20 autumn adventures

So-called ‘drip pricing’ can make it difficult to determine the total cost of airline tickets and vacation rentals.
Fair warning: Local wildlife can bring traffic to a standstill on Parks Highway 3 while you're driving through Denali National Park. Then again, that is part of this road's allure.
Slide 1 of 26: Lets face it, not everyone likes summer. There is a large segment of the population out there that loathes the long, hot and humid days of summer. If this sounds like you, you are probably ready to come out of your season long hibernation and enjoy the cool, crisp autumn air. There is no better time than now to take that adventure you’ve been dreaming about since spring ended.
Slide 2 of 26: Autumn hot air balloon adventures
Slide 3 of 26: You can leave summer far behind while you float over the Genesee River as it snakes its way through gorges up to 600 feet high. Not only are the trees beautiful this time of year, but more notable are the views of the waterfalls ranging in height from 70 to 107 feet high.
Slide 4 of 26: If you don’t have the cash on hand or are a little afraid of heights, check out the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. During the last week in October as many as 600 hot air balloons are launched into the cool autumn air. The sight is just as breath-taking watching from the ground as it is from a $400 seat in the air.
Slide 5 of 26: What could be more beautiful than the gold and read leaves reflected in the cold crystal waters of Lake Tahoe? Lake Tahoe Balloons offers morning rides all year long with rare birds-eye views of the peaks of Yosemite and coastal foothills.
Slide 6 of 26: Napa refers to this adventure as a nature walk in the sky. The balloons are launched in the cool autumn morning just as the sun rolls across the valley. If the weather conditions are just right, you will float over a mist that reflects the golden hew of the turning vineyard leaves that lie underneath.
Slide 7 of 26: Fall foliage train trips
Slide 8 of 26: This is an adventure the whole family will enjoy. You can chose a half-day or full-day trip on this scenic line that travels through the Colorado-New Mexico border. The cars are pulled by an historic steam engine to elevations up to 10,000 feet with breathtaking views of the ever-changing colors below.
Slide 9 of 26: This is another great excursion for the kids. Every October they have a Great Pumpkin Patch Express that is themed after Charles M. Schulz’s classic story “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. The train travels to a pumpkin patch where the kids participate in Halloween activities. And kids, or adults, don’t forget to wear your Halloween costumes!
Slide 10 of 26: This trip takes you round-trip from Utica to Thendara, N.Y., through the Adirondack Mountain and the six million acre Adirondack Park. The Adirondack Region boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country, from the last week in September to the last week in October.
Slide 11 of 26: This route runs between Boston and Brunswick, Maine, and is the perfect trip for leaf peepers. Now is the perfect time to book passage on this line because Amtrak attaches its vintage Great Dome Car Sept. 10-23. This car gives views of scenic villages, coastline, marshes, streams and fall-painted landscapes that are unmatched by car travel.
Slide 12 of 26: Colors on the water
Slide 13 of 26: This is a relaxing, slow paced adventure that floats slowly down the Mississippi as golden trees frame its banks. The Belle of Louisville is a historic stern paddle wheel launched in 1914. You can take the two-hour cruise day or night, for a lunch or dinner buffet. During the cool days, spend time on deck watching the trees, sipping a mint julep, or star gaze on a night cruise.
Slide 14 of 26: Far from a calm, sedate Mississippi River paddle wheel, is the white knuckle whitewater rafting on the Dead River in Maine. The 15-mile run has only 8 days of rafting each season from Sept 2 to Oct. 6. The run dates coincide with gorgeous scenery, especially when the leaves turn into vivid reds, oranges and yellows. Make sure to reserve a spot early due to limited runs.
Slide 15 of 26: One of the most popular fall canoeing destinations in the Midwest is the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis. This park comprises the shorelines of Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis. You can paddle your way from Lake Calhoun into Lake of the Isles and have the option of stopping at a cafe for lunch on the bank or listen to an outdoor classical music concert.
Slide 16 of 26: If you’re not fond of traveling with children and want to see some great fall foliage, then now is the time for a New England region cruise. The most popular autumn destinations are along the eastern coast up to Canada. The New England and Canada cruise season is fairly short, starting in mid- to late-September and running through mid-October. So while the kids are in school, take advantage of a quite deck chair to enjoy peak fall colors at their best.
Slide 17 of 26: Best fall biking paths
Slide 18 of 26: This is America’s longest mountain bike route. The 469 mile route starts in Waynesboro, Va., and ends in Cherokee, North Carolina. It connects the Shenandoah National park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Keep in mind biking on the parkway is not for everyone. The byway has mountainous elevations with few flat sections.
Slide 19 of 26: This is the ultimate fall adventure for people of all ages. California’s Big Bear Mountain Resort takes mountain biking to a new level. You can choose biking trails through the woods at different elevations and skill levels, cross-country trails or a gravity-fed bike park. The park also offers classes in basic mountain biking.
Slide 20 of 26: You wont miss the colors of the fall leaves because the hues of the desert sands and outcrops do a breathtaking job replacing them. The Moab Mountains are on the outside of Salt Lake City and Park City Utah. With the summer heat of the desert gone, October and early November are the perfect times to visit. One of the most popular treks is the Slickrock Trail. It’s challenging – but fun to maneuver.
Slide 21 of 26: The Cape Cod Rail Trail is considered one of the best bike trails in New England. This 22-mile paved trail through the Lower Cape is also popular with rollerbladers and horseback riders. Not only are the paths smooth and incline minimal, you will be able try unique foods at numerous stops along the way.
Slide 22 of 26: Fall hiking trips
Slide 23 of 26: This is the most popular and most visited park in the fall for hikers and leaf peepers. There are more than 120 miles of trails that are interconnected and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. For the more experienced and the best views, try the Acadia Mountain Trail with its steep 700-foot climb.
Slide 24 of 26: Breakneck Ridge is a medium to challenging mountain hike with rocky cliffs along the Hudson River The hike is 8.5 miles with an elevation of 3,133 feet, located between Beacon and Cold Spring in New York. This is one of the best hikes to take advantage of the fall colors along the Hudson River and views of Storm King Mountain across the water.
Slide 25 of 26: At the end of the 9-mile circuit of the Old Rag Trail is one of the most aw-inspiring views you may ever see. A panoramic, 200,000-acre, 360-degree view filled with lush, bright orange, red, gold and yellow trees. Although this is one of the parks toughest hikes, the reward is worth it.
Slide 26 of 26: You won’t need your hiking boots, but take a backpack with a picnic lunch. Central Park is one of the first manmade public parks built in America and one of the most famous. Though not considered a difficult hike, it is about 1.317 square miles of some of the most beautiful foliage, bridges, and paved paths in the state.

20 autumn adventures

Autumn hot air balloon adventures

Letchworth State Park, N.Y.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, N.M.

Lake Tahoe, Nev.

Napa Valley, Calif.

Fall foliage train trips

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Antonito, Colo.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City, N.C.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Utica, N.Y.

Amtrak’s Downeaster Route: New England

Colors on the water

Belle of Louisville paddle wheel

Whitewater rafting in Maine

Canoeing in Minneapolis

A fall cruise

Best fall biking paths

The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

Mountain biking in Big Bear

Biking in the deserts Moab

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Fall hiking trips

Acadia National Park: Bar Harbor, Maine

Breakneck Ridge, Cold Springs N.Y.

Shenandoah National Park, Va.

Central Park, New York City

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