Fall is in full swing in most parts of the country, but you don’t have to travel far to enjoy rich autumn views. There are countless trails offering red, orange and yellow hues so you can pencil in some leaf-peeping along with your regular hikes.
Here are five trails to try, featuring long-lasting foliage:
1. SHELBURNE FARMS
Vermont is known for its trees bursting with color like fireworks, and Shelburne Farms just south of Burlington makes it easy to experience. The National Historic Landmark features 10 miles of trails that loop leisurely through meadows, lake shore and even a seven-acre vegetable garden. Of course, you’ll have excellent views of the Green Mountains, rich with shades of orange and red.
Photo Credit: Nashville.gov
2. SHELBY BOTTOMS GREENWAY
This multi-use trail — with the main trailhead at 1900 Davidson Street — offers several entry points and connects the city’s downtown area with recreation spots, shopping centers and schools. But it also offers unpaved sections and open spaces, along with plenty of trees (which don’t peak until late October) and river views. Hike the main trail for 4.5 miles each way, or peel off onto additional marked trails for 6 more miles.
Photo Credit: Arboretum.wisc.edu
3. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN ARBORETUM
Imagine 20 miles of trails featuring large sprays of red and orange trees, rolling hills … and an occasional lion’s roar. Yep — the UW Arboretum is next to the Henry Vilas Zoo, so you might hear some out-of-the-ordinary animal calls during your run. Bonus: The zoo is free, so take a stroll post-run and visit the animals as part of your cool down. The trails themselves are mostly paved, and you can loop around Lake Wingra, for additional shoreline views.
4. FERN LAKE TRAIL
Estes Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is about a 90-minute drive from Denver and offers stunning views of golden aspen amidst blankets of fir and pine. When the wind blows, the aspen resemble amber-hued waves. The Fern Lake Trail delivers several options for runners and hikers, including an easy 5K trail at its lower portion, if you stop and turn back at The Pool, a scenic, river overlook. If you do the whole thing, you’re in for about 10 miles round trip and some challenging elevation gains, making this trail an ideal option for both hikers and runners.
Photo Credit: botanicgardens.uw.edu
5. WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM
You’ll find all kinds of trees here, including golden larch and ash, and brilliant Japanese maple. There’s also a 3.5-mile loop, with the added bonus of being pet friendly. Leash your dog and buddy up. If you feel like walking, the park features 230 acres of paths and quiet wetlands.