Top 10 Overlooked Fall Foliage Destinations

10:12:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Living the RV lifestyle offers the many the freedom to experience life, especially for those who enjoy finding new and exciting destinations that are often overlooked. There is never a shortage of fun places to explore. RVers enjoy the desert in spring, beach in summer, and when the mood strikes, we hit the road to reach the fall foliage.


Rambling Dream | Flickr

Tourists and traffic crowd out the fabulous fall shows at forests such as, the Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains, the Adirondacks, and the Great Smokey Mountains. But why not try something a little different this fall? Consider the overlooked fall foliage destinations and prepare for the coziness of shorter days and longer nights. You still have a month or so to map out a route to these roads less traveled.

  1. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

    Dividing the states of Washington and Oregon, the Columbia River cuts deep gorges into the rocky coast. Lining the banks on each side, deep green firs and twisted pines provide a rich backdrop to the golden and red, big-leaf maples and Oregon Ash. This area has lots of hiking and rafting companies to get you down deep into the dramatic scenery.

    Best time to go: Mid-September to Mid-October

  2. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, Taos, New Mexico

    Glide over 83 miles of inclines and mesas around Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest point at an altitude of 13,161. Golden Aspens dominate this southwestern fall foliage, but the purple cinquefoil and brilliant red cottonwood add color not seen in the typical hardwood forests in New England. The trek begins and ends in Taos, a quaint town offering lots of shopping, sightseeing, and dining opportunities.

    Best time to go: Late September to early October

  3. Upper Peninsula, Michigan State Forest

    At 4 million acres, Michigan’s state forest system provides every fall foliage experience RVers dream of, and a few extra to boot. Here, you’ll find ash, aspen, beech, birch, maple, oak, sycamore, and tamarack enriching each other with vying hues of gold, red, and green. Jutting between the Great Lakes, the Upper Peninsula also offers an inexhaustible supply of boating and fishing opportunities.

    Best time to go: September to October


    Hilton Lieberum | Flickr

  4. Chattanooga, Tennessee

    Along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga’s hiking and biking trails lead you through dense forests of scarlet oak, river birch, silver maple, hemlock, and other pines.

    Fall foliage tourists can also enjoy a relaxing ride aboard a riverboat, taking in the hills’ contours from the comfort of a deck chair. These Fall Leaf Cruises embark Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during October and November. With Nashville just two hours away, adding a tour of and concert at the Grand Ole Opry satisfies music lovers.

    Best time to go: October and November


    Frank Kehren | Flickr

  5. Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada

    With your passports on the ready, Canada provides unique cultural as well as natural adventure. The Alberta Fall Colour Report keeps tourists informed about the deepening hues of the sub-alpine larch and aspen trees. Johnston’s Canyon and Tunnel Mountain near Banff get lots of fall foliage lovers in September and October. Lake Agnes and Lake Louise are popular spots as well.

    Best time to go: September and October

  6. Agawa Canyon, Ontario, Canada

    With Alberta conquered, RVers with an extra day or two can venture east into Ontario where the Algoma Central Railroad can take over the driving for a while. The Agawa Canyon Tour takes you through the area’s majestic granite outcrops and mixed forests. The track descends 10 miles down the canyon wall to the floor of the Agawa Canyon, made flat and wide by faulting, and glacier advance and retreat.

    Best time to go: Late September and early October

  7. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas

    Maples and red oak dominate the lone star state’s favorite fall foliage destination. Located about one-hundred miles outside of San Antonio, the park also offers lots of opportunities for swimming, bird-watching, photography, hiking, and biking. Nearby Vanderpool has the gas, water, and food, RVers need to keep their trip on track.

    Best time to go: October


    Knowsphotos | Flickr
  8. Black Hills and Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway, South Dakota

    The Sunday drive never had it so awesome! Nature’s amazing accomplishments compete with humanity’s as RVers wend their way from Mount Rushmore to the Custer State Park over Iron Mountain Road. The Black Hills here hold aspens, ash, oak, and sumac that light up the horizon with bright reds, yellows, and deep greens. Driving down to the Peter Norbeck National Scenic byway takes RVers through six rock tunnels and breathtaking vistas along the winding road.

    Best time to visit: September and October

  9. Maryland Panhandle, Garrett County

    Rural western Maryland’s gentle, old Appalachian Mountains rise and fall and provide a peaceful ride savored by RVers. The Fall Foliage Driving tour takes nature lovers around Garrett Highway and Cove Road through the 300 year old Hemlocks, vibrant golden oak, and maple trees. Stops along the way include historical spots, petting zoos, and scenic overlooks.

    Best time to visit: September and October

  10. Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, South Carolina

    What could be as dramatic as fall foliage? How about a waterfall or 50? The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway winds through the slopes of the southern Appalachian Mountains past some of the tallest waterfalls in the east. The Raven Cliff Falls contains a series of cascades, the largest drop of which is 400 feet. The 130 mile trek carries RVers across old Indian trails but has plenty of cozy lodges and restaurants along the way.

    Best time to visit: September and October

La Mesa RV Finds Your Next Excursion

Anyone with an RV in the United States has an endless supply of natural, historic, and cultural wonders to explore. Here at La Mesa RV, we help make sure you never run out of trip options. While RVers love to meet up with other road-trippers, we know you like to go off the beaten path, away from the crowd, too. With fall coming up, we’re getting lots of calls about getting out to see the trees!

Hopefully this post has given you a few great ideas, but you can also check out The Foliage Network’s webcam to get real time views of northeast, Midwest, and southeast U.S. fall foliage destinations. Before you fill up your tanks however, make sure your RV is road ready. We offer smart service packages that save you money and time. Have a question on what RV might be the best option for your lifestyle or budget? Feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or email us here. Let La Mesa RV help you discover the RV lifestyle!

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