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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Just to be clear—there is never a bad time to visit a National Park! Except for during road closures, wild fires, rush-hour like traffic on holidays, or maybe even extreme temperatures in summer or winter.

That said, many National Parks are especially amazing in autumn, aka America’s favorite season, according to a recent BuzzFeed survey. Not only does fall welcome far fewer crowds and more manageable temperatures to our nation’s public parks, but it also brings with it the changing of the leaves, bringing out nature’s wild palette of colorful trees. Want to see the best of the best for fall? Look no further than these top picks.

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Acadia National Park: Maine

New England is world-renowned for its fall color and festivities. Consider Acadia New England’s highest-rated park to visit at the most beautiful time of the year—without all those annoying summer crowds to contend with.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Tennessee and North Carolina

Like Acadia, America’s most visited National Park is brimming with over 100 assorted tree species. Spoiler alert: they burst into color in autumn. What’s more, there’s less humidity!

Mount Rainier National Park: Washington

Seeing Mount Rainier from Seattle is one thing—a very cool thing. But seeing Mount Rainier up close and personal against a foreground of reds, oranges, yellows, and coniferous greens is even better. Mount Rainier National Park is more than deserving of its almost perfect 5-star visitor rating.

Yosemite National Park: California

When the trees turn in this world-famous valley, it’s as if Bob Ross started painting on a vertical gray canvas with colors from the top of a rainbow. In short, Yosemite in fall is magic, even if the popular waterfalls are flowing at their weakest then.

Zion National Park: Utah

Like Yosemite, Zion is a wonderful valley to visit in autumn. But instead of a gray granite canvas, you’ll see fall colors against the righteous Red Rock of Southern Utah. On top of that, you won’t have to share this tightly-squeezed, intimate canyon with nearly as many crowds as you do in summer.

ALSO: Earn rewards good toward hotels when you join Orbitz Rewards!

Rocky Mountain National Park: Colorado

As the third-highest National Park in the lower 48 (after Sequoia and Rainier), Rocky Mountain will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. And it, like the others on this list, is a doozy during autumn. Although nighttime temperatures can get quite chilly, daytime temps are a joy to hike in.

Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming

Although this state’s other National Park (Grand Teton) is equally beautiful in fall and totally worth pairing with, Yellowstone is the undeniable standout. Better yet, you’ll get to avoid the nasty traffic that usually jams the park in summer.

Glacier National Park: Montana

Let’s be honest—Glacier might be America’s prettiest park in both summer and fall. But like so many others on this list, you won’t have to navigate as many cars or hikers while exploring this award-winning gem in fall.

Shenandoah National Park: Virginia

Back East we go to its low-lying Appalachian Mountains that are absolutely covered in color during the month of October. While exploring Shenandoah, don’t miss the scenic, 105-mile Skymile Drive that traverses the entire length of the park.

Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona

While the Grand Canyon‘s South Rim in fall is terrific without summer’s bottlenecks, what you’re really after here is the North Rim’s Aspen trees that change from late September through early October. Color and a canyon—count us in!

Tagged: Arizona, California, Colorado, National Parks, New England, North Carolina, Seattle, Southwest, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Blake Snow

Blake Snow

Blake writes for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies as a seasoned writer-for-hire and energetic travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah with his loving family and loyal dog, and hopes to visit all seven continents someday.

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