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Take the path less traveled by leaf peeping beneath the brilliant changing leaves from Aspen to Upstate New York.
Brewing pumpkin spice lattes while candles are lit and plaid blankets wrap around shoulders, yes, we are quickly approaching sweater weather in the United States. Meaning a shift from hot summer days now fading into cool autumn nights with the familiar crackle of fallen leaves underfoot.
From Mt. Hood Oregon to Upstate New York, these destinations offer road-cycling, mountain-biking and trail-cruising for a range of ages and levels of athleticism.
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And while fall can mean shaking up our wardrobe to include more patterned scarves and ankle boots and diversifying our at-home bar to include more artisanal dark beers and less icy and fruit-infused cocktails, it is also the perfect time to head outdoors. Fashion and imbibing aside, we recommend enjoying the fresh air before the winter chill sets in by leaf-peeping the deciduous trees beginning to transform their colors.
For the most iconic fall foliage bike tours across the US, we have garnered five locales where you can witness the array of colorways cast across mountainsides, national parks and quiet country villages. And what better way to drink in the crisp fall air then by the seat of your bike? From Mt. Hood Oregon to Upstate New York, these destinations offer road-cycling, mountain-biking and trail-cruising for a range of ages and levels of athleticism. Just don’t forget to bring a high-quality camera to capture the vibrant orange, red and yellow hues along the trails—happy leaf-peeping!
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Springtime in the nation’s capital means cherry blossoms galore and come fall time the city and its surrounding parks transfix locals and visitors with the regions towering trees changing their leaves. While many national parks across the United States can be enjoyed during this shifting of seasons, Rock Creek Park weaves right through the city and bridges the beauty of the dense east coast landscape with the cultural experiences one can only see in D.C. For outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience leaf peeping the fall foliage via a bike tour, Rock Creek Park boasts 1,754 acres of nature ideal for walkers, hikers and bikers looking to peddle the paved pathways that follow the creek straight to the iconic Lincoln Memorial.
Keep your eyes peeled for red foxes, illusive reptiles and brightly colored warblers dashing in between sugar maple trees whose fall leaves will be changing from green to yellow. The park is home to a planetarium, amphitheater, and ranger-led programs to deepen your knowledge of the heritage and culture of the region.
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Consider hopping on a road bike and challenging yourself to a trek up Independence Pass, where you can take in the red and burnt-orange leaves with sweeping views of the winding highway and the regions snow-capped mountains.
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ASPEN | COLORADO
Aspen is a place synonymous with high-alpine skiing, swanky hotels and their annual FOOD & WINE Classic, all based in the epic landscape that brings international travelers to these majestic peaks for epic leaf peeping. And its name alone reminds us why fall in Colorado is one of the most magical places to be. Aspen trees punctuate the rolling hillsides and kiss the steep slopes around the famous Maroon Lake, and once the leaves begin to change September and early October, there is no other place you will want to be.
Snowmass is Aspen’s four mountain destination that takes leaf peeping to another level. Consider hopping on a road bike and challenging yourself to a trek up Independence Pass, where you can take in the red and burnt-orange leaves with sweeping views of the winding highway and the regions snow-capped mountains. If immersing yourself into the woods for an adrenaline-pumping quest is more your style, then grab a mountain bike and take on one of the many trails, like the new Dust Bunny trail, that takes you right into the heart of the woods.
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UPSTATE NEW YORK
You may have read ICONIC’s Adirondacks Travel Guide or perused the many happenings in the pastoral Dutchess County just outside of Manhattan. This time, we take you to New York’s Erie Canal where winding trails take you through this quintessential locale ideal for watching the fall foliage by taking a self-guided bike tour. From Buffalo to Albany, the 360-mile stretch of stone dust and gravel path along the famous man-made waterways let you sip in the cooling temperatures and fresh fall air.
Make this a family affair by getting the whole crew on bikes,
consider renting electric bikes so you can hit the trails with ease, where you can leaf peep between the charming villages of Upstate. Green space abounds with lush grasslands, ravines and forests showcasing a range of trees that seem to stretch forever into the skies above—making this one of the most striking places to witness the shifting season.
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Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts can take in the vibrant colors of the Douglas-firs and other deciduous trees changing their leaves from waxy green to sangria-red this season.
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MT. HOOD | OREGON
Heading now to the Pacific Northwest where the ever-popular adventure oasis of Oregon resides. If you are road-tripping to the area, we recommend setting your leaf-peeping sights on the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop that reaches new heights of natural beauty. Mt. Hood is the state’s highest peak and is known as Wy’east to the native Multnomah people who occupied the area around this dormant stratovolcano. Flanked by 12 glaciers, alpine peaks and with ever-expansive views, the loop is nearly 100 miles of mountain roads that unfold before eager leaf peepers looking to drink in the fall foliage via a bike tour.
Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts can take in the vibrant colors of the Douglas-firs and other deciduous trees changing their leaves from waxy green to sangria-red this season. Mountain bikers will gush over the Sandy Ridge Trail System that has a growing network of single-track trails all set on federal lands that take you from dense forest to impressive lookout points.
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GREATER WILLIAMSBURG | VIRGINIA
Our guide to celebrating American history in Colonial Williamsburg reveals the history-laden landscape of eastern Virginia. This season, we are taking our two wheels and hitting the trails for the mild temps and brightly-hued leaves changing overhead. When planning your leaf peeping trip to Greater Williamsburg, consider packing a picnic and journeying to the nature-centric and educational Yorktown Battlefield Colonial National Historical Park, another of the region’s family-focused destinations that does not disappoint.
After learning about the country’s battle towards independence, you can hit the Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile roadway connecting Yorktown and Historic Jamestown for a fall foliage bike tour along the river where the colorful forest will delight leaf peepers of all ages. Mighty oak and pine trees trace the area of Jamestown where you will also find the ruins of the first permanent English settlement in North America. Take a break at a local café to savor some hot apple cider and experience those cozy fall feelings the season is known for.
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