The Fall is for Hiking

There is no better time to hike than the fall. The crisp autumn air cuts through the trees, creating sweeping views of changing foliage painting the landscape like fire all across America. The crowds of summer are gone, leaving you enough elbow room to walk trails in peace and relish in the light and brilliance of the deciduous leaves as they grow old.

As summer collapses into fall and Mother Nature prepares for the colder months, we polled Hike it Baby branches throughout the United States and Canada asking their favorite family-friendly fall hikes. Here are the trails the Hike it Baby community shared!

West

Banks-Vernonia State Trail 

Banks, Oregon

Located an hour west of Portland, with 21 miles of paved trail over trestles and bridges and incredible views of ash and maple trees, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail offers some of the best fall colors on the entire West Coast. This trail was a former railroad!

Blue Lake Trail Stehikin, WA

Blue Lake Trail in Stehikin, WA – Photo Credit: Christine Buchanan

Blue Lake Trail

Stehikin, WA

Take this moderate walk through the sub-alpine forest to the luminous waters of Blue Lake on this out-and-back style hike in the North Cascades. Keep an eye open for Washington’s iconic Larch trees and their vibrant yellow needles.

Hope Valley 

Hope Valley, CA

The yellow and orange Aspen groves of Hope Valley, just 30 minutes south of South Lake Tahoe, are a sight to see. This 4-mile out-and-back stroll takes you through thick of it.

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

Idyllwild, CA

This out-and-back in the San Jacinto Mountains is a wonderful way to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the yellow, orange and red colors of the fall.

Oxbow Nature Study Park

Reno, Nevada

Walk along the scenic Truckee River, listening to the sounds of birds and the rustle of the changing leaves of cottonwood and aspen trees and you will forget that you are in the city! 

Spencer Glacier

Spencer Glacier in Seward, AK – Photo Credit: Liz Birkos

Spencer Glacier

Seward, AK

Take the Alaska Railroad and hike to this remote destination which features a massive wall of ice sliding into a lake surrounded by the colors of the fall. 

Mountain West

Garden City River Walk

Garden City, Idaho

Take a stroll along the north side of the Boise River Greenbelt and marvel in its dazzling fall colors on this city-walk. Double its distance by crossing the river and hiking back along the south bank. 

Aspen Trail Mueller State Park, CO

Aspen Trail in Mueller State Park, CO – Photo Credit: Monica Heathcoat

Aspen Trail

Mueller State Park, CO

Just under an hour west of Colorado Springs, this high alpine loop in Mueller State Park is filled with the gold and yellow color of aspens. 

Southwest

Norski Cross Country Trail

Norski Cross Country Trail in Santa Fe, NM – Photo Credit: Jamie Lynn

Norski Cross Country Ski Trail

Santa Fe, NM

Take this cross-country ski loop trail in the Santa Fe National Forest through meadows of aspen groves at over 10,000 ft!

Lost Maples State Park 

Vanderpool, Texas

The 2-hour drive west of San Antonio is worth it for this loop hike. The trail meanders along the Sabinal River and among some of the most concentrated numbers of maple trees in Texas! Get there early because the park tends to fill up in the fall. 

Southeast

Opelika Sportsplex

Opelika, AL

Take a walk in the woods along a disc golf course and enjoy some of the best fall colors in town! 

Catawba Falls Old Fort, NC

Catawba Falls in
Old Fort, NC – Photo Credit: Shelly Russell Sineath

Catawba Falls

Old Fort, NC

The Blue Ridge Mountains have some of the best fall colors in the US. This waterfall hike, located in the Pisgah National Forest just east of Asheville, follows the cascading Catawba River along a mossy trail laden with hues of red, yellow and orange. 

Midwest

Emmenegger Nature Park St. Louis, Missouri

Emmenegger Nature Park
in St. Louis, Missouri – Photo Credit: Ashley Newport

Emmenegger Nature Park

St. Louis, Missouri

Take the Bluff Creek Trail on this easy stroll. Shuffle your feet through a sea of deciduous tree leaves, exploring a creek, river, bluffs, and bridges along the way.  

Cherry Hill Nature Preserve

Ypsilanti, MI

Your kids will love trouncing through the mud and harvesting hickory nuts along the way on this hike. 

Northeast

Chickies Rock Overlook

Columbia, PA

This flat, loop trail has a big payoff with a beautiful view of the Susquehanna and its river banks which catch fire with reds and yellows in the fall. To extend your hike, explore the various deer and side trails on the way. 

Rock Creek Park - Rapids Bridge Hike Washington DC

Rock Creek Park, Rapids Bridge Hike in
Washington DC – Photo Credit: Genevieve Spanjer Wright

Rock Creek Park – Rapids Bridge Hike

Washington DC

This 2- mile loop hike takes you through the forest and then parallels the scenic whitewater section of Rock Creek before heading back uphill. The trail is identified by orange tape on wooden posts. 

Reed Brook Trail

Kingfield, ME

Take a walk through the woods on this out-and-back trail in a fairytale setting in western Maine which features a waterfall, an old cement bridge, and fall colors as far as the eye can see. 

Giant Washbowl via Ridge Trail in Keene Valley, NY

Giant Washbowl via Ridge Trail in Keene Valley, NY – Photo Credit: Valerie Gregory

Giant Washbowl via Ridge Trail

Keene Valley, NY

This hike in the Adirondacks is a real butt-kicker as you huff it nearly 700 ft UP the Ridge Trail in less than a mile to Giant Washbowl Lake. Enjoy the serene lake and views of hillsides painted in red and yellow as your reward! 

Canada

Ginter’s Mansion Prince George, BC

Ginter’s Mansion in
Prince George, BC – Photo Credit: Meagan Dale

Ginter’s Mansion

Prince George, BC

Hike amongst the remnants of a local famous brewer’s mansion in this iconic Prince George favorite. Enjoy the many aspens and birch trees in fiery color as you explore the grounds. 

Lime Kiln Trail

Ottawa, ON

This flat, lollipop trail with sections of woods, boardwalk, and ruins of a 19th-century kiln is great for the entire family in the fall. Don’t miss the chance to feed the chickadees who will eat straight from your palm. From the trailhead walk about a half a mile and turn onto the Chipmunk Trail, then continue in a counter-clockwise fashion back to the intersection with the Lime Kiln Trail. Connect with other trails on the Greenbelt to make longer loops. 

Comment below and tell us your favorite fall hikes!


Looking for a new hiking trail to explore near you? Check out Hike it Baby’s Family Trail Guide to find your next favorite hike!

2 thoughts on “Fall Hiking Trails Across North America That Are Perfect for Families

  • Colleen Mooney

    Only 2 hikes in all of Canada?!? Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver is a great place for hiking with the littles. Also – It’s spelled Ottawa.

    • Sara Wesche

      Hi Colleen! Thanks for the spelling correction and your feedback. We asked our community for hike locations, and the trails we included from Canada were the responses we received. That being said, we probably could have featured 1,000 fall trails across North America as we know there are many more in the US and Canada.

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