Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Autumn Colors in Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri

Peak Foliage for Fall Leaves at 3 Sundance Vacations Properties

Did someone say “FALL FOLIAGE?”

These words seem to echo across all the lands when September creeps up, transitioning us from hot-summer days to sweater weather. Between premature pumpkin lattes, burgundy scarves and toasty apple cider, people are also spying on the trees in anticipation for the fall leaves and impending autumn colors to appear.

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We’ve got three Sundance Vacations properties that are perfect for the fall traveler!

Sundance Vacations travelers schedule their fall getaways to hit Oktoberfest celebrations and explore the outdoors before the winter months hit, and although fall fashion and adventures are fine to start after summer passes, no one wants to be the early bird who arrives at their destination to find the trees are still green! In fact, there seems to be a lot of confusion on when exactly the leaves change each year…

So when is the best time to witness peak foliage color change around our Sundance Vacations properties?

Let’s take a look at three great states to see fall colors this year: Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri. You may be surprised by all the different ways you can enjoy the fall foliage with your family!

When Do the Leaves Change in Colorado?

The leaves change in Breckenridge, Colo. and our surrounding state properties early, typically peaking from the beginning of September to the middle of the month. At our Winter Park destination, the best time to see the leaves change is the end of September, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your Sundance Vacations trip for later in the month or even October to see the brilliant foliage at any of our three Colorado town destinations.

Where To See the Leaves Change in Breckenridge?

While visiting your Sundance Vacations destination in Breckenridge during fall, be sure to check out Boreas Pass Road at the south end of the town by Highway 9.

This historic area used to be a railroad pass that was turned into a dirt road in the 1930s and runs between the town of Como and Breckenridge. Nowadays, people are welcome to come and marvel at the golden aspen trees by walking, biking or even taking a horseback ride down the road.

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Boreas Pass Road in Breckenridge, CO is a wonderful stop to see the rich mustard leaves of fall!

During late August and early September, the trail is often lined with wildflowers. It’s a beautiful spot to see the rich yellows on an afternoon hike or explore the rocky terrain by car.

Stop by the Breckenridge Welcome Center on S. Main Street to learn more about the best trails for what your family is looking to do. While you’re there, pop into their 19th Century log cabin to walk through and see where the old miners stayed years ago and check out some interactive historical exhibits. Keep an eye out for remnants of old railroad structures on your walk or drive to brush up on the history of the area while enjoying the autumn colors.

Where To See the Leaves Change in Frisco?

Just 20 minutes north of Breckenridge is Frisco, Colo. In fact, there’s trails you can take from Frisco to lead you to Breckenridge (or vise versa) that run along Rainbow Lake. There are many shorter, family-friendly systems to see Colorado’s aspens, and a variety of trails to meet your hiking desires.

For the roamers who are looking for a more difficult route, check out the North Ten Mile Creek Trail and see snow-capped mountains year round. Read more about the trail systems in Frisco on the hiking section of the town of Frisco’s website.

The town also offers 12 miles of paved roads for street bikers that can be found on their website, to download maps and mark your path check out the link!  The Summit County Recreational Pathway System has miles and miles of paved roads specifically for outdoor activities (no cars allowed), and connects right to many neighboring towns.

Where To See the Leaves Change in Winter Park?

About an hour and half north of Breckenridge is Winter Park, another stunning place to watch the leaves change.

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This trail system in Winter Park, Co. is a nice stop in the fall.

Sundance Vacations suggests checking out the Discovery Loop — otherwise referred to as Jim Creek Trail — during your stay. This moderate-trail system stretches 6.6 miles and is filled with meadows for seeing fall flowers and the trees in full color.

It’s not too far of a drive from Winter Park and runs alongside of trickling streams, concluding your walk with a waterfall about halfway through the trail.

Check out some other great stops in Winter Park on the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber’s website.

When Do the Leaves Change in Tennessee?

We listed the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee as one of our Must-Visit Fall Destinations last year because of how spotted the area is with multi-colored trees every fall.

The beauty of Tennessee is that the state has a long fall-foliage season, beginning to fill the mountains with reds, oranges and yellows from late September until early November.

Where To See the Leaves Change in Sevierville or Pigeon Forge?

We have two Sundance Vacations properties which are very close to one another in Tennessee, in the towns of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. Only 15 minutes away from one another, these towns experience the same autumn leaf cycles.

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Andrews Bald has some stellar views for a romantic hike.

Depending on the month you visit, there are dozens of different trails and places you could go to see the Smokies full offering of foliage.

If visiting in September, check out Andrews Bald hiking trail for epic views from rock features and overhangs. This trail is only 3.5 miles long and, thanks to the Friends of the Smokies, has smooth stones for its path, forming wooden and rock staircases to make the trails safe for families.

The trail begins with a spruce forest and leads to high-elevation grassy meadows, often referred to as “balds”, which is where the area gets its name from.

There are also great scenic drives for September such as a ride down Parson Branch Road.

If visiting Tennessee in October, check out the upper Sugarland Mountain Trail. It’s a seven-mile path that takes you uphill until you see a view of Gatlinburg and the chimney tops in the valley.  It’s a very quiet trail for a peaceful hike through the spruce trees.

Visit the Pigeon Forge Travel Guide website for the best roads to take your car for a scenic auto tour of the area.

For our travelers who are planning a late October to early November trip, be sure to plan a hike on the Rainbow Falls trail.  This five-mile-long trail involves crossing a boulder field until you traverse down the mountain to find its 80-foot waterfall. This is the highest single-drop waterfall within the Smoky Mountains and is worth the trip!

Where To See the Leaves Change in Gatlinburg?

The Great Smoky Mountains have a very long leaf-change transition, allowing guests in Gatlinburg an opportunity to see the fall colors between mid-September all the way until early November.

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Abrams Falls boasts a large beach area and 20 foot high waterfall.

With over 100 different species of trees in the Smokies, the wooden area takes a slow transition from places of high altitude to lower elevations. This makes September a great time to see the yellow birch trees as well as mountain maples, and October to November the time to see sugar maple, hickories and more. For detailed information on peak times to visit certain areas of the mountain range, visit Gatlinburg’s website.

The Appalachian Trail extends for hundreds of miles, but tackling the roundtrip 3.5-mile portion from Newfound Gap to Indian Gap is a nice stroll to see some color anytime during the foliage season.

If you’re looking for trails peaking during your stay, try getting some pictures of the trees at Alum Cave in October or Abrams Falls.

Alum Cave isn’t really a cave, it’s more like a concaved area. If you go on a rainy day, you may hear water droplets dripping off the ledges above the cove. Hopefully it’s not too cold for icicles!

Try the Abrams Falls in November! After passing over a small footbridge you will find a beautiful waterfall. It’s arguably one of the most scenic trails in the Smoky Mountain range and features hemlock woods and flowers.

Check out some of the other exciting things you could do while you’re around the Smoky Mountains with Sundance Vacations!

When Do the Leaves Change in Missouri?

Late October or early November is the ideal time to visit our Sundance Vacations property in Branson, Missouri to see the peak foliage in the Ozark Mountains.

Branson is the place to see those colorful mixes of greens, reds, oranges and yellows on your autumn adventure! See what you could do while you’re there.

Where To See the Leaves Change in Branson?

Your biggest question is, walk or drive? The whole state is lined with the colors for either activity.

Explore Branson has put together a list of driving tours of various lengths for those who would love to rent a car on their trip to see the blurs of color along the highway or backroads. They have anywhere from hour-long drives to a four-hour tour ending at the Mark Twain National Forest.

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Busiek State Forest is surrounding by wooden areas full of colorful leaves to see while mountain biking.

Hike the White River Valley Trail System or even rent a mountain bike to take the interconnecting loops and explore several of the paths the area has to offer. There’s over 10 miles to explore!

Only 20 minutes from Branson is the Busiek State Forest. This trail system offers moderate-level hiking paths near creeks. The kids might even run into horseback riders on this 20-mile trail system full of vibrant leaves.

As with most outdoor beacons, this part of Missouri allows you to see its beautiful foliage from the sky via helicopter tours and zip line experiences.

Where to Go First: Colorado, Tennessee or Missouri?

So you might be asking yourself which state you’d prefer to see the fall foliage.

It’s tough to decide, but if you’re curious about more things to do in each area, visit our Things to Do pages to decide: Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri.

No matter where you choose, you’re sure to see some stunning autumn colors.

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Sundance Vacations Travel Blog
Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Autumn Colors in Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri
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Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Autumn Colors in Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri
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Fall is a beautiful time of the year to see the autumn colors. Check out these best places to see the leaves change and marvel at the fall foliage in Colorado, Tennessee and Missouri!
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Sundance Vacations

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