The 17 Best Fall Camping Spots In The US According To Campers Who've Been There

As the sun dips lower in the sky and leaves start to paint the landscape in hues of red, orange, and gold, the call of fall camping beckons to outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. There's a distinct magic in the air during the autumn season when nature dons its most vibrant and captivating attire.

While summer might be synonymous with camping, fall has carved out its own niche in the hearts of nature lovers. Fall, with its cooler temperatures and the gentle rustling of leaves underfoot, offers a unique and alluring invitation to the great outdoors that distinguishes it from other camping seasons. The once-bustling trails and campsites of summer take on a quieter, more contemplative atmosphere, allowing for a deeper connection with the environment and a sense of peaceful solitude.

From the blazing foliage of the New England forests to the rugged allure of the Rocky Mountains, each spot has been chosen with the help of travelers who have confirmed that these destinations are slices of autumnal bliss. Whether you're a seasoned camper or someone seeking your first adventure in the crisp embrace of autumn, we're spotlighting the 17 most spectacular camping destinations across the US, providing you with the reasons why fall camping is a cherished tradition in the world of outdoor exploration.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Nestled between the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the crown jewel of the Appalachian Mountains, is a living canvas of vibrant autumnal colors during the fall season. What sets this destination apart during this time of year is the sheer diversity and intensity of the foliage. According to the National Park Service, the park is home to over 19,000 documented species of living organisms, making it one of the most biodiverse regions in North America. As the temperatures begin to drop, the park's vast deciduous forests, comprising trees like sugar maples, sourwoods, and red maples, undergo a breathtaking transformation.

Visitors flock to the Smokies in autumn for a number of compelling reasons. Firstly, the reds and golds that paint the landscape are nothing short of spectacular — which is something that Quest Capsule highlight in their video on where to view fall foliage. The contrast between the evergreen conifers and the brilliant deciduous trees creates a vivid and mesmerizing display that's a dream come true for leaf-peepers and photographers. The iconic blue haze, for which the park is named, takes on a soft and ethereal quality, enhancing the visual magic of the autumn scenery.

Furthermore, the moderate daytime temperatures and cool, crisp evenings make for an ideal camping experience. Whether you're hiking along one of the park's many trails or simply lounging by the campfire, the comfortable weather encourages outdoor exploration and relaxation. 

Acadia National Park, Maine

On the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park becomes a quintessential fall camping destination as the autumn season unfolds. The park's coastal location infuses the air with a refreshing, crisp sea breeze. This cool maritime influence, coupled with the vivid colors of the fall foliage, makes for a camping experience that's both invigorating and visually stunning. It's no wonder that travel photographer, Andy Feliciotti, chose to highlight these stunning views in his vlog!

Acadia's deciduous trees, such as maple, birch, and oak, transform into a tapestry of warm hues. The juxtaposition of the rich autumn colors against the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean is a sight to behold. Campers can enjoy panoramic views from elevated vantage points like Cadillac Mountain or explore the park's many hiking trails that wind through the forests, revealing pockets of fall brilliance. Moreover, as bloggers We Are those Morgans note, autumn at Acadia National Park offers some of the most dramatic sunrises and sunsets along the East Coast. The interplay of light and shadow on the coastal cliffs and the surrounding islands during the fall season creates an awe-inspiring canvas for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

The moderate fall temperatures in Acadia make it an ideal time for outdoor activities. Whether you're hiking to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, cycling along the park's carriage roads, or kayaking along the rugged coastline, the autumn climate allows for a wide range of adventures.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

In the heart of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and its allure reaches new heights during the enchanting fall season. This park is renowned for its breathtaking vistas, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests, all of which take on an entirely new dimension in autumn.

The most striking is the transformation of the Shenandoah Valley into a mosaic of fall colors. The park's diverse tree species, including maples, oaks, and hickories, burst into a symphony of reds, oranges, and golds, creating a magnificent visual spectacle. Hiking along the well-maintained trails, such as the iconic Appalachian Trail, offers a front-row seat to this vibrant display. The moderate temperatures of fall make it an ideal season for hiking, and the Shenandoah trails provide a variety of options for all levels of hikers. As you explore the park's extensive network of pathways, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the valleys and ridges adorned with the rich hues of the season.

The spectacular overlooks along Skyline Drive, the park's scenic byway, provide an exceptional vantage point to witness the fall beauty of Shenandoah. The drive takes you to some of the park's most stunning viewpoints (travel blogger Josh at Through My Lens showcases these areas fabulously), offering panoramic vistas of the valleys and mountains.

Adirondack Park, New York

The Adirondack Park in upstate New York is a destination that beckons to those who revel in the beauty of fall foliage — just look at the park's official website. Adirondack's vast, untamed wilderness and stunning lakes and mountains take on an entirely new level of magnificence during this enchanting season. The park's abundant hardwood trees, including maples, oaks, and birches, erupt in brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. This spectacle is truly a haven for foliage enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone who appreciates the simple wonder of nature's artistry.

The serenity of the park's many pristine lakes adds another layer of charm to fall camping. The glassy surfaces of lakes like Mirror Lake and Lake Placid reflect the surrounding foliage, creating a picturesque tableau that is nothing short of magical. Canoeing or kayaking on these tranquil waters in the midst of this autumn beauty is an experience like no other. The towering peaks of the Adirondacks, such as Mount Marcy (which Adventures of A+K highlight) and Algonquin Peak, offer exceptional hiking opportunities, and the cool, crisp air of fall makes for ideal conditions for those seeking high-altitude adventures. 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, nestled in the heart of Colorado, offers a fall camping experience that is nothing short of spectacular. At higher elevations, the aspen trees burst into a brilliant display of yellow and gold. These changing leaves provide a striking contrast against the snow-dusted peaks, creating a picturesque and almost surreal landscape. The interplay of warm autumn hues and the pristine white of early snowfall is a sight to behold and a dream for photographers seeking to capture this unique moment in nature.

As Visit Estes Park notes, fall is an ideal time for observing the park's fauna. As animals prepare for winter, elk become more active, and the bugling of bull elk can be heard echoing through the valleys. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, and other wildlife can often be spotted in the meadows and forests of the park.

Moreover, the fall foliage in Rocky Mountain National Park is not limited to one specific area; it can be found throughout the park, from the lower elevations to the high mountain passes. This allows campers, such as travel YouTuber Jeanie Marie, to immerse themselves in the beauty of fall from various vantage points, making every moment a unique and breathtaking experience.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

A world-renowned natural wonderland, Yellowstone National Park takes on an otherworldly charm during the fall season. While Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal features, the combination of these unique geological wonders and the striking colors of autumn creates an experience that is truly surreal and unforgettable. Don't believe us? Take a look at this video by Matt and Cheryl of We're in the Rockies, who explain precisely why you should be visiting this stunning park in the fall. As summer fades, the geysers, hot springs, and mud pots that make up the park's thermal wonders take on a different allure. The cool air contrasts with the steamy vents and boiling pools, creating an eerie yet enchanting atmosphere that's heightened by the colors of fall. 

Autumn is an ideal time for wildlife enthusiasts as well. The park's diverse ecosystem, from the vast herds of bison to the majestic elk and elusive wolves, is more active as they prepare for the upcoming winter. Observing these animals against the backdrop of fall's colorful landscapes is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

The pleasant daytime temperatures and cooler evenings create an ideal environment for exploring the park's vast network of hiking trails and scenic drives. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll along the boardwalks near the thermal features or embarking on a more extensive backcountry adventure, the autumn climate provides an excellent opportunity for outdoor exploration.

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Camping in Ozark National Forest during the fall allows visitors to revel in the serene atmosphere of the wilderness. The peaceful forest, alive with vibrant foliage, offers a tranquil escape from the chaos of everyday life. The campfires under the cool, clear skies and the gentle rustling of leaves create an ambiance that encourages relaxation and reflection.

The moderate temperatures of fall make it an excellent time for hiking and exploring the forest's extensive trail system. Travel vlogger Kelly Hays Hikes, for example, showcased her day trip hiking the Kings Bluff and Pedestal Rock trails, which took about 4.6 miles to explore. For those looking to get more of a sweat going, there's also the Ozark Highlands Trail, which offers a challenging and rewarding experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the wilderness. The crisp air and vibrant fall colors add a layer of tranquility and inspiration to every outdoor adventure.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, with its striking red rock formations, is a mesmerizing destination any time of the year. However, as Rove.me explains, the fall season at Zion brings a unique charm to this iconic park that sets it apart from other seasons. The most immediate change is the cooler temperatures that welcome campers. The scorching heat of summer gives way to milder, more comfortable weather, making outdoor activities much more enjoyable. Hiking, in particular, becomes a pleasure as the scorching summer sun subsides.

The park's iconic red rock formations, such as the towering monoliths of Angel's Landing and the massive sandstone cliffs of the Zion Canyon, remain awe-inspiring. In fact, according to travel vloggers at Parked in Paradise, these formations are must-sees for anyone visiting. What makes fall special in Zion is the added bonus of colorful foliage. While the park is famous for its red rocks, the deciduous trees within the canyons, including cottonwoods and boxelders, burst into shades of gold, orange, and red. These vibrant colors add a layer of beauty and contrast to the already stunning desert landscape.

The fall season is also ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, as animals become more active in preparation for the approaching winter. Mule deer, wild turkeys, and even desert bighorn sheep become more visible in the park's quieter corners. Birdwatchers will also find this season particularly rewarding as various species begin their migrations.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

North Cascades National Park in Washington offers a fall camping experience that is truly exceptional and distinct from any other season. The park's rugged mountains and alpine meadows become even more awe-inspiring as the fall season progresses. The clear, crisp air enhances the views of the dramatic peaks, such as the iconic Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker, while the alpine meadows are kissed by colorful wildflowers and surrounded by the changing foliage.

As Cultural Foodies showcase on their blog, camping in North Cascades National Park during the fall allows visitors to immerse themselves in this breathtaking spectacle. They also highlight the KOA Campground in Winthrop, which even comes with hot water showers — making for a much more luxe camping experience. Whether you're hiking along the network of trails that wind through the park or simply enjoying a peaceful moment by a mountain lake, the autumn climate enhances the outdoor experience.

Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont is a quintessential New England camping destination, and it takes on a special charm during the fall season. What sets this destination apart during the autumn is the fiery explosion of reds and oranges that paint the Green Mountains, making it a visual feast for campers and nature lovers.

The most captivating is the transformation of the landscape into a blaze of vibrant color. The deciduous trees, including sugar maples, red maples, and oaks, erupt in brilliant warm hues, creating a stunning and quintessentially New England spectacle. The lush forests of the Green Mountains, known for their hiking and recreational opportunities, take on a magical quality during this season.

Camping in Green Mountain National Forest during the fall allows visitors to immerse themselves in this vivid display of autumn foliage, much like Randy of America's Parks showcased in a stunning vlog. Whether you're hiking along one of the forest's many well-maintained trails or simply enjoying the serene ambiance of the woods, the autumn climate provides an ideal backdrop for outdoor exploration and relaxation. The moderate daytime temperatures and cool, crisp evenings create an inviting environment for camping. The clear mountain air and the soothing sounds of rustling leaves and distant streams make for a tranquil and rejuvenating experience.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Great Basin National Park, located in the high desert of Nevada, is an extraordinary destination for fall camping, offering a unique experience that's both celestial and tranquil. One of the most remarkable aspects is the clear sky that graces the park during this season. The high desert environment, free from the summer's heat and monsoon rains, provides some of the best stargazing conditions in the United States, per Travel Nevada. The park is home to Wheeler Peak, one of the darkest places in the continental United States. With limited light pollution, campers can witness a brilliant night sky filled with stars, planets, and even distant galaxies. During fall camping, visitors can take advantage of the crisp, cool evenings to explore the night sky. Stargazing programs and events are often organized within the park, allowing campers to learn about the celestial wonders above.

The moderate daytime temperatures of fall make it an excellent time for outdoor activities and exploration. Hiking among the park's unique landscapes, from ancient bristlecone pine groves to rugged alpine terrain, is particularly enjoyable during this season. The Snake Range, which is a part of the park, offers an array of hiking trails suitable for various skill levels. Moreover, the diverse landscapes of the park, from the high mountain peaks to the desert valleys, create a surreal backdrop for fall camping (and picture-taking, as nature photographer Zach Schierl showcases on his website). The contrasts between the brilliant night sky, the golden foliage of the lower elevations, and the alpine vistas offer an array of natural wonders to explore and enjoy.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, known as the "Crown of the Continent," offers a fall camping experience that is truly exceptional. Camping in Glacier National Park during the fall allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in this natural spectacle. It's a popular destination, too. As travel vlogger Alice Ford notes, it's "many Americans' favorite national park." Whether you're camping by one of the park's pristine mountain lakes, such as Lake McDonald or Two Medicine Lake, or hiking along the park's extensive trail system, the autumn climate provides an ideal backdrop for outdoor exploration. 

The park's moderate daytime temperatures and cool evenings offer an inviting environment for a range of activities. Whether you're enjoying a boat ride on the tranquil lakes, hiking to the park's iconic destinations like Grinnell Glacier or Hidden Lake, or simply savoring the clear mountain air by your campfire, the fall season allows for an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Additionally, the park is known for its abundant wildlife, and fall is an ideal time for wildlife enthusiasts. As animals prepare for winter, visitors may spot grizzly bears, black bears, elk, and mountain goats, among other species. The park's diverse ecosystems offer numerous opportunities for wildlife watching.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park in Washington is a place of unparalleled diversity and natural beauty, and it takes on a special charm during the fall season. The rich, moss-draped trees of the Hoh Rainforest, for example, create a striking contrast against the backdrop of the changing leaves. Camping in Olympic National Park during the fall allows visitors to experience this diversity of landscapes and colors. Whether you're exploring the lush coastal rainforests, hiking the rugged coastline, or ascending into the alpine meadows of Hurricane Ridge, like Josh at Through My Lens, for example, the autumn climate enhances the outdoor experience.

The fall season is also an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts. As animals prepare for winter, the park's diverse ecosystems come to life. Visitors may have the opportunity to spot black bears, Roosevelt elk, and a wide range of bird species in their natural habitats. The park's diversity of ecosystems, from the coastal rainforests to the alpine meadows, offers a wide range of natural wonders to explore and enjoy. The contrasts between these landscapes create a rich and visually stunning backdrop for fall camping.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park, situated in the remote and rugged landscape of West Texas, offers a fall camping experience that is uniquely inviting. The park's diverse landscapes, from the stark beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert to the lush river canyons of the Rio Grande, take on a unique charm during the fall season. As the temperatures become more moderate, campers can explore the vast network of trails that wind through the park, revealing the distinct character of each ecosystem.

The desert flora, including cacti and agave, often bloom in the fall, creating a burst of color amidst the arid landscape. The park's river canyons, such as Santa Elena Canyon and Boquillas Canyon, offer breathtaking vistas that are even more enjoyable as the summer heat subsides. If these locations sound tempting to cross off your fall camping bucket list, check out this informative video by The West is Big! Travel, which highlights all the must-see stops of Big Bend National Park.

The fall season in Big Bend is also a prime time for stargazing. The park's remote location, limited light pollution, and clear skies provide an exceptional opportunity to witness the brilliance of the night sky. Campers can take advantage of the park's stargazing programs or simply gaze up at the myriad of stars above.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon and Washington

The Columbia River Gorge, a stunning natural wonder shared by Oregon and Washington, becomes a truly exceptional destination for fall camping. The Columbia River itself reflects this explosion of color, creating a picturesque and almost surreal landscape that is perfect for camping. Whether you're setting up camp along the river, hiking the park's extensive trail system, or simply enjoying the serenity of the water, the fall climate provides an ideal backdrop for outdoor exploration and relaxation.

The moderate daytime temperatures and cool evenings create an inviting environment for camping and outdoor activities. The clear mountain air, the soothing sounds of rustling leaves, and the river's gentle flow contribute to a tranquil and rejuvenating experience (not to mention the countless waterfalls available to feast your eyes upon, as Amazing Places on Our Planet showcases).

The park's diverse ecosystem, from the riverbanks to the forests, becomes more active as animals prepare for winter. Birdwatchers may spot various migratory species, while those seeking larger wildlife can often encounter mule deer and other creatures along the river.

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Explore the White Mountains as they don their autumn attire, offering some of the best fall foliage views in the Northeast. White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is a beloved destination for fall camping, and it offers an experience that is truly special. The dramatic peaks and forested valleys create a stunning backdrop for fall camping. The contrast between the mountain landscapes and the vibrant fall foliage adds a layer of visual wonder to every outdoor experience. 

Camping in White Mountain National Forest during the fall allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in this vibrant display of autumn foliage. Whether you're hiking the extensive trail system, exploring the forested valleys, or simply enjoying the crisp mountain air, the autumn climate creates an ideal backdrop for outdoor adventures. Check out this handy guide by Nichole the Nomad that cites 10 things you can do for your fall excursion to the White Mountains. The park's moderate daytime temperatures and cool evenings create an inviting environment for camping. The soothing sounds of rustling leaves and the clear, mountain air add to the tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere. 

The fall season is also ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, as animals become more active in preparation for winter. Visitors may spot moose, black bears, and various bird species in their natural habitats. The park's diverse ecosystems offer numerous opportunities for wildlife watching.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, renowned for its stunning red rock spires and unique geology, takes on an extraordinary charm during the fall season. The most captivating aspect is the interplay of the park's famous red rock spires and the warm colors of autumn. The park's unique geological formations, known as hoodoos, become even more striking when framed by the brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold offered by the deciduous trees in the park. The contrast creates a visual masterpiece that draws visitors from around the world.

The park's moderate daytime temperatures and cool evenings offer an inviting environment for camping. The crisp air of fall adds to the serenity of the park and provides an opportunity for outdoor exploration and relaxation. This video, by World Wild Hearts, showcases six things you can do at Bryce Canyon — while also offering up majestic views of the park's hoodoos.

The fall season is also ideal for stargazing. Bryce Canyon is renowned for its dark skies, and during the fall, with fewer summer visitors, the conditions are even more favorable for observing the night sky. The park often hosts stargazing events and programs, offering campers the chance to witness the brilliance of the Milky Way and numerous celestial wonders. The reduced crowds in the fall season provide campers with a greater sense of solitude and a deeper connection with nature. Whether you're gazing at the stars, taking in the sweeping vistas, or simply enjoying the peaceful ambiance of the park, you'll find ample opportunities for quiet reflection and appreciation of the changing seasons.

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