Autumn Eye Candy: Soaking up Fall Color

Few sights dazzle the eye like a stunning display of autumn foliage, and fall is in full swing at Trust for Public Land–protected places around the country.

We’re celebrating the season by sharing some favorite spots in all their red, gold, and orange glory. If you wish you could be road-tripping to catch the leaves turning instead of stuck at your desk, then you’ll love this cornucopia of color.

Kingfield Community Forest (Kingfield, Maine)

me_kingfield_comm_forest_01242020_01Trees ring a lake in the Kingfield Community Forest in Kingfield, Maine.Photo credit: Cynthia Orcutt

Tucked in Maine’s High Peaks region, far from the bustling coast, lies the town of Kingfield. With no crowds, there is perhaps no better place to see the fall colors than in the 215-acre Kingfield Community Forest that we helped protect. The forest includes Shiloh Pond, a paddling destination, which means you can admire the foliage from land or water. [Explore our work in Maine.]

Hunger Mountain Headwaters (Stowe, Middlesex and Worcester, Vermont)

vt_hunger_mtn_20161023_27Hikers walk through the Hunger Mountain Headwaters in Vermont.Photo credit: Kurt Budliger

Hunger Mountain and White Rock Mountain are two of Vermont’s most popular day hikes. At the summits, hikers are treated to views of the White Mountains, the Adirondacks, and the northern Green Mountain Range. With a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees, you’ll see pops of color, including birches and maples, amid the evergreens. [Explore our work in Vermont.]

Walden Woods (Concord, Massachusetts)

ma_waldenwoods_10152016_028A woman stands on a rock formation in Walden Woods in Massachusetts.Photo credit: Ian MacLellan

Walden; or Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau’s account of his time at Walden Pond, is a testament to simple living. While Walden Pond has long been protected as a state park, the nearby Walden Woods were threatened by development until we stepped in. This time of year, the 85 protected acres—including Bear Garden Hill, where Thoreau took moonlit walks—come alive with autumn’s warm palette. [Explore our work in Massachusetts.]

Mono Pond State Park Reserve (Columbia, Connecticut)

Cyclists enjoy the view at Mono Pond State Park Reserve in Connecticut.Cyclists enjoy the view at Mono Pond State Park Reserve in Connecticut.Photo credit: Richard Freeda

With lowland blueberry swamps and rocky foothills, Mono Pond State Park Reserve is a destination for mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching, paddling, and fishing. But come fall, it is one of the best spots in Connecticut for leaf-peeping. Last year, we conveyed 403 acres of forestland and five miles of trails, nearly tripling the size of the park. [Explore our work in Connecticut.]

Stonehouse Pond (Barrington, New Hampshire)

nh_stonehousepond_10132008_09.jpgA fisherman in a kayak enjoys Stonehouse Pond in New Hampshire on an autumn day.Photo credit: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

The vivid blue waters of Stonehouse Pond make an ideal counterpoint to the vibrant foliage along its shores. Surrounding the 13-acre pond is an easy one-mile loop trail. Beyond that are towering cliffs, oak and pine woodlands, and vernal pools. The woods attract songbirds like chickadees, nuthatches, and tufted titmice, as well as various species of woodpecker. Bring your binoculars. [Explore our work in New Hampshire.]

Beaty Landing (Painesville, Ohio)

oh_Beaty_Landing_10302020_41Bundled up and ready for fall at Beaty Landing in Painesville, Ohio.Photo credit: Chris Bennett

The 102-mile Grand River, a tributary of Lake Erie, flows gently through northeastern Ohio where it eventually meanders through the city of Painesville on its way to the Great Lake. There, the river glides through Beaty Landing, a 55-acre park that offers quick access to sylvan splendor. The river banks support stands of ash, elm, maple, and pin oak, whose canopies streak the river bronze, scarlet, and gold. [Explore our work in Ohio.]

Coney Island (Lake Waconia, Minnesota)

mn_coneyisland_10162015_18A man explores Coney Island on Lake Waconia in Minnesota.Photo credit: Andy Richter

Located on Lake Waconia, just southwest of Minneapolis, the “Coney Island of the West” is a relic of days gone by when city dwellers vacationed at nearby lake resorts. Today, only the crumbled remnants of these structures remain, overtaken by nature. And it’s thanks to nature, like the green ash and oak trees rooted there, that the island wears a gilded crown of leaves each fall. [Explore our work in Minnesota.]

Story Mill Community Park (Bozeman, Montana)

mt_storymilltrail_10012012_026.jpgDogs take an autumn swim in Story Mill Community Park in Bozeman, Montana.Photo credit: Christi Cooper-Kuhn

Nearly four miles of trails traverse the 60-acre Story Mill Community Park, which sits at the confluence of Bozeman Creek and the East Gallatin River. Pick a path—and an autumn adventure—and explore a restored swath of East Gallatin River frontage and observe birds and other wildlife in the park’s 15 acres of wetlands. The park, Bozeman’s largest, opened in 2019 following a seven-year community effort we supported. [Explore our work in Montana.]

Icicle Creek (Leavenworth, Washington)

The whitewater of Icicle Creek just south of Leavenworth, WashingtonThe whitewater of Icicle Creek tumbles over boulders just south of Leavenworth, Washington.Photo credit: gjohnstonphoto / iStock

Know what pairs well with autumn colors? Oktoberfest fun. Fringed with foliage that explodes in fall colors, Icicle Creek tumbles through the Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth, Washington. Over the years, we’ve worked with the Chelan Douglas Land Trust and the Icicle Fund to save the natural beauty of this free-flowing river. [Explore our work in Washington.]

Feeling inspired?

All of these places—and many more—are protected thanks to Trust for Public Land supporters. Join us in our mission to bring the profound benefits of equitable access to the outdoors to millions of people across America.