Road Trips

4 Scenic Road Trips To Discover Fall Foliage From Coast to Canyons

Fall vacation ideas to help you embrace autumn, from short road trips to epic adventures

The Vacationeer
Stunning image, Blue Ridge Parkway curve, fall foliage, blue sky, Grand Father Mountain, North Carolina.

One of the most memorable ways to experience the seasonal spectacle of autumn is through a leaf-peeping-inspired road trip. Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of colors as you explore winding country roads, majestic mountain passes and more.          

The United States and Canada offer a variety of picturesque routes that promise an unforgettable journey, no matter how long you have to dedicate to the open road. 

Here are four scenic fall road trip ideas from which to choose. 

Aerial image, fall foliage, cityscape, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.    

Short Road Trip Routes For Fall Foliage

British Columbia Jaunt: Vancouver To Whistler     

Estimated Travel Time: 85 miles; this mini road trip allows travelers to be awe-struck with minimal time on the road.      

Starting Point: Vancouver, British Columbia

Begin your journey in the vibrant coastal city of Vancouver. With plenty to do year-round, the city is equally as beautiful in fall. As you leave the urban landscape behind, prepare for the inspiring beauty of the Sea-to-Sky Highway — a route known for its breathtaking scenery — to greet you. 

Scenic Drive Along The Sea-To-Sky Highway

The Sea-to-Sky Highway is a visual feast, offering sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, coastal mountains and lush forests. As you wind your way along the highway, you'll witness the transition from the city's urban jungle to the peaceful charm of the wilderness.

Fall Foliage, park, lake, mountains in the distance, clear blue skies, British Columbia, Canada.    

Enchanting Stop In Squamish

About halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, you'll reach the town of Squamish. Nestled at the base of towering mountains, Squamish offers outdoor enthusiasts plenty of hiking trails, waterfalls and Instagram-worthy viewpoints. 

Ending Point: Whistler, British Columbia.

As you continue your journey along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the road will lead you to the renowned mountain resort town of Whistler. Here, the fall foliage paints the alpine landscape with rich hues of gold and crimson. The charming village and the stunning natural backdrop create a near picture-perfect setting for your autumn escape.

Where To Stay: Embarc Vancouver and Hilton Grand Vacations Club Whistler offer Members and Guests ideal accommodations to begin and end their fall getaway. 

Wide shot, people enjoying picnic, autumn colors, Central Park, New York, New York.    

New England Road Trip Route: NYC To Vermont

Estimated Travel Time: 340 miles; consider breaking it up into three hours daily.

Starting Point: New York City

Begin your journey in the Big Apple, replete with a long list of fall fun to experience before transforming your views from cityscapes to rolling hills. Grab a coffee to go and hit the road, crossing the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson Valley.

Scenic Drive Through The Hudson Valley

Drive along Route 9W, which offers stunning river views and plenty of picturesque spots to capture the changing leaves. Remember to stop by Bear Mountain State Park for panoramic vistas and hiking trails wrapped in autumn hues.

Discover The Berkshires

Cotton candy skies, historic architecture, fall foliage, empty street, the Berkshires, Massachusetts.    

Cross the state line into Massachusetts as you continue north and enter the Berkshires. The winding roads lead you through quaint towns like Stockbridge and Lenox, where historic architecture and shops create an idyllic setting. Consider stopping to stay the night to enjoy the area.      

Insider Tip: Drive along the Mohawk Trail for breathtaking views and ample photo opportunities.

Ending Point: Vermont

Welcome to the crown jewel of fall foliage — Vermont. The Green Mountain State lives up to its name, with its abundant forests becoming a sea of red, orange and gold. The famous Route 100 corridor is a must-drive route, taking you through small villages, covered bridges and stunning scenery.

Where To Stay: Choose from five New York City Hilton Grand Vacations properties; stop at Hilton Garden Inn Lenox Pittsfield in Massachusetts and end at Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain in Vermont. 

Beautiful image, fall foliage, placid lake, mountains in the distance, blue skies, Vermont.    

Great American Road Trips For Fall

Appalachian And Blue Ridge Parkway Experience: Pigeon Forge To Asheville To Williamsburg

Estimated Travel Time: 630 miles; with plenty to see and do at each stop and along the way, you could easily take a week to enjoy this famous region.

Starting Point: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Kick off your Appalachian fall road trip in Pigeon Forge, nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, and explore the beauty and charm of the Smokies. For a scenic drive, travel along the Foothills Parkway for panoramic views that stretch for miles. As you drive from Pigeon Forge to to Asheville, North Carolina, the scenery changes dramatically, with each mile revealing fall beauty.

Aerial view, The Blue Ridge Parkway, fall foliage covered mountains, North Carolina.      

Stopover: Asheville, North Carolina     

This artsy and eclectic city is a haven for fall enthusiasts. Explore the historic Biltmore Estate, where sprawling gardens and grand architecture provide a stunning backdrop for the season's colors.

Meander through boutiques, galleries and farm-to-table restaurants in the downtown area.

Scenic Routes And An All-American Road

Traverse the Blue Ridge Parkway as you leave Asheville, a road famous for its autumnal views. Wind through the Shenandoah Valley, where charming towns and rolling hills come to life with color.

Ending Point: Williamsburg, Virginia 

In Williamsburg, Virginia, history comes alive against the backdrop of fall's splendor. Williamsburg is known for its well-preserved colonial buildings, immersive historical experiences and a full roster of family-friendly things to do.

Sunset painted skies, fall foliage, Smokey Mountains, Tennessee.    

Where To Stay: Begin your journey with a stay at Sunrise Ridge Resort, then stop at The Foundry Hotel Asheville, Curio Collection by Hilton, along the way. Finally, rest your head at The Historic Powhatan, a Hilton Vacation Club, for the remainder of your fall vacation. 

Adventure Through American Canyonlands: Scottsdale To Sedona To Las Vegas

Estimated Travel Time: 430 miles; this action-packed packed route and its destinations offer adventure-loving travelers enough fun to stay busy for a week or more. 

Starting Point: Scottsdale, Arizona

Start your journey in the heart of the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale. Enjoy the cooler seasonal temperatures as you soak in all this desert oasis offers. Whether you want to play a round on one of the famous golf courses, connect with nature or enjoy fine dining, there's something for everyone.

The Scenic Route Filled With Fall Desert Colors 

Sunset, fall colored desert grass, cacti, Sonoran Desert, Arizona.    

While deserts aren't often associated with fall foliage, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the hues that emerge in the Southwest. The golden grasses and rust-colored shrubs create a unique tapestry of fall colors against the arid backdrop.

Stopover: Sedona's Majestic Red Rocks

The first stop on your road trip is the unique town of Sedona. As you wind through Oak Creek Canyon, the foliage transforms the landscape into stunning colors against the backdrop of Sedona's iconic red rocks.

How long you stay is up to you, but there's plenty to do in Sedona, from spa days to visiting national parks to going off the grid and exploring vortexes

Journey To Las Vegas         

From Sedona, set your sights on the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. The drive through the Arizona and Nevada desert reveals a unique charm that emerges in the fall months. As the sun sets, the desert landscapes come alive with warm hues, creating a memorable experience as you approach the neon lights of Las Vegas.

Fall foliage, Oak Creek Canyon, Cathedral Rock, blue skies, Sedona, Scottsdale.   

Ending Point: Las Vegas

Arrive in Las Vegas, where the dazzling lights and entertainment of the Las Vegas Strip await.

While not known for its foliage, Las Vegas offers its own excitement and glamour that contrasts beautifully with the natural beauty you've witnessed along the way.

Where To Stay: For comfortable stays along the way, Hilton Grand Vacations offers various options in each destination. Choose the Arizona and Las Vegas resorts that suit you best.  

Read "Level-Up Your Road Trip And Stay With Hilton Grand Vacations" for one Member's road trip tips.

HGV Newsletter Sign Up

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

Popular Articles