National Park Foundation: 4 Unique Ways To Leaf Peep

The following blog is an excerpt from 4 Unique Ways To Leaf Peep by the National Park Foundation.

When autumn is fast approaching, national parks from coast to coast offer some of America’s most extraordinary fall colors. 

For many people, leaf-peeping activities are limited to taking a drive to a scenic overlook – and that’s just fine, but if you want to experience the autumn colors in a new way this season, these four parks each offer their own unique view.

Whitewater Rafting


National Park Foundation Leaf Peep NEW RIVER GORGE
New River Gorge National River (NPS photo)

Whitewater enthusiasts may recognize West Virginia’s New River as one of the best rafting rivers in the nation. New River Gorge National River preserves 53 miles of free-flowing water surrounded by the lushly forested ridges of the Alleghenies, and while summer is the peak season for river trips, fall offers a unique opportunity to roar through the gorge surrounded by fiery hues of red, yellow, and orange. 

The upper (southern) part of the river is best for beginners, offering placid sections and a few relatively easy rapids, ranging from Class I to III. Advanced rafters can find a challenge in the lower (northern) section, which boasts colossal rapids up to Class V. Run the river on your own, or go with the assistance of a licensed guide. 

Horseback Riding


National Park Foundation Leaf Peep GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
Colorful fall leaves at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NPS Photo)

The vast mountain landscape of Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies across the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, where the relatively chilly mountain climate creates an autumn display that you could easily mistake for New England’s. During the peak fall foliage period from late October to early November, the park’s sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, and hickory trees are simply stunning.

Continue reading, 4 Unique Ways To Leaf Peep from the National Park Foundation here.

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.