Top 20 National Parks You Need to Visit This Fall


With the temperatures turned down, nature’s colors turned up, and the kids back in school, fall is the ultimate time to book a trip to national parks. You not only get fewer crowds and even better landscape views, but your trip becomes a little more spontaneous thanks to the unpredictable weather—whether it’s extra-cool nights or a freak snowstorm.

“Fall is my favorite season to visit national parks for a variety of reasons, depending on location,” says Heather Gyselman, REI adventure travel’s North American program manager. “In the west and midwest, the crowds are gone and there’s a hush in the air. You no longer have to jostle for a spot at favored overlooks, and it’s almost like the parks are letting out a deep long sigh. There are pops of colors here and there, which contrast beautifully against bright blue skies, shades of evergreen trees, and jagged peaks. And in the east, parks just show off. It’s nature’s firework show and a finale to the long hot summer.”

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To help you choose the location that serves up nature’s best scenes, we asked Gyselman and a few other experts their go-to spots for the season. Book a trip, plan your activity of choice, and enjoy the colorful display.