How To

Eight Ways to Find Fall Color This Season

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Fall colors are on display in Colorado's Eldorado Canyon State Park outside Boulder. Image by Jerry Bargar/Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Mother Nature is on display during fall with her dazzling array of color. Many states, organizations, and agencies like the U.S. Forest Service set up foliage hotlines during autumn to aid outdoor lovers in their various pursuits among trees like birch, aspen, maple, apple, and more.

“America’s public lands, particularly our national forests, are among the most spectacular venues to view the changes in fall colors,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in a release. “The Forest Service offers numerous resources to help you plan your experience. Nature is closer than you may think.”

And so is the flow of dollars. According to the Forest Service, New England receives an estimated $8 billion annually in local revenues from fall visitors. In the Midwest, millions of visitors hit the road to enjoy the sights, and in the West, the mountains offer destinations filled with tourists seeking views of shimmering gold aspens.

Paddle through the changing Vermont landscape of autumn. Image by Dennis Curran/Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing.

Paddle through the changing Vermont landscape of autumn. Image by Dennis Curran/Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing.

“Many of the typically 3.5 million fall visitors to Vermont head to harvest festivals and chicken pie dinners,” says Jen Butson, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. “Heading into nature provides a close-up view, often a more quiet seasonal celebration, and the opportunity to see the landscape change before your eyes, one leaf-fall at a time.”

Before grabbing that fleece, check here:

  1. The Forest Service unveiled its Fall Colors 2013 campaign with online maps detailing peak color as well as where to find national forests across the country. There is also a hotline to call (1-800-354-4595) with tips on best places, dates, and routes to take a peek at peak foliage.
  2. Vermont is not only the land of cows, cheese, and maple syrup, but also punsters. The state’s tourism department unveiled a fall update program called “Seeing is Beleafing.” Not only can visitors get suggestions on various motoring routes, but also video foliage reports at www.vermontvacation.com/seeingisbeleafing/.
  3. Hump day means new foliage reports in New Hampshire. Get the latest on Wednesdays by visiting visitnh.gov/4-seasons/fall-harvest/foliage/ or calling the Fall Foliage hotline at 1-800-258-3608.
  4. The meandering Blue Ridge Parkway is a launch pad for an assortment of high country hikes in North Carolina including the Asheville area. Foliage updates can be had at www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm, but also tips for optimal leaf peeping, schedule of events and outdoor activity suggestions.
  5. Wisconsin’s 16 million acres of forests are loaded with color. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report is the site’s most-viewed page during autumn and allows viewers to sort their request by region, color and more.
  6. The 19 million acres of Michigan woods explode in a quiver of hues through October’s end. At www.michigan.org, sign up for email updates for fall color updates.
  7. Colorado’s state parks are loaded with ribbons of color. Best bet is going to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife homepage and visiting the park search page. Click on the Conditions tab, check the Fall Colors box, and then search for your favorite park. Each park has tips.
  8. Wonder what it would be like to be a real leaf peeper? The Oregon Fall Foliage report not only is loaded with updates but allows for a chance to get in on the action by signing up as a leaf reporter. Visitors also check in for color reports from the coast to the Cascades by also calling 1-800-547-5445.

Now you’re ready to hit that kaleidoscope of trails.

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