As summer draws to a close and the heat begins to subside, it’s time to start looking forward to the natural beauty of fall. Cool nights by the fire, hot beverages, and football are just a few of the ubiquitous features of fall, but arguably the most beautiful are the changing leaves.
There are countless places throughout our nation where the color of the changing leaves has awed and inspired both those who live among them and those who travel to see Mother Nature’s colorful brushstrokes across breathtaking landscapes. At Wheelchair Getaways, we’re here to ensure that our customers and their families have premium access to the spectacle of turning foliage. Check out our top picks for U.S. destinations to enjoy the fall leaves and plan your visit in one of our easy-to-use wheelchair-accessible rental vans.
Shenandoah National Park
One of the premier places to see the changing leaves in the upper south is Shenandoah National Park. Nestled in Virginia, this massive park is over one hundred miles long and contains over 200,000 acres of protected land. The park is located within easy driving distance of five major East Coast cities, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.
Since 1996 numerous resources have been used to create the fully accessible Limberlost Trail that showcases the changing leaves and passes some of the fascinating geological features of the park. The trail loops back around to its starting point and is made up of primarily crushed greenstone pavement for easy wheelchair access. In addition, all of the campsites in the park are accessible, and many of the guided ranger tours are as well. Keep in mind that higher elevations see changing leaves in early October, while the lower elevations tend to see their leaves turn later in the month.
Vermont is widely accepted as the premier state for leaf peeping, and the town of Stowe is considered “Fall’s Color Capital” because of the wide variety of colors and endless landscape of changing trees. That said, we can confidently vouch that almost any location in Vermont is going to be beautiful in the fall.
There are a number of destinations and activities to enjoy during autumn in Vermont, from traversing historic covered bridges and visiting pick-your-own orchards to exploring eclectic towns with beautiful downtown centers. To get the best out of fall in Vermont, remember that the leaves typically hit their color crescendo in the last week of September and the first week of October. One of the best ways to see the colorful foliage is by taking one of the many scenic drives Vermont has to offer and is a great accessible activity to include on your itinerary.
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Taos, New Mexico
The perfect vacation for Southwestern leaf peepers, Taos, and the surrounding areas are a wonderland of interesting foliage and beautiful deserts. The weather in Taos is beautiful in the fall, with moistly clear days topping out with temps in the mid-seventies. The Enchanted Circle Driving Tour is an ideal way to enjoy the fall foliage and one of the premiere scenic drives in the areas surrounding Taos.
The Enchanted Circle, which reaches over 13,000 feet above sea level, has attractions along the way, such as ancient geological formations, a fish hatchery, old western-style towns, and a ski resort. If you want to get out in nature and rough it a bit, Wild Rivers Campground is fully wheelchair-accessible, and there are miles of nearby hard-packed trails offering easy hikes to beautiful views. The leaves are the most beautiful in the first couple weeks of October in the high desert but can be enjoyed later into the month as well.
This Midwestern city is home to some of the best views of changing foliage in the country. In addition, the city features many Great Lakes-adjacent breweries, shops, museums, and more. Just 30 minutes outside Marquette is the wheelchair-accessible Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook, which surveys miles of forest and the shores of Lake Superior. Considered one of the most beautiful views in Upper Michigan, it is easily accessible via a 1-mile, round-trip hard-packed trail. Be advised that while the trail is generally excellent for electric wheelchairs, it does get a bit steep at times.
Another easy way to view the change of seasons is to simply take a drive down Country Roads 510 or 550. These drives feature spectacular tunnels of leaves as well as great restaurants and breweries along the way. The best time for leaf peeping in Upper Michigan is generally the first two or three weeks of October, so be sure to plan your trip soon!
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Located along Interstate 84 and designed for scenic tourism, this is one of the best spots for those in the Pacific Northwest to take in the foliage. In addition to the fall leaves, the views of the majestic Columbia River Gorge are unparalleled. Waterfalls are visible all along the drive, right from the comfort of your car.
One of the most beautiful of these is Multnomah Falls. This massive waterfall is a perfect backdrop for the colorful foliage of fall in the Pacific Northwest. Multnomah Falls also offers accessible restrooms as well as handicapped parking. There is an easy, low-grade trail to get to the lower viewing area, and the lodge has an elevator to access the upper viewing area, as well as an excellent restaurant and a gift shop. The peak leaf season in Oregon is typically mid-October, so plan accordingly.
Plan an Accessible Fall Adventure
Wheelchair Getaways has over 200 locations throughout the United States. Each of our locations offers fully equipped wheelchair vans that are the perfect way to enjoy scenic rids and the changing leaves of fall. Enjoy a season filled with color and fun by renting one of our wheelchair-accessible vans for your next road trip.