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Fall Colors Make For A Great Road Trip
Autumn, when people travel to the Northeast and Northwest to view colorful fall foliage areas of the United States, peaks around Columbus Day weekend (October 5-8). In many areas, this year's foliage is in looks to be better and more vibrant than last year. After a dry, hot summer trees will begin to turn color in the next few weeks.
"Hardwood foliage appears to be in better-than-average condition, overall," says Bill Ostrofsky, a forest pathologist at the Maine Forest Service on Maine Foliage, the state of Maine's official fall foliage website. "There have been no occurrences of serious or widespread insect defoliation, so to date the Maine forest has the potential to have a great season this year."
If a road trip, tour or cruise for fall foliage season or just a nice hike in the woods is in your plans, here are some places not to miss.
Hiking trails at Maine's Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle provides popular foliage viewing from Quaggy Joe Mountain, a moderate climb perfect for a beginner or family hike.
Camden Hills State Park provides spectacular views of fall foliage available from a road that goes to the top of Mt. Battie, as well as from hiking trails on Mt. Megunticook and Bald Rock Mountain.
Grafton Notch State Park, in Maine's western viewing area, has roadside turnouts, picnic areas and trails that offer excellent views of the Mahoosuc Mountains and the Presidential Range. Trails lead to popular lookouts, such as the Eyebrow and Table Rock, and trails and lookouts on the Bureau of Parks and Lands' Mahoosuc Management Unit.
Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth), also in Connecticut, offers Indian caves, wooded trails and jagged rocky ledges fill the park. Oak, beech and hickory trees bring out the best colors of fall and are the perfect setting for a peaceful picnic.
Dinosaur State Park (Rocky Hill) is a good choice for some family action. Kids will love hiking along the wooded trails of the park and seeing Jurassic-period dinosaur tracks that date back 200 years.
Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown) offers reddish-brown rocks tinged with green that amplify the fall colors in this hideaway tucked between Middletown and Middlefield. Travelers can enjoy a hike through wooded trails with meandering streams, a covered bridge and waterfalls.
In the Northwest U.S., the state of Washington suggests the Washington Park Arboretum, Mount Baker and Mount Rainier as good choices for fall color. They have a toll-free hotline for more information (1-800-354-4595).
Flickr photo by ra_hurd