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!
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!
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, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Take a walk in the woods along a disc golf course and enjoy some of the best fall colors in town!
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.
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.
Your kids will love trouncing through the mud and harvesting hickory nuts along the way on this hike.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!