Photo credit: ForestWander
Fall leaves are peaking all over the United States. The brilliant yellows, oranges and reds are in full swing from the Midwest, Central Plains, Northeast and upper Northwest, according to Stormfax.com. Here are peak foliage times for a few favorites:
- Minnesota, Wisconsin and most of the Midwest peak in mid-October
- Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and northern Arizona and New Mexico mostly mid- to late-October
- Northern New England states from late September through mid-October
- Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, Kentucky Tennessee and the lower New England states through late-October
- Parts of Oregon and northern California, and a thin belt through northern Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia through early November
Here are a few favorites for motorcyclists:
Skyline Drive, Va.
Photo by Maisnam via Wikimedia Commons
This 105-mile stretch of road carves its way through the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. In the fall, the panoramic vistas are simply stunning. The only drawback is the weekend traffic in autumn is typically bumper to bumper. Avoid it by heading to the park early on a weekday, when traffic is typically lighter. Or, look at it this way: Crawling traffic allows you more time to enjoy the scenery. For info about attractions in the area check Skyline Drive.
Tunnel of Trees, Mich.
Photo by ellenm1 via Flickr
The beautiful Tunnel of Trees road, which skirts Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline, is a motorcyclist’s dream come true. It’s a narrow, two-lane 22-mile-long road surrounded — as the name implies — by trees that are simply stunning in the fall. This road offers some twists, but the speed limit is low for this pleasure ride, and not one meant to challenge your maneuverability. Start this ride in Harbor Springs, Mich. View the route here
Route 100, Vt.
Photo by Patrick via Wikimedia Commons
New England is still considered by many to be the ultimate leaf peeping destination. Mass Audubon reports that more than 1 million tourists descend on the area during the leaf-peeping season, which injects more than $1 billion into the local economy. Motorcycle.com says Vermont’s Route 100 is one of the prettiest roads that typifies all New England has to offer — colorful leaves, picturesque farmland and rolling hills. This 200-mile road stretches from roughly Wilmington, Vt. to almost the Canadian border. Take a virtual tour here.
Pig Trail Scenic Byway, Ozark, Ark.
Photo by mabecerra via Flickr
Located in the heavily wooded Boston Mountains in the Ozarks, the 19-mile Pig Trail is one of the best rides in the South. In some sections, you will find yourself riding through a tunnel of brilliantly colored foliage. Legend has it the trail got its name in honor of University of Arkansas Razorback fans and students. Read more here.
Before You Head Out
- StormFax has a list of fall foliage hotlines to help you plan your trip.
- Book hotels as soon as you can; they fill up quickly during the fall. Use an app like TripAdvisor for alerts about sudden weather changes.
- We know you know this, but give your bike a once-over before hitting the highway. You can find high quality, cheap motorcycle tires that won’t take a big bite from your travel budget.
- Motorcycle Tours offers guide-led tours, if you’d prefer to ride with an experience foliage fan.
- Check the weather and be prepared for severe temperature changes, especially in mountainous areas.