Autumn is the favorite season for many landscape and nature photographers, and for good reason. The beautiful colors of fall foliage can help to make your photos truly remarkable and memorable.
There are countless destinations that are perfect for fall photography, and this article showcases ten that are worthy of being mentioned (in no particular order). Feel free to leave a comment and tell us about your favorite locations for capturing autumn photos.
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1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Smoky Mountains are beautiful in any season, but perhaps they are at their best in the fall. The combination of fall colors, mountains, streams/rivers, and waterfalls make this an ideal location to capture amazing fall photos.
October is a very busy time of year in the Smoky Mountains, so plan ahead and know where you want to be. The Roaring Fork Motor Tour and Cade’s Cove, both located within the national park, are excellent choices. For detailed information see Photography Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is known for being home to beautiful nature and wildlife, and in the fall it is a great place to capture stunning views and photos.
Skyline Drive, the only public road through the park, is just over 100 miles long and runs north and south at the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along Skyline Drive there are 75 different overlooks, so there is no shortage of places to capture shots in all directions.
3. New York
The state of New York has several different areas and locations that are worthy of being mentioned here, so I decided to combine them into one item.
Some of the most noteworthy areas in New York: the Adironacks (including Lake Placid), the Catskills in the southeastern part of the state, and the Finger Lakes region (Watkins Glen State Park, Taughannock State Park, and Letchworth State Park) in central New York.
Where better to see fall foliage than a town named after a tree? Aspen is well known for great skiing (as well as for being a place where the beer flows like wine), but it’s equally awesome for beautiful autumn scenery. The Maroon Bells located near Aspen are a popular subject for autumn mountain photos.
5. Green Mountains, Vermont
The Green Mountains in Vermont (the same range that is known as The Berkshires in Massachusetts) is one of the best places to catch amazing autumn scenery. Hiking and skiing are also popular activities in this area. The photo below shows the view from Hogback Mountain.
6. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula borders three of the great lakes and is an excellent choice for a secluded fall destination. This is a rather large area with loads of different places to see and photograph. There are several different suggested routes that you can follow (see this list and this list) for your own photographic treks.
7. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge, and especially Multnomah Falls, is a popular spot for photography, and fall colors only make the scenery even more beautiful. The river forms the boundary between Washington and Oregon and there are plenty of great photo opportunities with the 80 mile long gorge. See this list or recommend hikes for autumn foliage.
8. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is located in Montana along the Canadian border. Its 1,000,000+ acres provide unlimited potential for beautiful fall mountain photos. Their are several different fall color tours that you can follow (see this guide). Although the park is open, many of the parks services and concessions close by late September. You can see learn more about visiting the park in the fall at this page.
9. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is located on the coast of Maine, mostly on Mount Desert Island. The park includes the highest point on the east cost, Cadillac Mountain, amazing coastal scenery, and beautiful fall foliage. One of the best options is the 27-mile-long Park Loop Road, which will give you views of both the mountains and the coast.
10. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg was the site of an influential battle in the American Civil War, and the small town includes a National Military Park, farmland, and open fields that make it an ideal spot for fall photography. The tree-lined Confederate Avenue and tree-covered Little Round Top are among the best spots for capturing the fall foliage. For details see the Guide to Photographing Gettysburg, PA.
Photo by Marc Andre
11. Whatever is Near You!
While there are plenty of well-known and popular destinations for fall photography, opportunities are just about everywhere. Taking a trip to any one of these locations can be a great experience, but if that isn’t possible you can simply find an area closer to home and create your own fall photos.