Fly Jet Linx to These Secret Leaf-Peeping Locations
Summer has begun its slow fade to autumn. Crisp morning air and cool evening breezes are more the norm, signaling the changing of the season. If you’re a sucker for all things fall (pumpkin spice, jackets, boots, and cider), then time is of the essence. The sweeping colors of fall cascade around the country at different times, with the northeast and northwest achieving peak color much earlier than the interior portions of the country.
Thanks to some experts at Smokymountains.com, you can explore a map predicting the best time to see nature’s most glamorous landscapes. If you’re planning a trip to see some fall foliage, your timing needs to be impeccable. Using foliage reports and your travel planning assistance from your local Jet Linx team, you can capture the crimson reds, burnt oranges, and glowing yellows that embody the season.
A Note About New England – Fall’s Royal Fortress
New England is unrivaled when it comes to autumnal beauty, and leaf-peeping has become an entire industry in itself. This brings crowds, tour buses, and headaches. Vacancies at hotels and B&B’s fill quickly. There are, however, a few places that offer scenery without the touristy vibe. Towns and hamlets such as Rockport (Massachusetts), Little Compton (Rhode Island), and Grafton (Vermont) are lesser-known locations with charming churches, quaint gazebos, and miles of groomed hiking trails.
For a more unique experience, visit the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm. Based in the town of Fayston, three miles off Route 100 in the northern end of Waitsfield, Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm offers half-day, full-day, and overnight rides. The pony-sized horses are great for children, and their slow pace will allow full exposure to the foliage-saturated woods of Mad River Valley.
If you’re heading to New England, make sure you go early, as fall colors peak in late September and early October. Contact your local Jet Linx team to craft an itinerary! Our fleet of private jets can land in many regional and local airports that other operators can’t reach.
September 28 – Aspen, Colorado
Fall descends early and suddenly upon the Rocky Mountains. We would be remiss to not mention Aspen, Colorado as THE place to view foliage in the mountains. The aptly-named town of Aspen will not disappoint, as the aspens explode into a cacophony of gold, wrapping the Rockies in a warm blanket of color before the winter white washes the landscape.
Although there are plenty of beautiful places for foliage in the Rockies – Maroon Bells is world-famous. It’s no wonder this is the most-photographed spot in Colorado, which is a very photogenic state already. While Maroon Bells can see a lot of foot traffic at this time of year, Ashcroft Ghost Town and the nearby town of Marble, Colorado, offer equally pleasant yet more quiet viewing opportunities. Marble is a 56-mile drive from Aspen, but the scenic Highway 133 is well worth the trek.
FLY WITH JET LINX TO ASPEN AIRPORT (KASE)
October 5 – Michigan
The upper peninsula of Michigan is a less-traveled location, and it blooms around the same time as New England. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is an unforgettable spot that is becoming more and more popular by the year. This hard-to-reach area is known for waterfalls, heavily forested areas, and foliage-laden cliffs that jut directly out to Lake Superior. Mackinac Island and the nearby Tunnel of Trees are remarkable, but a little more well known. The state of Michigan rivals New England – so we almost hate to mention this area. Don’t let the secret out…
FLY WITH JET LINX TO CHIPPEWA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT KCIU
October 12 – Washington and Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is known for natural beauty and evergreens, but people are slowly turning to the area for its foliage. Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, and Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon are both great options for those that don’t mind a hike to go alongside fall colors. Many places to view foliage in these areas require a little footwork, but there are also scenic highways that dot the territory, offering more leisurely enjoyment.
If you venture to Mt. Ranier National Park, don’t miss the brilliant colors at Reflection Lakes, Bench and Snow Lakes, and the Grove of Patriarchs. If you want to avoid a hike to view the colors, a drive along the Chinook Pass or the White Pass on Scenic Byway on Highway 12 will provide astonishing vistas.
Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon is also a jackpot. Salmon River, Multnomah, Wahkeena Falls, Oneonta Gorge, and Horsetail Falls will all offer great rewards after a hike. However, the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop offers a 146-mile drive that promises stunning fall colors in the Columbia River Gorge and in the orchards of the Hood River.
FLY WITH JET LINX TO COLUMBIA GORGE REGIONAL AIRPORT (KDLS) OR PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL (KPDX).
October 19 – New Mexico and the Enchanted Circle
The Southwest is oft-forgotten when it comes to leaf-viewing, but the Enchanted Circle, which loops for 83 miles around Taos, is worthy of recognition. The loop is centered around Wheeler Peak, the state’s highest point, and by driving along this byway you will pass through Carson National Forest and scenic mountain towns such as Red River and Eagle’s Nest. Shimmering gold aspen trees dot the landscape, making this a worthwhile adventure in a less-explored state for foliage.
Aside from Taos and the Enchanted Circle, New Mexico has two other hotspots for southwestern foliage. Gila National Forest is a popular destination as a dark sky sanctuary but is known in the fall for the Geronimo National Scenic Byway and the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway. The Santa Fe National Forest is also recommended, and the nearby town of Santa Fe offers authentic charm. Because of the warmer climate, New Mexico also offers a perfect getaway for late-season camping or glamping.
FLY WITH JET LINX TO TAOS REGIONAL AIRPORT (KSKX).
November 2 – Smoky Mountains
Perhaps the most popular option outside of New England, the Smoky Mountains offer some of the most breathtaking fall colors on the planet. While foot traffic can be high, the views are worth the crowds. Gatlinburg is a great place to make a pit stop, as the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is often thought of as the best view in the entire park – especially at peak foliage. This lovely pull-off offers an incredibly picturesque view of downtown Gatlinburg and the national park. During the fall, visitors to the Scenic Overlook will see brilliant red, yellow, and orange leaves cascade down Mount LeConte and other prominent peaks in the Smokies.
If crowds are something you want to avoid, then steer clear of Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road. While hiking is a great way to avoid the crowds, driving along the Foothills Parkway and Blue Ridge Parkway are rites of passage for foliage-lovers. These are gorgeous byways at nearly anytime of year, but the fall colors will make for frequent pull offs to enjoy the views.
FLY WITH JET LINX TO GATLINBURG-PIGEON FORGE AIRPORT (KGKT).
November 9 – Lake of the Ozarks
The Ozark Mountain Region is an underrated setting for fall colors, but several different varieties of trees provide a technicolor canopy that should not be missed. Blackgum, sweetgum, hickory, dogwood, sassafras, maple, sycamore, and oak all combine to form a natural masterpiece of scarlet, orange, yellow, purple, and burgundy. What makes the Ozarks a special place to view foliage is that the region calms down in the fall, and the Lake of the Ozarks offers leisurely leaf-peeping from a luxury watercraft. With 1,150 miles of lakeshore, there is more than enough room for boaters to enjoy the foliage.
If you prefer to get out and stretch your legs, the Ozarks will not let you down. Whitaker’s Point in the Ozark National Forest (near Branson) is often voted as one of the most beautiful spots in the country, if not the world. The hike up to this breathtaking cliff leads past incredible fall foliage and even a waterfall before taking you to one of the most scenic places in Arkansas. The rock juts out from the hillside, offering an unforgettable vista where many photographers and leaf-peepers flock to.
FLY WITH JET LINX TO BRANSON AIRPORT (KBKG).
Remember, peak foliage times change with temperature and elevation, so your plans can quickly change. With a time-sensitive activity such as leaf-viewing, Jet Linx is your perfect partner for a weekend escape. Call your local team to book a fall getaway today!