New England leaf peeping is probably at its finest in Vermont, where wilderness covers 75 percent of the land. Surrounded by more maple trees than anywhere else in the region, you'll find the brightest of yellows, oranges, and reds on nearly every highway and country road.
It's hard to beat the warm days and cool nights of fall. Add the vibrant colors of the changing leaves and it's easy to understand why so many people love fall.
The team at EyKuver put together a 2 part series of some of our favorite places to view fall's splendor. We are starting with the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains, Part 2 will cover the Mid-West and New England so stay tuned!
Pinpointing the exact dates the leaves are expected to change in the Pacific Northwest can be tricky due to ever changing weather; however, you can generally expect to see Fall colors -- bright yellows, reds, and oranges -- from mid-September until mid-October.
Here are a few of our favorite places to experience the beauty this time of year:
Oregon: Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River, which begins in British Columbia, carves through eastern Washington and eventually forms a boundary between Washington and Oregon before reaching the Pacific. The entire 1200-mile trip is stunning, but if you're short on time and focused on foliage, hit Oregon Highway 84 from Troutdale to just west of Umatilla. Take in the ambers, reds, and yellows from one of the numerous pull outs along the drive or immerse yourself in Fall color via horseback or from the water.
Oregon: Washington Park
Grab a cup of coffee and take a relaxing stroll to soak in the colors of Portland’s 400-acre Washington Park. The Hoyt Arboretum alone is home to more than 2,000 plant and tree varieties—among them, a Japanese Larch that turns golden before dropping its needles, and Siberian Dogwoods that turn fire-engine red. The park’s Portland Japanese Garden is regarded as one of the nation's best, with 12 acres of blazing fall color, plus meandering streams, beautiful walkways and views of Mount Hood.
Washington: Bloedel Reserve
From Seattle, hop a ferry and head over to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island for a Fall experience like no other. The 150-acre forest garden boasts pops of color under a lush canopy of Japanese maples that steal the show every Fall. Mid-October is the best time to see a brilliant display with leaves turning multiple shades of yellows, red, and purples.
Washington: Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden is the ultimate urban oasis: a flora-filled retreat in South Seattle complete with Koi ponds, bridges, trails, and Japanese maples, the most dramatic contributors to Fall foliage. Admission is free and mid-to-late October is the ideal time to visit.
Idaho: Sawtooth Scenic Byway
The 116-mile Sawtooth Scenic Byway through the Rocky Mountains is the perfect road trip for foliage fans. The entire stretch is breathtaking, but some of the showstoppers include the changing aspens and cottonwoods near Sun Valley Resort and the alpine meadows at the heart of the Sawtooth National Forest. On the other side of the forest in Boise (nicknamed the “City of Trees” for a reason), the oaks, maples, and ash serve up more autumnal awesomeness.
Fall is one of the most magnificent times of year in the Centennial State when Colorado becomes transformed into a palette of yellows and oranges, with little pops of red. The state’s shining star, the golden aspens, take center stage and attract leaf-peepers from far and wide.
Fall in Colorado is truly magical and here are the best areas to experience her splendor:
Kebler Pass – A favorite amongst photographers, Kebler Pass near Crested Butte, is a popular mountain pass that boasts the largest aspen grove in the U.S. Feel as though you are covered in gold as you drive through the towering aspens along the 33-mile unpaved road.
Kenosha Pass – Northeast of Fairplay, Kenosha Pass intersects a section of the Colorado Trail and provides one of the best places to see fall colors in Colorado. The moderate trail guides hikers amongst shades of yellow aspens before delivering them to the overlook of South Park Valley.
San Juan Skyway – Drive the 236-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains for some spectacular fall colors. The crown jewel of this route is the 70-mile section known as the Million Dollar Highway. Even if road trips aren’t your thing, you won’t be sorry you made this one!
Telluride – Resting within a box canyon, Telluride is surrounded by colors that come every fall that can be seen from almost anywhere in town. But the best way to view the change of seasons is via the Gondola ride to the ski resort.
Boreas Pass – Connecting the towns of Breckenridge and Como, Boreas Pass is known for its historic landmarks and the aspen groves that hug the winding road, creating a beautiful tunnel of yellow, orange, and red.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Along the Front Range, near Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is filled with golden aspens, mountain meadows, and panoramic views of snow-capped mountain peaks, which are all easily accessed via the park’s trail system.
We hope you enjoyed our bucket list of locations in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains to visit in the fall. Stay tuned for our Fall Color Guide Part 2 covering the Mid-West and New England.
Don't forget to carry EyKuver eyeglass film in your car, wallet, backpack, and purse so you always have the best view!
Camping is the foundation for affordable summer travel. Photo: Scott Goodwill
If you’re like most people, you are eager to escape and relax this summer. It’s been a long 18 months and we are all excited to travel again but with busy airports, soaring gas prices, inflated rental car and hotel rates, it is challenging to plan a budget-friendly vacation. That’s why we’ve put together a two-part travel series with our top picks for road trips, national parks and monuments, outdoor adventures and camping options that won’t break the bank!
Even with gas prices higher than they’ve been in over 7 years, a road trip can still be your best bet for a budget-friendly vacation this summer. If you combine it with camping, hiking, tubing and other low-cost activities, you can still plan an economical and adventurous getaway.
Camping is the foundation for affordable rest and relaxation. Work camping into your travel plans and watch the dollars fly back into your pocketbook. Invest in quality gear that lasts like a tent from The North Face, a sleeping bag from Big Agnes, or backpack from MYSTERY RANCH. These quality outdoor products last a lifetime, in some cases, and are well worth the investment, especially when you add up all the savings you'll gain from less hotel stays.
With over 245 million acres to choose from, you can safely pitch your tent almost anywhere on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with as little, or as much, human interaction as you desire. Before you leave, check in with the local BLM office to make sure that the area is open and ask if there is a fire ban in place.
If you like a few amenities when you camp, check out a KOA site where you can tent camp for as low as $24 a night (it’s more for an RV spot) but still have access to bathrooms, showers, and WiFi as well as kids’ activities and a swimming pool. Sure, you’ll pay a little more to stay at one of these private campsites, but you also get running water and flushing toilets.
NATIONAL PARKS & MONUMENTS
Custer State Park
If ever there was a state park worthy of national park status, it would be Custer State Park in South Dakota. The hiking easily ranks among the best in the region and the stunning, 1-mile long, and boulder-filled trail around Lake Sylvan should not be missed. Just East of the lake is a great hike called Poet’s Table that offers great views of the surrounding Black Hills. After your hike you can relax by the lake with a picnic or rent paddle boards (for as low as $14) to explore the area from the water. More of the park's charms show themselves during a drive along the tunnel-filled Needles Highway. A one week pass to Custer State Park is just $20 per vehicle and an annual pass can be purchased for $30.
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota is Mount Rushmore, is the iconic sculpture of four American presidents - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt - each face standing over 60 feet high. The artist, Gutzon Borglum, started the sculpture in 1927 and completed it in 1941 to the tune of $989,992.32. And, for a measly $10 entry fee per car, you can’t afford not to check this National Monument off your bucket list. Stop by the Wine Cellar in Rapid City to refuel. This local, artisanal restaurant is nestled in the newly restored 6th street district in the heart of downtown and serves seasonal and delicious small-plates, hand-crafted pizzas and more.
Grand Canyon | Photo: Jennifer Rogalla
It doesn't get more affordable than camping, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona is a unique place to rough it. You'll have to contend with crowds along the South Rim which sees 90% of the visitors, but the photo possibilities will be well worth it. Some campsites start at just $18 per night during the warmer months, while the park entrance fee for vehicles is $35 and lasts seven days. Pack your own food to save even more. If you're not interested in camping, check out one of the affordable hotels in Grand Canyon Village near the South Rim.
Roaming buffaloes, majestic mountains, and breathtaking geysers populate Yellowstone's more than 2,220,000 acres of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho wilderness. Travelers searching for an affordable vacation that doesn't skimp on memorable moments will likely appreciate several cost-effective aspects of this national park. Entrance fees cost $35 per vehicle or $20 per person on foot for seven days, while campsites start at $20 per night. Once you've settled in, explore the park's incredible hiking trails, which wind from colorful thermal basins and geysers to large lakes.
Glacier National Park | Photo: Daniel Crowley
Glacier National Park
Head to this national park in northwest Montana for stunning photo-ops on a budget. Summer is a great time to visit since conditions are ideal for driving Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the most scenic drives in the country. With the park's $35 per vehicle entry fee (which covers access for seven days), visitors can also hike Grinnell Glacier, swim in Lake McDonald and learn about the area's flora and fauna at the Apgar Nature Center. Camping in the park is cheap, too – rates range from $10 to $23 per night so dust off your tent, pack your backpack, and make a reservation.
Moab is unique in that it borders two of the state's national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. Arches National Park, to the north, is where visitors can marvel at precarious looking sandstone monuments like the famous Delicate Arch. Canyonlands National Park, which sits southwest of town, offers stunning views of Utah's expansive desert landscapes. In and around Moab, travelers will find an array of affordable accommodations, ranging from campgrounds to motels to vacation rentals. All of this makes Moab a budget-friendly destination for adventurous nature lovers.
Reminder that UV protection is a must during summer travel and we can't imagine traveling without EyKuver. Get yours today!
Hey roadies and van-lifers. Tune in next week for valuable road trip intel with a focus on our backyard, the Western U.S.