Fall is one of the most amazing times of the year to go hiking. If you’re looking for US travel ideas to enjoy the outdoors, take a look at this list of trails for the best fall hiking in the US.
From coast-to-coast, there are countless trails offering breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences. There are easy, moderate or strenuous hikes in the US National Parks, State Parks and Forest Service land.
We love hiking in the fall when the weather is cooler, there are fewer people, and the colors are out of this world!
Whether you’re looking for a short day hike or an extended backpacking excursion – here are some of the very best places to go for fall hiking in the US!
Check out these 60+ Best Hiking Trails in the US for even more ideas for outdoor adventure!
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Fall Hiking Gear
- Hiking shoes
- Darn Tough socks
- Wicking clothing
- Fleece jacket
- Refillable water bottle or hydration backpack
- Healthy snacks
- Flashlight or headlamp
- National Park maps
- What to Bring on a Day Hike
- Hiking Gear and Tips for Kids
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Best Cameras for Hiking
US National Park, State Park and Forest Service Hiking Trails
Hiking is a terrific way to experience and appreciate the outdoors. The hikes you find in the US national parks, state parks or forests take you over mountain peaks, through tall forests, across desert slickrock and even IN rivers. Here’s a list of the best fall hikes at US National Parks!
The US National Park website, the local state park website and US Forest Service website have terrific information about hiking in the parks, types of trails you’ll find in the parks and best tips for staying safe. Always check the individual park website, or Forest Service trail site, for current updates on trail conditions.
Do your research before starting any hiking trail, even the easy ones. Visit the website for the location you want to hike. You need to know about rock cairns, guidelines for archaeological sites, hiking etiquette, identifying plants, hiking in bear country, and more!
The Best Fall Hiking in the US
Fall is the best time for hiking because the weather is more temperate and the autumn colors are beautiful.
If you’ll be hiking with kids, fall provides nice weather and you can create fun activities along the way with the colorful leaves!
If you enjoy taking pictures on your adventures, check out our photography gear for hiking!
CALIFORNIA: Yosemite National Park Fall Hikes
We love Yosemite in the fall and for good reason. There are so many incredible hikes to go on and gorgeous scenery to see.
Vernal Falls is a must-hike trail in the fall. This is one of the only waterfall 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 look to the base of the falls. The 2.4 miles 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 and Tours
- Hotels Near Yosemite National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Yosemite National Park
- Tours Near Yosemite National Park
UTAH: Zion National Park Fall Hikes
The Zion National Park fall hikes make this list of best hikes in the US because fall is the best time to hike Zion. The temperatures are cooler and the crowds aren’t as bad as summer!
If you are wanting to see an abundance of color, plan your trip to Zion National Park in the fall for late October when the colors start changing.
At Zion National Park there are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes. You will need to ride the Zion National Park Shuttle for any hike in Zion Canyon.
Canyon Overlook Trail is the perfect beginner hike and it’s a Zion hike without the shuttle. There you will see some of the most amazing colors on this easy trail.
Angels Landing 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. You will need a permit to hike the chains section of the trail to the top.
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 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.
→ CHECK OUT these hikes from Las Vegas if you want to extend your trip!
Where to Stay Near Zion
UTAH: Arches National Park
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. You will need a timed entry ticket to get into the park during September and October.
We couldn’t just pick one go-to Arches National Park fall hikes, we had to pick two to add to the best fall hikes in the US.
First on the list, Devil’s Garden Trail. It is the longest hike in Arches National Park. It is 7.2-miles roundtrip. It is perfect to go on this time of year because of the cooler temperatures.
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 other must-do fall hike is to Delicate Arch. It is a 3-mile roundtrip hike. Here you will see Delicate Arch, which cannot be seen from the road. It is definitely worth the hike that you don’t want to miss.
Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
WYOMONG: Grand Teton National Park
It’s no surprise that Grand Teton National Park in 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 a Grand Teton National Park easy fall hikes that showcases the beauty of the Grand Tetons in the fall be sure to hike Lakeshore Trail. You can enjoy the views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake. It only takes about 2 hours and is perfect for to see and photograph the fall colors!
Where to Stay Near Grand Teton
- Where to Stay Near Grand Teton National Park
- Grand Teton National Park Lodging
- Glamping Near Grand Teton National Park
MAINE: Acadia National Park
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
- Hotels Near Acadia National Park
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COLORADO: Rocky Mountain National Park
We can’t forget about Rocky Mountain National Park on 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 you may see snow on the mountains if you go late enough in the fall.
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 3.5-mile 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 2.3-miles long. 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
- Hotels Near Rocky Mountain National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Rocky Mountain National Park
- Tours Near Rocky Mountain National Park
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