Which state has the most beautiful autumn

Indian Summer - Breathtaking foliage color

The Indian Summer in the USA is legendary. It is the time when the country shows itself again from its most beautiful side shortly before the onset of winter. It is unusually warm and dry at this time of year, the sky is bright blue and the leaves show themselves in a veritable orgy of colors. An El Dorado for the “leaf peeper” who enjoy the colorful foliage, which is called “foliage” in the USA. However, the American Indian summer is limited to an area that stretches from the mid-Atlantic states to New England.

Table of Contents
What is the Indian Summer? | What makes the Indian Summer so special? | What is there interesting to say about the color of the leaves and the process? | What is the best travel time to experience the Indian Summer in the USA? | What are the best places to experience the Indian summer? | Worthwhile Activities During Indian Summers | Experience the Indian Summer by rental car or mobile home | The Indian Summer in Canada

We have put together the most important information about the Indian Summer phenomenon for you here.

What is the Indian Summer?

The term "Indian Summer" describes late summer and early autumn in the Adirondack Mountains in the northeastern United States. It is unclear where the name for the phenomenon comes from. It is said that Native Americans once used this time of year to harvest their crops during this post-summer weather. The term has been in use since the 18th century. In Germany, this time of year is known as Indian Summer.

When exactly the natural spectacle, Indian Summer, is introduced in the USA, however, depends on the weather and the night frost. Frosty nights and warm days caused by warm air from the south and southwest are the prerequisites in this weather period so that the color explosion can start. Indian Summer occurs in North America in the Mid-Atlantic, New England, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, American Midwest, Great Plains, and Canada. Mostly, however, the Indian Summer in North America is only associated with the New England states on the east coast and Canada.

What makes the Indian Summer so special?

The months in early autumn when the leaves change color are called Indian Summer. All color nuances from the fiery color spectrum can then be seen on the trees, which attracts many tourists to the states on the east coast during this weather period. It starts with the leaves of the red maple, followed by the sugar maple and yellow hazelnut. Over time, red oak, beech, elm, ash, birch and many other tree species also contribute their part to the unique red, yellow and orange color explosion in the respective region. One of the reasons for this blaze of color is that North America has a large variety of tree species. Over 800 different types of trees can be found here. For comparison: In Europe it is only just over 50. The Indian summer on the North American continent is a natural phenomenon that should be seen once in a lifetime.

What is there interesting to say about the color of the leaves and the process?

The color of the foliage from green to brightly colored begins when the sunlight begins to wane towards the end of the year and the night frost sets in. The days are getting shorter, less sunlight hits the leaves and less and less chlorophyll is formed until the production of the leaf green comes to a complete standstill. The chlorophyll turns the leaves green; when it disappears, the “correct” color of the leaf becomes visible, which is orange, red or yellow depending on the color (beta-carotene, flavonol, anthocyanin) present.

What is the best travel time to experience the Indian Summer in the USA?

The intensity of the red, yellow or orange discoloration of the leaves in the Indian Summer depends, among other things, on the rain, the sugar content of the leaves of the deciduous trees, the number of hours of the day and the temperatures. It is therefore difficult to predict how intense the Indian summer will come to light in each year and when the natural phenomenon will peak. This makes it difficult to determine the best time to travel to a particular area in advance.

The main travel season is the month of October, but the first discolorations can sometimes be seen in the north of the country as early as the end of September, which then shift to the south in the course of autumn. Basically, the further north you go, the earlier you can expect the color of the leaves. In New England states such as Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont on the east coast, autumn foliage color usually peaks between the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. In the states of Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and on Rhode Island, the “peak foliage” can usually be expected around Columbus Day, which is celebrated in mid-October.

tip: Use the page https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/ to see on a map the chronological sequence of the leaf coloration in the Indian Summer in the current year. So you can plan your trip according to this.

What are the best places to experience the Indian summer?

A classic destination for autumn foliage watchers are the Adirondacks behind New York and Massachusetts ‘capital Boston. The park around Lake Placid, where the 1980 Winter Olympics was held, begins about 470 kilometers north of New York.

Another popular destination for tourists who want to experience the natural phenomenon at this time of year in North America are the Great Smoky Mountains in the state of Tennessee, in which the maple tree foliage creates colorful worlds of color. Interesting places there are in addition to the unique landscape of the national park with its impressive waterfalls, among others Pigeon Forge, where Dolly Parton once started her "Dollywood" and Gatlinburg, from where the Great Smokey Mountains with their unique color spectrum can be wonderfully explored by car or hike to let.

North America's Berkshires in the state of Massachusetts are also worth a visit. Although the colorful forests there have been pushed back a little by vineyards and orchards, this offers its own charm. The colorful spots on the mountain sides are reflected in the surrounding lakes, a wonderful sight that can be enjoyed while enjoying freshly harvested cranberries and apples.

Or experience the natural spectacle of Indian Summer on a wonderful road trip on Route 100, which runs from north to south through Vermont. Here, too, the Adirondacks play a role.

But not only the states in the east of the USA have an Indian summer to offer. The leaves of the deciduous trees in Denali Park in Alaska also change color. The play of colors begins much earlier at this location, where the highest mountain in the USA, Mount McKinley, is located. Here you can already enjoy the colorful play of colors of the leaves of the deciduous trees at the end of August.

Worthwhile activities during the Indian Summer

The Indian Summer invites you to a variety of outdoor activities in the open air. After all, it is the last time of the year when the landscape can be enjoyed in warm temperatures and without snow. Thus, the Indian Summer offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities in nature such as hiking, kayaking or mountain biking. Many of the colorful forests are on and around lakes or are generally in areas where there are many lakes, such as Vermont.

In addition, one of the world's most famous long-distance hiking trails leads through the colorful forests of the Indian Summer: the Appalachian Trail. Even if you do not have time to hike the entire route over 350 kilometers, it is still worthwhile to take a day tour or a short multi-day hike on the well-known hiking trail and enjoy the colorful splendor.

Experience the Indian summer by rental car or mobile home

In autumn, when the forests begin to glow with the colors of maple, sugar maple and more, the states in the northeast of the USA can also be wonderfully explored by motorhome or rental car. The region is commonly known as New England and includes the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Central Atlantic states join New England in the west.

For example, a round trip via Hartford, Litchfield Hills, the Mohawk Trail, Burlington, Smuggler’s Notch, the Kancamagus Highway and the White Mountains to Portland and Camden to Acadia National Park is very nice.

However, the northeastern United States is not a cheap travel destination. Because New England is one of the most expensive parts of the country. Nevertheless, the round trip is worth it. Because here everything revolves around the Indian Summer and all imaginable views of the colors and the splendor of the colorful forests are offered.

If you want, you can easily extend the trip for another seven days if you make a detour to Brunswick and spend a few more days at the individual locations. Rafting tours, hikes or bike tours invite you to experience the area even more intensively in autumn.

More beautiful travel destinations in the Indian Summer in the USA

  • Route 7, Connecticut
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
  • Highway 89, Grand Teton National Park Wyoming
  • Park Loop Road, Arcadia National Park, Maine
  • Denali National Park & ​​Preserve, Alaska
  • Brattleboro - Newport, Vermont
  • Sonoma - Napa Valley, California
  • Gatlinburg - Wears Valley, Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee
  • Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

The Indian Summer in Canada

When the leaves on the trees in the states of the USA change color at the beginning of autumn and the forests turn into a colorful landscape, it is also Indian summer in the forests of Canada. The east of Canada in particular is worth a trip here and can be combined with a visit to New England if necessary. The national parks in particular are worth visiting in Canada during these weeks when the leaves on the trees change color in autumn.

In these national parks of Canada, the Indian summer can be experienced in all its blaze of color

  • Algonquin Provincial Park: The Algonquin Provincial Park is located in Canada in the province of Ontario and offers colorful trees as well as numerous lakes, towering cliffs, swamps and a diverse fauna. If you are lucky you can see bears here too. The park is located not far from Toronto in Canada. Canada's capital, Ottawa, is around a three-hour drive away. The visit can be ideally combined with a detour to the Parc national du Canada de la Mauricie.
  • Parc national du Canada de la Mauricie: La Mauricie National Park is located in Canada in the province of Québec not far from Canada's capital Ottawa. Here, too, the leaves change color in an inimitable way in autumn.
  • Killbear Provincial Parc: The park in Canada's province of Ontario is best known for its coastline and sandy beaches. There are different species of turtles and other rare animals to be admired here. And of course the colors of the forests in autumn.
  • Laurentides Provincial Park: This Canadian park has over 2000 lakes, many mountains and a beautiful landscape to offer. Here you can not only admire the forests in their bright colors, but also go fishing or other outdoor activities.
  • Thousand Islands National Park: The park is located in the border region between the USA and Canada and is the smallest national park in Canada. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve consists of a whopping 1,864 islands.
  • Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier: Québec is a real paradise for all those who want to celebrate the Indian summer in all its glory. For example, the national park located around 40 kilometers north of Québec City on the river valley of the Rivière Jacques-Cartier is very beautiful. Here you can marvel at the 20 different types of maple trees and nine types of oak from the boat, with the province of Québec being best known for its sugar maple forests. A visit to the national park can be ideally combined with a detour to the city of Québec City.