forgotten-national-parks-gear-patrol-filson-badge
Searing summer heat, hellish winters and everything in between — when it comes to seasonal weather, the Northeast sees it all. In the wake of the heat waves and hurricane season, and just before the “Blizzard of the Century” we seem to get every winter, the Northeast transforms into an incredible pallet of colors during autumn. Temperatures cool, leaves change and vast forests fade from a vibrant emerald to a canvas of gold, copper and bronze.

So, if you find yourself in the Northeast from late September to the end of November, make your way to one of these great vantage points and soak in Mother Nature’s true beauty (before her mood turns for the worse in December).

Connecticut

The Base of New England

Bear Mountain

As the highest peak in Connecticut, Bear Mountain provides a fantastic view of the surrounding Catskills in New York and Mount Everett in Massachusetts.

Nearest Town: Salisbury, Connecticut
Most Common Tree: Oak

Maine

Practically Canada

Precipice Trail

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-precipice

Amounting to just a walkway built into the side of a cliff, the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park provides stunning views overlooking the forest and the deep blue Atlantic.

Nearest City: Bar Harbor, Maine
Most Common Tree: Birch, Maple, Aspen

Massachusetts

Find a Different Kind of Colorful Accent

Mt. Tom

As the highest peak along the Metacomet Range, Mt. Tom provides the best views of the surrounding wildlife refuges, National Forests and the Connecticut River.

Nearest Town: East Hampton, Massachusetts
Most Common Tree: Chestnut Oak

Blue Hills Observatory

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-blue-hills

Quite possibly the easiest spot to reach on this list, the Blue Hills Observatory and Reservation is accessible via public transportation from Boston.

Nearest City: Boston, Massachusetts
Most Common Tree: Birch

New Hampshire

Live Free

Welch and Dickey Mountain Loop

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-dickey-mtn

When talking about hiking through the White Mountains, “casual hike” doesn’t usually make it into the conversation. However, the Welch and Dickey mountain loop is one of the easier ways to see some of New England’s most famous mountains.

Nearest City: Concord, New Hampshire
Most Common Tree: Red Oak

Mount Washington

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-white-mtn

Mount Washington is a serious hike, and weather at the top can be completely different from the base (so be prepared). But if the day’s weather is on your side, the view from just above the treeline is second to none.

Nearest City: Portland, Maine
Most Common Tree: Northern Hardwoods

Moosilauke Mountain

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-moosilauke

To the West, you’ll peer down at the Connecticut River and Vermont. To the East you’ll see the rest of the White Mountains National Forest, and on a clear day, Maine.

Nearest Town: Newbury, Vermont
Most Common Tree: Maple

New Jersey

Dense Cities, Denser Forests

Mount Tammany

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-tammany

For those who think New Jersey is geographically featureless, they’ve likely never passed Newark. Mt. Tammany, and most of Northwest New Jersey, is as densely packed with forest as the rest of the state is people. Come autumn, the views of the Delaware Water Gap from the top of Mt. Tammany are something to behold.

Nearest City: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Most Common Tree: Harwoods

New York

The State Only Starts at the City

Breakneck Ridge

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-breakneck

Breakneck Ridge is one of the most popular hiking spots in NY. With trails of varying length and difficulty, you can easily switch your autumn-time day hike into a weekend campout.

Nearest Town: Beacon, New York
Most Common Tree: Oak Hickory, Chestnut Oak

Black Mountain at Lake George

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-black-mtn

The road up to Lake George draws thousands of drivers and motorcyclists every year. But the proper way to do it is to park and hike up Black Mountain to get a bird’s-eye view of why people flock there every year.

Nearest Town: Hueletts Landing, New York
Most Common Tree: Black Cherry

Pennsylvania

Where to Escape From Phillies Fans

Pulpit Rock

The Appalachian Trail is about 2,200 miles long, and of that, 230 miles run through Pennsylvania. Anyone who’s hiked up Pulpit Rock will tell you it’s one of the best views on the trail, and definitely the best view in PA.

Nearest City: Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania
Most Common Tree: Hemlock (with Rhododendron)

Vermont

More Than Maple Syrup

Mt. Mansfield

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-mansfield

Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in the state of Vermont, provides the best view of the deciduous forests below. Just plan on getting there earlier in the season than later; snow falls early this far north.

Nearest Town: Stowe, Vermont
Most Common Tree: Northern Hardwoods

Virginia

Hikes for Leaf Lovers

Shenandoah National Park

falls-best-colors-gear-patrol-shenadona

Choose your trail. The park offers over 500 miles of beautiful forest to hike and explore and, being so far south, the vibrant colors tend to last longer than the spots farther north.

Nearest City: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Most Common Tree: Oak and Hickory