Where to Get Lost: Our Favorite Fall Hikes
Crisp, cool & refreshing. This might best be the best way to describe an adult beverage in the summer sun...but since we're now in the season of Fall, we feel that there's no better way to describe the perfect weather for a day out on the trail. We passed a few notes around the office, sent out an email or two to our Everyday Adventurers and came back with a list of a (few) of our favorite fall hikes.
Lace up the boots, grab your sunglasses (& Croakies!) and head up to the trailhead and enjoy!
South Cottonwood Trail
Where: Southwest of Bozeman, MT || When: Anytime! || Who: The best partners for this hike is my friend (Croakies ambassador Alix 😉) along with our dogs Casey, Cubby and Goldie.
This trail follows South Cottonwood Creek through a dense old-growth forest with lush riparian areas and meadows, criss-crossing the creek along the way. The trail offers a nice mellow hike and you can go as far or close as you like. The trail is great for dog as it offers many possibilities to play and refresh in the creek.
Sandra Gilson, Creative Services
Bears Den Trail
Where: Bluemont, VA || When: Fall || Who: Everyone
There is an abundance of different places one can venture out to to find the colors of fall changing. One of my favorite places is Bears Den Trail (18393 Blue Ridge Mountain Rd. Bluemont, VA 20135) This location is a collection of boulders, rocks, trees and beautiful landscape that overlooks the Shenandoah Valley. The easiest way to get there is to drive up to the top near the trail center to park, then hike the rest of the way to this outstanding overlook. The best times to view this amazing location is in fall as the colors around the valley are starting to pop full of vibrant and beautiful colors. The sunsets/sunrises are unforgettable as the light of day sinks behind the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once you have visited, you are certain to return to enjoy all of nature’s beauty around us. Several friends and family have joined me on my adventures here. It’s a great place to take people who love scenic views and the great outdoors.
Lava Lake Trail
Where: Gallatin Canyon (Between Bozeman & Big Sky, MT) || When: This trail is great year round. || Who: Same partners as the first hike 😉
It’s a 6 mile round trip hike with a scenic mountain lake waiting as a reward on top. It follows Cascade Creek through a thick evergreen forest, continuing past a few waterfalls to a forest-lined lake surrounded by rock walls and treeless mountaintops.
Sandra Gilson, Creative Services
Franconia Notch State Park
Where: Franconia Notch, NH || When: Anytime! || Who: My husband and beagle-mix Roux
Franconia Notch in NH is the perfect place for a fall hike! Located off Interstate 93 in the White Mountains area, the autumn leaves turn vibrant shades of fiery hues in October and the air feels crisp and clean. I compare it to being inside a kaleidoscope when a breeze whips through the trees – the color is unlike anywhere else! It is always crowded but never feels that way. Everyone is outgoing and seems happy to be in the outdoors! It cleanses the spirit after the oppressive heat of a summer in a non-air conditioned house. My husband and I bring our rust-colored beagle mix, Roux, for some much needed exercise and we meet other friendly pets along the way. I always bring along a pumpkin spice coffee! This hike is the thing I look forward to most every autumn!
Sarah Aellig, Sales
Hancock Notch Trail
Where: Lincoln, NH || When: Year Round || Who: Someone who's motivated — it's a bit of a... hike!
Beginning near the hairpin corner of Route 112 (also known as the Kancamagus Scenic Highway), the Hancock Notch trail is an out & back trail that’s a nice retreat from the crowds that traffic the trails closer to the town of Lincoln and ski resort Loon Mountain. Pack plenty of water and snacks – this is 12+ miles that meanders thru the Kanc. backcountry.
Dan Brown, Marketing
Where: Millinocket, ME || When: Early Fall || Who: Best Shared with Friends!
Located in Baxter State Park outside of Millinocket Maine, this remote mountain takes effort and planning just to reach. Summiting Maine’s highest peak is an experience unlike any other; while the hike is demanding no matter the route, pristine, untouched wilderness surrounds the mountain in every direction. The adventure is best shared with friends that appreciate nature and are willing to go the extra mile(s) to get there. If you’re daring enough, the Knife’s Edge trail is guaranteed to give your Katahdin experience an extra thrill.
Jamie Walter, Photographer
Artist's Bluff Loop
Where: Franconia Notch, NH || When: Fall, obviously! || Who: Whoever, but be sure to carpool!
Located at the northern exit of Franconia State Park in New Hampshire, Artist’s Bluff offers an amazing view for not a whole lot o’ effort. Start in the parking lot across from Cannon and wind your way up to the bluff that provides panoramic views of Cannon and Mount Lafayette.
Dan Brown, Marketing
Great Falls Park
Where: McLean, VA || When: After a rainstorm (but be careful!) || Who: Solo or with a friend!
Another of my favorites is Great Falls Park which is one of the most spectacular landmarks in the area. Its endless array of winding trails to hike and explore, the rushing waves of the water crashing below the rock overlooks are extraordinary to experience in person. On any given day during fall you can see the colors changing throughout the park. Watch near the rapids and you’re sure to see the kayakers in abundance. You’re able to see various wildlife, flowers and birds as you enjoy the beauty of the park. If you are in the mood for picnics, BBQs or hanging out with family and friends, this is a wonderful spot to enjoy the festivities. Whether you venture out on the Virginia or Maryland side, you are sure to find crisp fresh air, wildlife galore, and a wilderness that welcomes you with open arms. I usually take my day pack, hammock and my trusty companion (labrador – Anela) to accompany me in my adventures.