Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The Manual’s 2014 Guide to Fall Foliage Drives

2014 fall foliage drives drive
OldSpice_TM_Presented_By_blackKeep those windows opened and rooftops down—summer’s green may be gone, but the afterglow is just as great. There’s feast of color that flourishes on foliage this time of year. Dazzling drives abound from coast to coast, but which are the most interesting? Those on this, of course! They afford views of iconic mountain tops, lead back in time, past waterfalls and near some world-class hiking, and all come with roadside attractions that do more than make these fun rides. So grab a sweater, switch on your GPS and let’s see where the road can take you this fall.

Pine Creek Gorge

1—Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania
Roads: PA 414 to 44
Time to go: Sept 26-Oct 18
Pennsylvania Fall Foliage Hotline: 1-800-VISIT-PA

Related Videos

Billed as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, these small, slow going roads are empty of through traffic peak out over hills and offer sweeping views of Tioga State Forest’s rusty reds, golden yellows and earthy amber oranges. Go from east to west rim and stop along the look outs.

Tip: Get out of the car at Wellsboro Junction and try the 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail, a 2% grade bike trail regarded to be one of the most scenic in the country.

Black River Road Credit Flickr User Joseph O'Brien

2—Ottawa National Forest, Michigan
Road: CR 513, Black River Road
Time to go: September 15-October 7
Michigan Fall Foliage Hotline: 1-888-784-7328

In the part of Michigan attached to Wisconsin, try not to blaze through the 14 miles of unadulterated crimson and orange speckled with beautiful waterfalls so you can soak it all in.

Tip: Take a pit-stop to hike the half-mile to Rainbow falls, the most photogenic of them all.

Autumn at Tipsoo Lake

3—Mount Rainer National Park, Washington
Roads: SR 410, Chinook Pass
Time to go: September 15-October 15
Washington Fall Foliage Hotline: 1-800-354-4595

Snake along roads of vermillion and flaxen foliage of Aspen and Maple trees, among open meadows, with Mount Rainer in the background.

Tip: Tipsoo Lake has a mirrored surface that often times reflects Mount Rainier, and makes the best photo op. Naches Peak loop is also a great three-mile stretch for your legs.

The Knac New Hampshire Credit Flickr User Tony Hisgett

4—White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Roads: NH 112, Kancamagus Scenic Byway
Time to go: September 10-October 1
New Hampshire Fall Foliage Hotline: 1-800-258-3608

This 34.5-mile stretch of blacktop that bends through the north of New Hampshire is so loved that locals refer to it simply as “The Kanc”. Between the scenic stops and waterfalls, maples, beech, and birch trees beam with brilliant hues of maroon and golds.

Tip: There’s no gas station on this road, so fill’er up. Also, make a pit stop at Loon Mountain Ski Resort for a cool bike tour and history buffs will appreciate Russell-Colbath Homestead, a restored 19th century farmhouse.

Marys Rock tunnel on Skyline Drive.

5—Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Roads: US 340, US 211, US33, US 250, Skyline Drive
Time to go: October 10-November 1
Virginia Fall Foliage Hotline: 1-800-424-LOVE

Hickories, oaks and maples unfurl in a forest of bronze, magenta, russet and gold along this 105-mile joyride through the Blue Ridge Mountains that has no speed limit over 35mph.

Tip: You’re driving parallel to the Appalachian trail, so get out and tag it. We suggest stopping near Big Meadows to see the 70-foot tall Dark Hollow Waterfalls or if you’re up for it, the steep 3,300-feet incline hike to the top Bearfence Mountain with spectacular 360 degree views. Otherwise, keep an eye out for Mary’s Rock Tunnel bored 670 feet through a granite rock right in the middle of the road.

Photo Credit: Pine Creek Gorge Credit Flickr User Nicholas A. Tonelli, Black River Road Credit Flickr User Joseph O’Brien, The Knac New Hampshire Credit Flickr User Tony Hisgett, Skyline Drive Credit Flickr User Daveynin, Chinook Pass Credit Flickr User JD Hascup

Editors' Recommendations

Jackson Hole Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More
A rustic wood barn sits beneath a panorama of the Grand Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Ever wonder what “purple mountain majesties” looks like in real life? Well, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you can see what writer Katharine Lee Bates was singing about.

Situated as the gateway to soaring Grand Teton National Park and untamed Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming boasts access to some of North America’s most awesome natural beauty. This is a place where the American West achieves its definition with bison wandering endless prairies, bighorn sheep dancing along craggy cliffs, and bald eagles coasting over mile after mile of hiking trails, rivers, and lakes.

Read more
Wyoming Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More
A Wyoming landscape, mountain lake and rocks leading up to jagged mountains with the sun setting behind them.

Spring is here and right around the corner, summer. It’s time to get vacation planning in gear.

As the great American continent spreads out before you, there are a thousand and one options from coast to coast. There’s one place, though, that offers all the excitement an adventure road trip requires — Wyoming. Hike through sprawling hills, mountains and lakes that lead into and through national parks, fresh, filling food and brew, and distinct events found in few other places in the United States.

Read more
Stowe Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More
Church in Stowe, Vermont

Spread in the shadow of Vermont’s highest peak, 4,395-foot Mount Mansfield, Stowe has a well-deserved reputation as a winter sports destination. Founded in 1794, the historic hamlet cradled by the Green Mountains emerged as a hub for downhill and cross-country skiers beginning in the 1930s -- and is home to the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. But, there’s much more than just skiing. The town is an alluring year-round destination, a portal to the Green Mountains with a bustling après adventure scene, and a wide array of accommodation options.

Related Guides

Read more