Summer may be over but the best season for visiting the forests is just about to start. Everyone knows that fall is the time when trees shed their leaves and prepare for the coming of winter. But before they do, the forest undergoes a dramatic transformation that sets the scene for an impressive celebration of beauty and color.
The forests of New England host some of the most spectacular displays of multi-colored foliage and attract hordes of leaf-lovers from across the globe each fall. But, there are plenty of other woodsy locations that feature splashes of yellow, showers of orange, and red carpet treatment for everyone simply for showing up.
If you will be hitting the road this fall in search of a fabulous forest vacation there are a number of venues featuring functions you don’t want to miss. Here are some of the most pristine forests in the world that are “Must-See” locations for every forest devotee.
Lake Tahoe: Nevada, USA
Nothing compares to the brilliant aspen trees standing like a golden band around the sapphire waters of Lake Tahoe nestled at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fall is the best time to visit North Lake Tahoe and is becoming an increasingly popular destination for outdoor excursionists. Plan to hike Flume Trail and Visit Eagle Falls in Emerald Bay State Park for some of the most stunning views imaginable.
Hraunfossar Falls: West Region, Iceland
The waterfalls seen at Hraunfossar flow across the face of ancient lava falls creating a truly amazing spectacle. The falls and surrounding waterways are surrounded in a thick blanket of forest, which is a vibrant green for most of the year. During the fall, the scenery changes and is painted with dazzling gold, red and orange. During this time the Hraunfossar truly lives up to its name, “Lava Falls.”
Kiyomizu-Dera: Kyoto, Japan
No mention of forest splendor would be complete without a mention of the great forests of Japan. Shirin-Yoku or Forest Bathing originated in a land that is intimately connected with the trees that have supported their life and culture for thousands of years. The ravishing maple tree is the prima donna of Kiyomizu-Dera and always attracts a crowd. If you are looking for that special something that comes from being quiet and alone, take a trip to nearby Kurama, a more secluded village in the mountains.
Denali National Park: Alaska, USA
This one is going to be cold, and if you are hoping to beat the snows you will want to travel as early as you can in the fall. On the other hand, arriving later in the fall will increase the chances of observing the brilliant Aura Borealis. You will get a full view of Mount Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, towering over the multi-colored plains, dotted with deep green pines and conifers. Colors you can expect in Denali are much deeper than those of the southern forests and include yellows, ambers, and crimsons.
Plitvice Lakes National Park: Lika, Croatia
The magic forests of Rivendell from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” saga have nothing on the natural wonder of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, and that’s only in the summer when everything is green and growing. During the fall, the reds and yellows of the foliage outline silver cliffs and emerald waterfalls in juxtapositions too sublime for description. The area features a number of beautiful lakes connected to each other through waterfalls and accessed through beautiful pathways, which should be free from summer crowds at this time.
Snowdonia: Wales, UK
Snowdonia in North Wales is a mountainous region that attracts hikers from everywhere to trek through 1500 miles of trails snaking through lakes, rivers, hills, and forests. During the fall, it is common for a fog to set in and smudge the brilliant autumnal foliage with solemn grays and nostalgic ochres. Take a warm coat, a hot drink and a good friend as you visit Lake Bala or hike to the top of Snowdon for some breathtaking vistas.
Lac-Superieur, Mont-Tremblant: Quebec, Canada
Most people visiting Mont Tremblant come just after fall to go sliding the slopes. But if you visit before October you will see the splendid season the local call “Les Coleurs” (The Colors) when the forests in the region explode in an impressive spectrum of colors. Best of all, there are so many ways to take in the spectacle from hiking along the steep mountain ridges to simply ambling through the miles of woodsy trails. There are even some heart-pumping zip lines.
With summer over, you can expect the crowds to be gone and an excellent opportunity to disconnect from day to day life and bask the beneficial solitude for relaxation and good health. The atmosphere of the forest rests the souls and soothes the senses and has scientifically-proven effects on balancing the health.
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