2013 Fall Foliage Travel Guide

Don’t miss out on America’s grand costume change this fall. Leaf peeping opportunities abound as trees transform into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, yellows and purples all over the country. There are many ways to enjoy the season — you can take an autumn road trip, go on a colorful hike or savor local foods and drinks against a spectacular backdrop.

See the full Fall Foliage Travel Guide on AOL Travel>>

And if you’re curious about what exactly makes the leaves change, the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau has a cool 3D site about fall foliage.

Photo Of The Day: Autumn Leaves In West Virginia

Autumn leaves are especially beautiful when contrasted against a crisp, blue sky, but there’s something equally stunning when you see the brightly colored leaves of fall paired with a dark, brooding, stormy sky. Photographer Ben Britz explores the aesthetics of the latter in this photo, which he shot in an unassuming shopping mall parking lot in Morgantown, West Virginia, last month. As both evening and a strong storm were rolling in, this tree’s leaves glowed with a little help from the monstrous parking lot lights. Do you have photos of this year’s fall foliage that you’d like to submit for Photo Of The Day? If so, go ahead and upload them to the Gadling Flickr Pool and we’ll take a look.

[Photo Credit: Ben Britz]

Exploring Zion National Park In Autumn

As summer nears its end and fall is just upon the horizon, travelers are beginning to think about where to go to check out vibrant autumn foliage. One recommendation I have is to visit Utah’s oldest national park, Zion.

The end of September is usually when the temperature begins to drop to a more bearable number in the 70s. Luckily, it’s also when the flowers turn a rainbow of colors and the already beautiful park is enhanced with bright hues of purple, red, green, orange, yellow, blue and pink. If you want the best views of changing shades, hike to the higher areas where the colors tend to change first. It’ll also reward you with a more encompassing view of the park. Think about starting in Springdale, skipping the highway, and taking the SR 9 to Virgin, then up to Kolob Terrace Road, viewing every layer of the mountains, canyons, forests and rivers until you reach over 7,500 feet.

For a visual idea of autumn in Zion, check out the gallery below.


[Images via Shutterstock]

Photo Of The Day: Fall Fair In Basel

This year, we at Gadling have made a pledge to ban a certain phrase from our posts, one that refers to a particular activity that happens (often in New England) around October, when tourists drive around to photograph trees. Still, it’s hard to resist a good autumnal photo of flora. Today’s Photo of the Day does a great job of capturing the mood of the season without a single bit of foliage in sight. Taken by Flickr user Jason Rodman (his second POTD this week, nice!) in Basel, Switzerland, the image depicts a much-loved activity of the yearly fall fair. The people flying above him along with the flags even remind us of the annual shedding of organic material. Who’s ready for a hot gluhwein? This year’s Herbstmesse takes place October 27-November 12.

Send us your favorite seasonal travel photos for another Photo of the Day. Add them to the Gadling Flickr pool and be sure that we can download!

5 Laid-Back Ways To Indulge Your Love Of Fall Foliage

Last week, Chris shared with us some great places to visit on a fall foliage road trip. While we love the idea of driving over hill and dale to find some fabulous fall color, we can’t help but be frustrated by the fact that it’s very hard to watch and drive at the same time. And, as much as we’d like to, we can’t always claim shotgun.

So, if leaf lusting is on your fall itinerary, here are five other fun ways to explore the fall’s most vibrant natural phenomenon – no concentration on the road required.

Gondola’s Aren’t Just for Venice and the Ski Slope.
Many of the west’s most famous ski areas offer their gondolas for use during the off-season, making mountainsides accessible to photo-taking tourists and hikers alike. Try a gondola ride in scenic Telluride while sailing through the trees – for free. The first and only free public transportation of its kind in the U.S., this gondola connect riders between Telluride and Mountain Village, giving passengers an ever-changing view of the crimson and golden leaves along the way. A one-way ride takes approximately 12 minutes, and you can even hop out and hike along the top of the mountain if you desire. The town of Telluride lies in a box canyon, surrounded on all three sides by 14,000-foot peaks, making it an ideal spot to take in Colorado’s natural beauty before the first snows fall.

Hot Air Balloon
A hot air balloon trip has long been on our bucket list (of course, we’ll have to take a Xanex first to get over our fear of heights) and why not combine the beauty of the balloon with a little leaf gazing action? Try this in Winter Park and Fraser Valley. At the highest altitude, passengers will see towering peaks from five to seven counties, including Rocky Mountain National Park. Grand Adventure Balloon Tours is offering 10 percent off all fall bookings, which include a three-hour ride, continental breakfast and champagne toast.

We lied a little bit above in regards to laid-back activities; standing knee-deep in freezing cold rushing water probably requires some concentration. But imagine the opportunities for both fish and foliage. One preferred location is the Roaring Fork Valley, home to some of the finest rivers for trout fishing, especially from mid-September to mid-October. Rainbow and brown trout are plentiful that time of year, and are as pretty as the fall foliage.

Historic Train.
Travel through scenic San Juan Mountains aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historical steam powered railroad founded in 1880 to serve the booming mining industry. Between Durango and the historic mining town of Silverton, this locomotive allows passengers to experience color-drenched aspens that line the free-flowing Animas River. The town offers shopping, restaurants and galleries, while active types can enjoy rafting trips, mountain biking, or horseback riding. You can even enjoy a guided gold mine tour.

Horseback Riding.
Giddy up, partner. Settle into a saddle on a Wrangler-led horseback ride in Steamboat Springs – a truly authentic Western town in Colorado – to experience the fall frontier just like the cowboys. Amble through the Routt National Forest along timeless American West trails popping with vibrant golden, red and orange leaves.

Have any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.

[Flickr via USFWS Mountain Prairie]