly!