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Fall is one of the most amazing times of the year to go hiking.

We love visiting US National Parks in the fall.

The weather is cooler, there are fewer people, and the colors are out of this world! 

Hiking, national parks and fall are a terrific combination!

We’re sharing the best fall hikes at US national parks that you should add to your must-hike list.

And a few more bonus tips for hiking in the fall:

  • Fall Hiking Gear
  • US National Park, State Park and Forest Service Hiking Trails
  • Best Fall Hikes at US National Parks

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Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.

FALL HIKING GEAR

DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!

DOWNLOAD our Day Hike Packing Checklist!

1. US National Parks Pass: You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

→ BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation. 

2.  Fall Hiking Shoes: → Check out our FAVORITE hiking shoes/boots!

3. Fall Hiking Socks:  → Check out the BEST SOCKS EVER!

4. Fall Clothing for Hiking (Layers)

5. Daypack

6. Other

US NATIONAL PARK, STATE PARK AND FOREST SERVICE HIKING TRAILS

Hiking is one of the best ways to experience and appreciate the outdoors in the US.

The trails you find in the US national parks, state parks or forests let you explore mountain peaks, forests, and desert slickrock. 

The US National Park website, the local state park website and US Forest Service website have all the information you need about hiking in the parks. 

Always check the individual park website, or Forest Service trail site, for current updates on trail conditions.

The Best Fall Hikes at US National Parks

Yosemite National Park

Hiking

We love Yosemite in the fall, and for good reason. There are so many incredible hikes to go and gorgeous scenery.

There is always something to do at Yosemite. Vernal Falls is a hiking trail that’s awesome in the fall.

This is one of the only waterfalls in Yosemite that does not dry up by the time falls arrives. 

With three different hiking options in one, there is a hike for everyone on this trail. 

You can choose to hike the 1.6-mile loop to the base of the falls. There is a 2.4 mile trail to the top of Vernal Falls or you can go all the way to Nevada Fall on the 5.4-mile loop.

No matter which hike you choose you are guaranteed some incredible views along the way that won’t disappoint.

Yosemite National Park Lodging & Tours

Zion National Park

Hiking

Zion National Park Hikes are out of this world, so of course, they are on our best fall hikes in the US.

Fall is the best time to hike Zion. The temperatures are cooler and the crowds are gone.

If you are wanting to see an abundance of color plan your fall Zion trip for late October when the colors start changing. 

At Zion National Park there are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes:

Canyon Overlook Trail

This is the perfect beginner hike in the fall at Zion. There you will see some of the most amazing colors on this easy trail. While hiking you will be able to take in the views from Zion Canyon.

This is one hike you don’t want to forget your camera on because the colors are incredible. This hike is just about a mile long making it perfect for families. 

Angels Landing

This is another one of those fall hikes in the US that is a must. This is the most popular hike in Zion and for good reason. 

On this 5.4-mile hike, you will climb over 1500 feet above the canyon floor. As you climb you will take in the fall colors all along the way, especially on the canyon floor.

If you plan to hike this trail remember it is steep and will take at least 3 hours to do and will require you to use a chain handrail at times.  

Observation Point

This is a strenuous hike on our fall hiking in the US list. This is one you will want to prepare for as it is 8 miles and climbs 2300 feet in elevation.

On average it takes 4-6 hours to complete, but is well worth it! At the top, you will see Angels Landing and other Zion landmarks, not to mention all the trees changing colors.

Where to Stay Near Zion

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay close to Zion:

  • Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
  • Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
  • Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
  • Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants. 
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

Arches National Park

Hiking

Arches National Park in the Fall is not only breathtaking, but the perfect time to go. The weather is great and the crowds are fewer.

We couldn’t just pick one go-to hike at Arches, we had to pick two to add to the best fall hikes in the US.

Devil’s Garden Trail

First on the list, Devil’s Garden Trail. It is the longest hike in Arches National Park. It is 7.2-miles roundtrip if you do the full primitive trail loop.

If you are hiking with kids, or not up for the 7-mile hike, be sure to go on the first mile of the hike to Landscape Arch, the largest arch in the park! 

Delicate Arch

The other must-do fall hike is to Delicate Arch. It is a moderate 3-mile roundtrip hike, much of it a steep gain of elevation on slick rock.

An alternative to this trail would be the Delicate Arch Viewpoint. You can see the arch just a few steps away from the parking lot.

Where to Stay Near Arches:

There are no hotels in Arches so most people stay in the nearby town of Moab. You’ll find restaurants and places to shop which adds to the appeal to find accommodations in Moab.

There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks

READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Places to stay near Arches National Park in Moab

• Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.

• Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 

• Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!

• Vacation Rentals – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.

Grand Teton National Park

Hiking

It’s no surprise that Grand Teton National Park is on our list for the best fall hiking in the US.

There is so much adventure at Grand Teton in the Fall, and hiking is definitely one of them. 

If you are looking for an easy hike that showcases the beauty of the Grand Tetons in the fall, be sure to hike Lakeshore Trail.

It’s an easy hike that you can stroll along as you enjoy the views of the Teton mountains and Jackson Lake. 

This hike takes about 2 hours where you can enjoy the fall colors of the trees along the lake shore.

Where to Stay in Jackson near Grand Teton:

There are a variety of lodging options in Grand Teton as well as Jackson. Here are the 3 favorite places we recommend:

Acadia National Park

Hiking

Did you know that Acadia National Park is the most visited National Park in the fall?

Everywhere you look the landscape is bursting with color.

The most popular fall hike in the park is Cadillac North Ridge Trail.

This is a 4.4-mile round trip hike that takes you up 1528 feet where you will see some of the most incredible views of the ocean and the forest.

Acadia National Park Lodging & Tours

Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking

We can’t forget about Rocky Mountain National Park on a list about the best fall hiking in the US.

As the aspen trees change to the most beautiful golden colors, you can’t help but be amazed by their beauty.

In the distance, if you go late enough in the fall, you may see snow-capped mountains as well. 

At Rocky Mountain National Park there are so many hikes to choose from, but we are a fan of Cascade Falls this time of year.

It is a 6.8 mile round trip hike that takes you into the forested country to the waterfall on the west side of the park.

Many people prefer Cub Lake this time of year. It is 4.8-miles long round trip.

On this hike you will travel to the mountain pond through the woods seeing all the fall colors along the way.

Rocky Mountain National Park Lodging & Tours

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