Consider a holiday road trip to and through several colorful national parks.
RIM ROCK DRIVE, COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
in the autumnal vibes by visiting sunset-tinted canyons on a spectacular drive
through Colorado National Monument. Situated in the
greater Colorado Plateau, this park features breathtaking landscapes of
sheer-walled, red rock canyons hundreds of millions of years old.
Canyons visible along Rim Rock Drive, Colorado
Tour the park by driving along Rim Rock Drive, a 23-mile trek that offers a bird’s eye view of the canyons. You might spot bighorn sheep or eagles soaring across the Colorado sky. Stop at scenic overlook spots to capture the perfect photo and learn more about the canyons. Some bits of Rim Rock Drive can be challenging, narrow, and steep, so you need to exercise caution along the road and share with bicyclists.
CADES COVE LOOP ROAD, GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Get ready to see some iconic American wildlife when you cruise through Great Smoky Mountains National Park along Cades Cove Loop Road. A one-way, 11-mile loop through the park’s broad valley, surrounded by mountains and flecked with autumnal-tinged trees, this drive is one of the best ways to see the park’s wildlife, including white-tailed deer, turkeys, black bears, coyotes and more.
|Look for wildlife along Cades Cove Loop.|
With all the wildlife spotting opportunities it offers, this drive can be a popular destination for park visitors and does see congestion during peak hours. Make sure to give yourself enough time to complete the loop – at least two to four hours – and be courteous to other park visitors along the way.
CEDAR BREAKS SCENIC BYWAY, CEDAR BREAKS NATIONAL MONUMENT
want to experience fall colors in a unique setting, make a trip to Cedar Breaks National Monument in
Utah. Cedar Mountain is often considered one of the best places to
experience bursts of fall colors, and with many scenic highways near the park,
there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy colors of the season.
Hoodoos in Cedar Breaks National Monument
Try the five-mile scenic drive on Utah Highway 148, heading north, to see some of the park’s main attractions, including the North View and Sunset overlooks and Point Supreme campground and picnic area. Along this path, you’ll enjoy the scenery of both the lush meadow and subalpine forests of the Markagunt Plateau as well as the coral and orange hues of the park's geologic amphitheater.
SCENIC DRIVE, ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
not leaf-peeping, you can still get your fill of national park orange
landscapes when you visit Arches National Park. The park is home
to over 2,000 orange-brown natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds
of pinnacles, fins, and giant balanced rocks, making it the perfect out of this
world experience to trek through this fall.
You can hike to Delicate Arch or see it at the viewpoint.
Taking a scenic drive along the park’s paved roads is one way to get a lot out of the park if time or physical ability is limited. If you’re visiting the park plan to visit the Windows section to peer at some of the largest arches in the park. Don’t miss Delicate Arch Viewpoint for a look at the world’s most famous stone arch.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Information courtesy of Rebecca Watson, National Parks Foundation blog https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/colorful-fall-road-trips-through-national-parks