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And the best fall foliage is... all around you!
Some of our reader picks were:
- New Hampshire's White Mountains -- New England is certainly renowned for its fall colors, and Gadling readers agree. The hikes in this area are spectacular any time of year, but climb a mountain in the fall and you'll be treated to leafy fireworks in the valleys below you. For vacation information in New Hampshire, try this website.
- Reader Marilyn casts her vote for Connecticut -- Staying in New England for now, Connecticut also boasts a beautiful fall. This is also a great place to visit if you love to check out old architecture. Being here can feel like walking through the pages of a history book.
- Don't discount the south! Several readers backed me up when I said Virginia has some of the best leaves around. The best hiking and views are in and around the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but a couple of Gadlingites suggest the view from Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Monticello, and I have to agree... Even though my heart belongs to the Hokies, no one can argue against the beauty of the University of Virginia grounds, of which you'll get a lovely view from Jefferson's home.
- Going still farther south, reader Dick recommends a visit to Lookout Mountain, offering spectacular views of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. While you're there, go underground to see Ruby Falls, America's deepest cave and largest underground waterfall accessible to the public.
- Northeast Canada received a few votes from our readers. A reader recommends the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton for some of the best leaf peeping.
- Donna recommends a visit to Hiram, Ohio for the best leaves. She says she's compared it to the south as well as New England, which are no match. Not exactly a bustling metropolis, Hiram could be a wonderful place for a quiet fall getaway.
- Skipping now to the left coast, Gael calls Northeast Washington state "one of the best kept secrets in the U.S." Her highest recommendation is for Pend Oreille County for its scenery and history.
- Certain Oregonians wonder why we East Coasties call our hills "mountains." For real mountains and valleys, and truly spectacular fall colors, they say, nothing beats the Cascades in Oregon. I'll be able to speak to the truth of this soon enough -- I'm spending October in Oregon, and I hope what they've been telling me is true!
- Finally, a dark horse candidate for best fall foliage comes from our own Jamie Rhein, who says the aspen trees in the mountains of New Mexico make for the most gorgeous autumn.
I think the best way to enjoy fall foliage is to hike right through it. My husband is already drawing up hiking routes for us for our time in Bend, Oregon, and also at Mount Hood, and I've never been more excited about a walk. To find a great hike near you or your vacation destination, check out Intelligent Traveler's "Walk Into America" series, featuring a list of reader favorites.