Special Report

The Best National Parks to Visit in the Fall

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26. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
> Visits in 2018: 25,798
> Change in visits from 2017: -8.5%

One of the lesser-visited national parks, Isle Royale is an island on Lake Superior that contains a few smaller lakes of its own. Deciduous trees, including maples that provide fall color, are more prevalent on the western side of the island. Note that most of the park is roadless, so be prepared to hike, canoe, or kayak to experience the backcountry.

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25. North Cascades National Park, Washington
> Visits in 2018: 30,085
> Change in visits from 2017: -0.8%

Another less crowded national park is North Cascades, which features glaciers, alpine lakes, and rugged mountains. State Highway 20, the scenic road that runs through the park, is part of the Cascades Loop, a longer 440-mile scenic drive. Berry bushes, maples, and western larches provide an array of colors from late September through October.

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24. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
> Visits in 2018: 153,094
> Change in visits from 2017: -8.9%

Aspens along Wheeler Peak scenic drive provide fall color amid a backdrop of bare mountains and evergreen forest in this eastern Nevada national park. Home to the Lehman Caves and some of the oldest trees on earth, the bristlecone pines, this lesser-known national park is a hidden gem.

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23. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
> Visits in 2018: 239,656
> Change in visits from 2017: 1.0%

Voyageurs National Park contains over 500 islands and 655 miles of shoreline. The park is over 40% water, so be prepared to bring a boat or sign up for a boat tour. Alternatively, leave your car behind and take an inland hike to view the foliage from within the forest. Voyageurs is also an excellent place to observe the night sky and see the Milky Way and occasionally the Northern Lights.

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22. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
> Visits in 2018: 308,962
> Change in visits from 2017: 0.6%

The least-visited of the four national parks in Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison encompasses the most scenic section of Black Canyon, a 2,000-foot deep, 48-mile long canyon with scrub oak foliage visible along the rim. Aspen groves along Oak Flat Loop Trail also provide autumn color.