Love It or Leaf It! Our Top 10 Leafy Destinations
That’s not a typo but rather what Fido will be doing as you crunch through autumn’s quilt that blankets our nation’s trees this fall. Not sure if you’re a leaf peeper? Do you love the gorgeous fall foliage and rich hues turning green leaves to goldens, oranges and reds? Then grab the camera, pack some apple cider and a few Fido biscuits and head for less-than-greener pastures, as FIDO Friendly presents the Top 10 Leaf-Peeping destinations.
Washington County Maine
Looking to the trees and wishing to escape the tourists? Head over to Washington County for a tranquil natural fortitude. Regionally, the birch, oak, aspen, maple, and ash trees produce a vibrant array of burnt oranges and fi ery reds. Also famous for being the world’s largest blueberry producer, take home a few quarts and sample the pies and pancakes while visiting. This area is generally the first place the sunrises each morning on US soil. Washington County is comprised of 85 percent woodlands, eight percent lakes and four percent bogs, so one can imagine the bountiful beauty gracing the landscape in the autumn months.
Acadia National Park in Mount Desert Maine
In 1947, a fire destroyed many spruce-fi r trees in this historic park and left behind pockets of space for the rich colors of fall to showcase themselves. Considered to be one of the best views in the state of Maine, the top of Cadillac Mountain at 1,532 feet is the highest point along the north Atlantic seaboard. Fido is welcome to color gaze with you. The “peak” season is generally considered to be mid-October but this varies. Certain lakes and trails prohibit Fido but the majority of Acadia welcomes the canine variety.
Lake Champlain Vermont
Complete with its own seven-day fall foliage calendar, Lake Champlain is one of North America’s best places to fish. Instead of walking or riding through fall foliage, the waters of the lake invite a boat ride amidst historic lighthouses and forests of fall foliage. The Fido-friendly resort of Basin Harbor Club and Resort is located right on the lake. While in Vermont, check out Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury. Situated on this glorious land is 400 acres of nature, leaves and the famous Dog Chapel.
Catskill Mountains New York
Located in New York’s Hudson Valley and within 100 miles north of the city, nestled away is this beautiful mountainous region harboring vibrancy and golds galore. During the last two weeks of September and up until mid-October Fido is sure to “start spreading the news” in this historic region. Harvest festivals, farmers markets, orchard picking and craft fairs line the charming towns that surround the Catskills. Often called “America’s First Wilderness,” there’s enough here to do to make a complete week’s vacation out of it. There is a unique leaf identification and peak peeping map online.
Pocono Mountains Pennsylvania
Known to many as the “honeymoon capital of the world,” Pennsylvania is home to 127 tree varieties, so early fall reveals a glorious blanket of ambers, purples, oranges and more. Pack a picnic and take Fido to the Delaware River area where eagles soar, a rural countryside graces the landscape and sightseeing is at its most spectacular finest. State parks and wineries galore are scattered throughout this section of the state.
Shenandoah Valley Washington DC
Spend some time exploring Washington DC with Fido (including hiking Arlington National Cemetery together) and then head over to the nearby Virginian Shenandoah Valley. Located 90 miles west of the Capital Beltway, Shenandoah National Park features over 500 miles of trails and close to 200,000 acres of land. Take the scenic route and let Fido sniff the aromatic pleasures gracing the grounds along Skyline Drive. This 100+ mile road meanders throughout the length of Shenandoah National Park.
Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina
Spanning 469 miles and connecting the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, this scenic drive is riddled with nature areas, trails and plenty of overlooks to pit-stop and take in nature’s beauty. Explore your inner hiker and take Fido to Grandfather Mountain along the parkway in Linville, North Carolina. Of special interest is Blowing Rock in the town of the same name. A 4,000 foot cliff overhanging a river gorge.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas
Yee haw meets dog paw and Fido’s ready to hit the fall trail. Nature’s spectacle displays her glory at McKittrick Canyon, one of the most prized locations in the entire state. Enchanting in this region are the leaves plus the cacti. Rock enthusiasts rejoice at Permian Reef. Trees of the region include Alligator Juniper, Ponderosa Pine and Velvet Ash. Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in all of Texas at 8,749 feet. For those less inclined to high the 80 miles of trails, a 4×4 road runs through the park for scenic driving.
Though images of ski slopes and powder hounds, Aspen is not only king of snow. Rich yellow-gold leaves glisten on the aspen trees at their peak every fall. The John Denver Sanctuary is small yet rich in beauty and the nature Denver sang about in so many of his songs. Behold the quaking aspen tree of North America while visiting Denver. Listen closely when autumn’s breeze shakes the leaves and they “quake” and shimmer in the wind. Backpack through San Isabel National Forest where over a million acres of mountains are sure to take both yours and Fido’s breath away.
Great River Road Wisconsin
Located in the western region of the state, this area winds 250 miles along the shores of the Mississippi river. Quaint towns pepper themselves along the route for plenty of sightseeing, leaf peeping and Fido pit stops. Steamboats including the Delta Queen may pass by, as visitors are welcome to 50 local parks and beaches. The road generally parallels the river but where it does sway from it, vistas and spectacular farmlands are abundant. Learn more.
Illustration Corey Olin
Photography courtesy istock/Elena Thewise