The distinct chill that autumn brings after summer and before winter makes for the perfect weather during any vacation. And why not? There is neither the blazing heat and sweat-sticking clothes to deal with nor the continuous need to layer up against the icy winds.
But what’s more spectacular about this season is the photographic charm that Mother Nature blesses us with. We’re talking about the beautiful sceneries of the fall foliage we don’t typically get to admire in tropical Singapore. Come with us and revel in the glow of fall’s colours at these best places you can visit during the autumn months.
United States of America (USA)
Fall foliage in the USA starts in late September and continues through early November, with the peak usually occurring around mid-October. However, specific timing can vary across different states and regions within the country.
1. Catskill Mountains in New York
Also known as the Catskills, the mountains transform into a riot of autumn colours during early to mid-October every year. Explore the Hudson River School Art Trail or the Catskill Mountain House for the best picture-postcard vistas. The Hannacroix Creek Preserve is another popular place to see the fall foliage while hiking and capturing the beautiful sights of the waterfall in the 113-acre preserve.
Visitors can also plan hikes to explore the mountains during autumn. Check out Pratt Rock, often referred to as New York’s Mount Rushmore. The hike is 4.9km-long from just outside of Prattsville. Remember to wear sturdy shoes and bring a bag to keep your items safe.
Don't miss out on food tours, corn mazes, and Oktoberfest celebrations for a complete Catskills experience.
How to get here: The mountains are approximately 2h north of New York City. You can take Interstate 87 (also known as the New York State Thruway) north to Exit 19 (Kingston). From there, you can follow signs to various towns and attractions within the Catskills.
Several bus companies like Trailways and Adirondack Trailways, also operate from New York City to the Catskill Mountains. Buses usually depart from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Check with the respective bus companies for schedules and ticket information.
2. Eastern Shore in Maryland
Other than the Catskill Mountains, you can also head to Eastern Shore in Maryland, one of the best places to visit during autumn in the USA. Experience the beauty of the Sassafras River and Chesapeake Bay as you see the fall foliage from the south-facing banks of the river.
Afterwards, head to the Millington Wildlife Management Area, a 1,618ha-wide reserve, for nature hiking trails and wildlife sightings. Keep an eye out for woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, and other native wildlife amidst the fall foliage. It's truly a paradise out here for nature enthusiasts!
How to get here: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the main route to the Eastern Shore from the western side of Maryland. From the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area, you can take Interstate 97 to reach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Once on the Eastern Shore, various highways and local roads can take you to your desired destination.
Bus companies such as Greyhound and Eastern Shuttle also operate from major cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C. to various towns on the Eastern Shore. Check with the respective companies for schedules and ticket information.
3. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen boasts a vibrant display of autumn colours during fall in the USA. Look out for the iconic Maroon Bells, a pair of 4,267m-high mountains with a mirror lake beneath. The best time to head here is before the sun rises – when the rays hit the wine-coloured peaks.
In the afternoon, embark on hikes through the popular Castle Creek Valley, American Lake, and Cathedral Lake to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the fall foliage. For leisurely strolls, you can visit the Ashcroft Ghost Town.
How to get here: From Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road (Highway 82) west for approximately 14km. There is a parking area at the Maroon Bells Welcome Station where you can park your vehicle. Please note that private vehicles are restricted during peak times, and a reservation is required.
Alternatively, you can take a shuttle from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Bells. Aspen Highlands operates during the summer and fall seasons, typically from mid-June to early October.
Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) also operates public buses from Aspen to Maroon Bells. The bus departs from Rubey Park Transit Center in downtown Aspen. However, please note that the bus service to Maroon Bells may have limited schedules, so it's important to check the RFTA website for the most up-to-date information on bus routes and timetables.
The full glory of fall foliage in Scotland is usually from end-September to end-October. This is also the best time and place to see wildlife like red deer, grey seals and swans.
1. Hermitage in Dunkeld
Marvel at the towering Douglas Fir trees in this enchanting forest. Overlooking the Black Linn Falls of the River Braan, the Georgia folly of Ossian's Hall provides a perfect vantage point to soak in the timeless ambience of the region during autumn. Get your cameras ready because you can definitely spot squirrels leaping from treetop to treetop and witness salmon leaping upstream in the river.
How to get here: Dunkeld has its own train station called Dunkeld & Birnam Station served by ScotRail. You can take a train from Edinburgh, Glasgow, or other major cities to Dunkeld & Birnam Station. From there, it is a short walk or taxi ride to Hermitage.
If you have access to a car, you can drive to Hermitage in Dunkeld. Take the A9 northbound towards Inverness, exit at Dunkeld, and follow the signs to Hermitage. The journey is approximately 30min-long, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
2. Ballindalloch Castle in Moray
Step into a fairytale as you explore the grounds of Ballindalloch Castle. Walk along the tree-lined pathway and admire the earthy hues of autumn colours. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch the autumn roses in full bloom when you visit this place during the season. The three gardens at the formal grounds of the Ballindalloch Castle – also known as one of Scotland’s most romantic castles – are perfect for a full day of exploration.
The highlight is the historic Bridge of Avon which was built around 1754. Do note that the castle and grounds close by the end of September every year.
How to get here: Take a train to Elgin, the nearest train station to Ballindalloch Castle. From Elgin, you can take a bus or a taxi to the castle. Local bus services connect Elgin with Ballindalloch, with the journey taking roughly 30min.
If you're driving, take the A96 towards Aberdeen from Inverness. Turn onto the A941 towards Ballindalloch and follow the signs to the castle. The drive will be around 1h-long.
3. Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh
Discover the stunning fall foliage spread across 28ha of meticulously manicured gardens. With over 100,000 plants and ten glasshouses, this botanical paradise is a treat for the senses.
Experience the splendour of yellow and scarlet foliage, alongside vibrant rowans and cotoneasters. Don't miss the unique features like the Chinese Hillside and Scottish Native Plants Collection.
How to get here: Various bus services operate to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. You can take buses 8, 23, or 27 from the city centre, which will take you directly to the garden.
The Edinburgh Trams also offer a convenient way to reach the Royal Botanic Garden. Take the tram to the York Place stop, and from there, it is a short walk to the garden entrance.
It's not advisable to drive as the car park here can get busy, especially during peak times.
Autumn foliage in South Korea starts in late September in the northeast regions and moves central and southwest in mid-October. The best time to visit this place in the fall is typically mid-October to November.
1. Naejangsan National Park in Jeong-eup, Jeolla-do
Considered one of South Korea's best spots to see fall foliage, Naejangsan National Park boasts captivating maple-tree-lined roads, serene valleys, and picturesque Korean Buddhist temples such as Baegyangsa Temple and Naejangsa Temple. Within the Naejangsan region, you'll also discover renowned waterfalls like Dodeok Falls and Geumseon Falls that add to the place's natural allure.
Naejangsan is also home to rich biodiversity, boasting an impressive array of 919 plant species and 1,880 animal species, including 12 endangered species like the small-eared cat and yellow-necked marten.
The name "Naejangsan" actually means intriguing secrets concealed within the area, where "nae" means "inside" and "jang" means "concealed".
Mid-October is the ideal time to witness the beautiful autumn colours, while the first week of November tends to be busy.
How to get here: Board Bus 171 from Jeongeup Intercity Bus Terminal. Get off at the Service Area, Naejangsan Bus Terminal.
2. Garden of the Morning Calm in Gapyeong
Immerse yourself in the blazing fall foliage in the picturesque Garden of the Morning Calm. This garden has garnered popularity as a filming location for numerous Korean TV series, including the widely acclaimed drama "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds", starring Park Bo-gum and Kim Yoo-jung.
Various events are also held when you visit this spectacular place in autumn. Look forward to the Chrysanthemum Exhibition and Maple Festival for postcard-worthy views.
How to get here: Take the Seoul Subway Line 1 or Gyeongchun Line to Cheongpyeong Station. From Cheongpyeong Station, take a local bus or a taxi to the Garden of Morning Calm. Local buses are available near the station and usually have signs indicating their destination.
Alternatively, you can also take the ITX train from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Gapyeong Station. From Gapyeong Station, board a local bus or taxi to the Garden of Morning Calm. Local buses are available near the station and usually have signs indicating their destination.
3. Daedunsan Provincial Park in Wanju-gun
Surrounded by rock peaks and lush trees, Daedunsan Provincial Park offers stunning fall foliage, sunrise, and sunset views during autumn. Remember to also capture the beauty of crystal-clear waters in the Okgye-dong Valley with your cameras.
Take a cable ride for breath-taking vistas and experience the thrill of standing at the highest point of the Geumgang Suspension Bridge. Then, head over to explore the historic temples nearby, including the Taegosa Temple of Jinsan, Ansimsa Temple of Unju, and Sinsounsa Temple of Byeolgok.
How to get here: Take a train to Daejeon Station. Next, take a local bus or a taxi to Jeonju Intercity Bus Terminal. At Jeonju Intercity Bus Terminal, board the bus bound for Daedunsan Provincial Park or Wanju-gun. Get off at the Daedunsan bus stop, which is the closest stop to the park entrance.
In Japan, the perfect time to see autumn foliage typically starts in the middle of October, with the end of November being the best time for the most captivating sceneries during your outdoor adventures.
1. Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture
One of the best autumn destinations to head to in Japan has got to be Lake Kawaguchi. Located just 2-3 hours away from Tokyo by train and bus, it is a perfect day trip location if you are visiting Tokyo. From early to late November, you can also attend the Fuji Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival for a cultural immersion. Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the Momiji Kairo (Maple Corridor), where maple trees create a stunning red carpet of leaves. Lanterns will also illuminate the area from 4:30pm onwards, casting a magical glow.
Depending on the weather, you will be able to catch magnificent views of Mount Fuji around Lake Kawaguchi. Pro-tip: Check out the Lake Kawaguchi webcams if you want to check on the views before making a trip down to the area.
Alternatively, venture down to the lesser-known Momijo Tunnel for a more intimate experience during your day trip here. Don't forget to witness Mount Fuji as it towers over the picturesque sceneries.
How to get here: Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Otsuki Station (approximately 1h-long). Transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line and take a train bound for Kawaguchiko Station (approximately 1h20min-long). From Kawaguchiko Station, you can take a local bus or taxi to Lake Kawaguchi.
Direct highway buses also run from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi. You can catch a bus from major bus terminals in Tokyo, such as Shinjuku or Tokyo Station. The journey takes approximately 1.5-2h-long, depending on traffic conditions.
2. Meiji Jingu Jingu Gaien Park in Tokyo
Take a leisurely stroll in this famous park adorned with gingko trees filled with golden yellow leaves. Easily accessible from various stations, Meiji Jingu Jingu Gaien Park offers a charming blanket of beautiful fall foliage. Explore the park's other attractions, including baseball fields and an ice rink, for a complete autumn experience.
Visit this place during the annual Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival (mid-November to early December) to enjoy delicious food and vibrant performances. This vibrant festival has been celebrated every year since 1997 and offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.
How to get here: Meiji Jingu Gaien is a stone’s throw away from different stations, including Gaienmae Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line); Aoyama Itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line/Toei Oedo Subway Line); Shinanomachi Station (JR Chuo/Sobu Line), and Sendagaya Station (JR Chuo/Sobu Line).
3. Mikuni Pass in Hokkaido
Rounding up the list of beautiful places to visit during autumn in Japan is Mikuni Pass. Perched atop the highest mountain in Hokkaido, at an elevation of 1,139m-high above sea level, the Mikuni Pass stands as the crown jewel of the Tokachi District. Renowned for its breathtaking vistas, this iconic observation deck offers an unobstructed view of the untouched forests and layered mountains that stretch into the distance.
From late September to mid-October, the landscape transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colours as the red leaves of autumn cast their spell. The sight is nothing short of spectacular, with the fiery hues creating an awe-inspiring panorama that captivates the senses. Prepare to be immersed in the natural beauty of the Mikuni Pass, where the convergence of pristine wilderness and the splendid fall foliage offers an unforgettable experience.
How to get here: The pass is a 2h-long scenic drive from Obihiro Airport.
Autumn in New Zealand spans from March to May. The best time to visit this place is often considered to be March, as the weather is usually milder and the fall foliage is at its peak.
1. Arrowtown in South Island
Arrowtown invites you to embark on a journey through time as you wander its streets and discover the fascinating remnants of its past. Even better, the turning cottonwoods’ red and gold hues provide a charming backdrop for the New Zealand autumn.
Take a stroll through the streets lined with beautifully restored cottages, immersing yourself in the rich history that surrounds you. Explore the remnants of gold mining activities along the scenic Arrow River, uncovering the tales of the town's gold rush era.
For thrill seekers, enjoy outdoor activities such as mountain biking the trails, including the Millennium Trail and Arrow River Bridges Trail. After all your adventures, indulge in delicious cuisine at nearby local restaurants and cafes.
It’s best to visit this place during the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival. The festival showcases a variety of engaging events, including a vibrant street parade, the melodious tunes of the Arrow Miners Band playing on the iconic Old Red truck, and the energetic performances of the Buckingham Belles Can Can during lunchtime entertainment.
How to get here: If you are driving, Arrowtown is easily accessible from Queenstown. From Queenstown, take State Highway 6 towards Cromwell, and then follow the signs to Arrowtown. The scenic drive is typically 20min-long.
Several bus companies such as Connectabus or Atomic Shuttles operate services between Queenstown and Arrowtown for those who aren’t driving. The journey is typically 20min-long, depending on traffic.
2. Cardrona Valley in Wanaka
Next, stop by the Cardrona Valley on your South Island road trip, which eventually ascends to the majestic Crown Range. As you drive along this magnificent route, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas and unforgettable panoramic views of golden yellow poplars against the backdrop of the lake.
Don’t forget to drop by the Cardrona Distillery to savour exquisite spirits made from the pure waters of the mountains. Embark on a Cardrona horse trek through the vibrant fall foliage for an unforgettable experience during your autumn New Zealand road trip.
How to get here: Drive to Cardrona Valley from Wanaka. Head out of Wanaka on Cardrona Valley Road, which will take you directly to Cardrona.
Shuttle services and taxis are also available in Wanaka which can take you to Cardrona Valley. You can inquire about these services at the Wanaka i-SITE Visitor Centre or make arrangements with local shuttle or taxi companies. They can provide transportation directly to Cardrona Valley.
3. Clyde Dam in Central Otago
Head to the Clyde Dam in Central Otago beyond Arrowtown to round up your autumn trip in New Zealand. This journey takes you to one of New Zealand's premier wine-growing regions, where the vineyards come alive with warm fall colours in April. Take your time exploring this renowned wine-growing region and indulge in wine-tasting experiences to discover all you need to know about wine.
As you continue your drive, make your way to the Clyde Dam lookout for a mesmerising bird's eye view of the region. From this vantage point, you can witness the picturesque waters flowing down Clyde and Alexandra, adding to the beauty of the landscape.
How to get here: From Queenstown, take State Highway 6 towards Cromwell. Continue on State Highway 8 and follow the signs to Clyde. The dam is located near the town of Clyde, and you can reach it by following the signs once you are in the area.
There are no direct public bus services to Clyde Dam. However, you can take a bus from Queenstown or Cromwell to the nearby town of Clyde. You can either walk from Clyde or take a short taxi ride to the dam.
Revel in the vibrant colours of the autumn season
Autumn, with its crisp air and vibrant foliage, provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable fall vacation. The stunning natural beauty of this season is a sight to behold, with landscapes transforming into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and golds.
Embarking on a journey of the best places to see the fall leaves during autumn is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of nature. These destinations offer unparalleled experiences during autumn, whichever country you explore. Prepare to be captivated by the vibrant colours and create memories that will last a lifetime.
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