Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks September 30 – October 6
We’re starting this fall foliage road trip at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Maine. Due to the cold weather, the foliage peaks earlier here making it the perfect first stop for a leaf peeping trip. There are visitor activities year-round at Aroostook NWR including wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing, canoeing and kayaking, environmental education and photography.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 13 - October 20
Check out the bright red that dots the foliage near this stream. Part of what makes New England falls so famous are the red tones of autumn maple trees that give deeper dimension to our October views. Moosehorn NWR offers over 50 miles of trails through many different upland and wetland habitats.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Nulhegan Division: Peaks September 26 – October 3
The high elevations here in Brunswick, Vermont means the leaves peak early, showcasing the beautiful reds of the state’s most well-known tree, the sugar maple. The Nulhegan Basin Division of Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge has scenic overlooks at the Visitor's Station and Lewis Pond for the perfect backdrop to a stunning fall day.
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks September 30 - October 6
Stopping at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in the fall not only guarantees views of awe-inspiring autumn colors but secures you a first row ticket to the annual migration of over 20,000 ducks!
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 11 - October 18
Take a stroll down Timber Point Trail during mid to late October for views like these. Though sometimes elusive, the refuge is also home to the New England cottontail, American woodcock, and migratory birds that seek refuge in the valuable saltmarsh and estuarine habitats.
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 11 - October 18
When we narrow our focus to just the branches overhead we can miss some pretty fantastic fall transitions. This marsh at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge reminds us to keep our eyes open to unexpected beauty. The diverse habitats at Great Bay NWR support many native plants and animals, including New Hampshire's greatest concentration of wintering bald eagles.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 13 – October 20
Let’s be honest, there is never a bad time to visit the ocean. Just because “beach season” is over doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to see and do on the coast. Check out these stunning views of the bright crimson glasswort at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 5 – October 12
The bright blooming yellow of local golden rod is a clear sign of fall. Golden rod have a bad reputation for causing allergies however, their pollen spores are much too large to be airborne or enter your sinuses. The true source of your sneezes is ragweed, a plant that happens to grow nearby and bloom at the same time. Meander down the golden HQ Trail for an accessible adventure at Iroquois NWR.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Fort River Division: Peaks October 10 – October 17
Western Massachusetts is known for its beautiful rural views and the Fort River Division of Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is no exception. Stroll along the completely wheelchair accessible one mile scenic trail and take in stunning views of mountain ridgelines, forests, and rolling fields.
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 13 - October 20
Although these lovely leaves are enough to inspire anyone to stop by for a visit, if you’re looking for more to see, check out the refuges bird watching brochure to see just a few of the 220 species that visit the refuge this time of year.
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 16 – October 23
You may not be able to get a hawks eye view of the refuge but we promise you the Menunketesuck River is just as beautiful from the ground. The Salt Meadows Unit (seen here) is a stunning example of a healthy and thriving estuary. These special places filter water and help absorb storm flooding.
Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 21 – October 28
Who says New England is the only place to see some fantastic fall colors? Views at Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge look so quintessential New England fall that you may forget you’re in Pennsylvania. Travelling the Cherry Valley Ridge Trail will take you 3.2 miles through upland oak and pine forests and open fields along the Kittatinny Ridge.
Erie National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 11 – October 18
The variety of trees at Erie National Wildlife Refuge is unmatched. The bright green of evergreens create a stunning contrast to the yellows of trees like the American beech, black cherry, and striped maple. Be sure to visit the observation blind on Boland/Ritchie Road in the Sugar Lake Division which overlooks Reitz's Pond for both wildlife viewing and leaf peeping.
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 11 – October 18
In the fall the floodplain at Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge becomes a golden hued spectacle. For easy viewing, the refuge offers a 1.5-mile auto tour that runs along the western shore of Middle Island and features several stopping points with informational panels.
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks September 21 – September 28
With its high elevation and cool temperature fall comes early in Canaan Valley. Leaf-color changes start at the tops of mountains and work their way down the slopes. Come prepared, sub-freezing mornings start in September and the first snow flurries can be seen here in early October!
Patuxent Research Refuge: Peaks October 19 – October 26
During the day be dazzled by the bright, fiery colors of the refuge and stay nearby for the evening when you may catch a glimpse of the Eastern red bat. This bat hangs amongst the leaves, having no trouble at all camouflaging into the background.
Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 20 - October 31
Take in the views of the vast wetlands along Wildlife Drive at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This gem of Virginia has an astounding diversity of birds and wildlife and is home to over 650 species of plants that display this fountain of fall colors.
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: Peaks October 22 – October 28
For our final stop of this trip, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is sure to delight. With its huge cyprus trees and spectacular marsh, there’s plenty of exciting wildlife to see. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a black bear. Preparing for hibernation, bears are very active in the fall. Keep your distance and you may have a shot at catching one of these beautiful animals on camera.
Not in the Northeast? No problem. Find your local national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery.