Nothing marks the end of the summer quite as beautifully as the leaves changing color! But where are the best places to view fall foliage, and when is the best time to go? From national parks to scenic train rides, there are accessible opportunities all over the country to catch fall scenery at its peak.
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is located about 75 miles from Washington, D.C. and is best known for its colorful fall foliage. The park is over 100 miles long with varying elevation ranges but their “fully accessible” Limberlost Trail and select accessible campsites make it a great location to take in the view.
Can’t make it to Virginia? Take a look at the park’s Mountain View webcam and track fall’s progression from the comfort of your home.
Georgetown Loop Railroad in Colorado
You can get a unique look at autumn’s arrival by riding on Colorado’s historic Georgetown Loop Railroad, constructed in 1884. The Fall Colors and Autumnfest excursions that run in September and October allow riders to relax and take in the view of the Rocky Mountains. According to their website, the train’s coach and enclosed parlor cars are wheelchair accessible, though you are asked to call ahead when ordering your tickets to ensure seating is available.
Tunnel of Trees in Michigan
Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees on M-119 offers the ultimate scenic route. The highway runs along Lake Michigan but as the name suggest, this 20 mile stretch of highway surrounds you with tall trees lining the edge of the road, enveloping you in a tunnel of warm fall colors. With shops and sightseeing along the way, this destination provides a way to take in fall foliage at your leisure.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee
According to the National Park Service, the autumn leaf season at Great Smoky Mountains National Park can last several weeks as the colors travel down the mountain sides’ high elevation. Park officials say the colors typically reach their peak in the mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November.
The accessible Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is paved, spanning one-half mile in length. The park also has a wheelchair accessible camping unit that can be reserved in the Cades Cove, Elkmont, or Smokemont campgrounds through October.
For those who would rather see the sites from the comfort of their vehicle, you can also find self-guided auto tour booklets at the visitor centers.
Caddo Lake State Park in Texas
While Texas may not be one of the first states that come to mind when you think of crisp autumn foliage, rest assured that you can still enjoy the colors even in the southwest. Caddo Lake State Park is comprised of bald cypress trees that tower over a collection of waterways that make up the lake. The area typically reaches peak foliage in mid to late November, when the green in the cypress trees transition to orange.
The park features select accessible cabins with cement pathways, a lowered kitchen counter, as well as an accessible bathroom. There is also a wheelchair accessible fishing pier on site.
When Is the Best Time to See Fall Colors in Your Area?
Even the experts can’t predict the exact time fall foliage will peak in a given location but the Smoky Mountains’ 2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map can help you get a general sense of the progression. Click the map below and use the slider tool to see when your area is expected to reach its peak.
Whether you decide to take a day trip in your home state or venture cross-country to get your fill of fall’s beauty, a rental from MobilityWorks can help you get there safely and comfortably. We offer both short and long-term reservations, and you can even book online! Give us a call at 877-275-4915 for more details.
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