Here’s a list of the best National Parks to visit in October with tips to help you plan a national park vacation. If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the United States, October is a terrific time to go!
Planning a US National Park vacation in October you’ll see many parks display autumn colors, you’ll enjoy cooler temperatures, and there aren’t as many visitors as the busy summer months!
With plenty of activities to do at America’s National Parks in October like hiking, biking, camping, or scenic drives, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone!
You’ll find travel guides, things to do, what to pack, where to stay, and more to plan an October vacation to US National Parks!
Use our US National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in October! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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What to Pack for a Fall National Park Vacation
- 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.
- Hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water bottles
- Healthy snacks
- National Park maps
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- DOWNLOAD our Camera Gear Checklist
Visiting US National Parks in October
Check out our guide for finding the best National Parks to visit by month. During each season and month of the year, national parks will have different activities and services available.
Here’s a list of US National Park vacation ideas for the month of October.
Canyonlands in October
Canyonlands National Park in October is one of the best times to visit! It offers cooler temperatures than other months throughout the year.
Two days is the perfect amount of time to explore this National Park. You will want to spend one day exploring Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky and the other at Needles Canyonlands.
There are so many things to do at Canyonlands National Park like exploring the Canyonlands hikes and the Island in the Sky scenic drive.
Where to Stay Near Canyonlands
Crater Lake National Park in October
Visiting Crater Lake in October usually means fewer people and better views when you stop at the beautiful overlooks.
With over 30 overlooks to choose from, you will be amazed by the views in this unique park.
Crater Lake National Park is a great place to visit in Oregon with kids.
Sometimes there are early snowfalls, so be sure to check the road conditions before visiting.
Lodging and Tours Near Crater Lake National Park
Death Valley in October
Death Valley National Park is best explored in the fall months due to lower temperatures than summer months.
If going on a guided tour is something you want to do, these do not start until late October.
Planning your trip to Death Valley National Park should include an early arrival for a breathtaking view of the sunrise at Zabriskie Point.
Denali National Park in October
Since Denali National Park is located in Alaska, there are very short periods to visit without snow.
October is the perfect time to visit because the end of September is when cruise ships stop porting which means fewer people are visiting the park.
Visiting Denali National Park in October is a great time to do some fall hiking and even see the northern lights!
Lodging & Tours Near Denali
Everglades National Park in October
Visiting Florida in the summer months is not ideal at all. Planning a trip to the Everglades in October is a great way to avoid the hot sticky weather.
A must-do activity at Everglades National Park is riding an airboat on the swamps to view alligators. This is an adventurous visit that you don’t want to miss!
Everglades National Park Travel Tips
- Hotels Near Everglades National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Everglades National Park
- Tours Near Everglades National Park
Great Smoky Mountains in October
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains in October will be a real treat for your eyes.
The red, yellow, and orange colors that fill the tree-lined mountains make for a beautiful display.
No matter if you are exploring in your car or motorcycle these colors are one of the real reasons why visiting the Great Smoky Mountains in the fall is a must!
Check out this amazing Great Smoky Mountains vacation planner!
Great Smoky Mountains Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Great Smoky Mountains
- Vacation Rentals Near Great Smoky Mountains
- Tours Near Great Smoky Mountains
North Cascades in October
Northern Washington in October is pure beauty. The start of October brings some fall foliage that is so breathtaking, which is surprising to many because when one thinks of Washington State they think green thick Douglas Fir Trees.
North Cascade National Park offers jagged peaks, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls. There is so much to see and do here.
Exploring the outdoors in cold weather is not always fun. That’s why visiting in October is smart before it gets too cold and covered in snow.
Lodging Near North Cascades
Rocky Mountain National Park in October
Looking to view all kinds of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and bighorn sheep? Then October is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
You may even get lucky and see some wildlife head-butting and playing around while visiting. To get the full experience of the trails and wildlife, sign up for a horseback ride to explore the park.
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
Shenandoah in October
During the first week of October, the leaves start changing into the most beautiful fall colors at Shenandoah National Park. The higher in elevation you go the more color changes in the leaves you will see.
If you are a lover of bird watching there are over 500 miles of trails where you can enjoy seeing all types of birds that make this park their home.
Located near Shenandoah National Park are the Luray Caverns, which is a US Natural Landmark. They are the largest underground caverns you will find on the east coast.
Where to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park
Yellowstone in October
Our all-time favorite month to visit – Yellowstone in October. There are fewer people, cooler temperatures for hiking and greater wildlife activity.
You do need to be prepared for a trip to Yellowstone in the fall. The weather is unpredictable in the fall so pack for sun, rain, and snow.
Also, the lodges, stores, gas stations and roads begin to close for the season so do your research in advance.
But if you enjoy waterfalls, wildlife, and nature photography, and can do without some park services, use our Yellowstone vacation planning guide.
Where to Stay Near Yellowstone
- Places to Stay at Yellowstone National Park
- Yellowstone National Park Camping
- RV Parks Near Yellowstone National Park
Zion National Park in October
The Zion National Park shuttle is running every day in October so check the shuttle schedule for the most updated information. In the fall the shuttles start running a little less frequently and for less hours each day.
Zion National Park in October is the best time to hike the trails when the temperatures are moderate AND the water levels are low.
We highly recommend the two Zion National Park scenic drives near Springdale you can explore in your personal car: Highway 9 and Kolob Terrace Road.
Where to Stay Near Zion
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Plan a US National Park Vacation
- National Parks by State
- US National Parks Pass
- US National Park Packing List
- US National Parks to Visit With Kids
- Best National Parks to Visit by Month
- 63 Fun Facts about US National Parks