Fall Foliage Driving Routes


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Words by Mary Alayne B. Long

 

The beautiful fall colors that take over our landscape this time of year often appear magical.  The amazing mix of hues that fill the hills and valleys all around us can be breathtaking and there’s nothing better than a drive through the countryside to get away from the fast pace of life and take in the brilliant shades of yellow, maroon, orange, scarlet, bronze and brown that can only come from God’s crayon box.  As you plan your own drive through the beautiful Southern scenery; try some of these classic routes to catch some of the best views around.

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In Oklahoma, the Talimena National Scenic Byway is a 54 mile route through the Ouachita National Forest.  It includes many historic sites and offers panoramic vistas of this memorable area.  Known for its spectacular fall foliage, it spans one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies.  This trail is in the heart of Choctaw Country and offers stunning views all year long.

Often called “The Trace”, Woodlands Trace is an easy 43 mile drive through the rolling hills of Kentucky. This winding path through the peaceful countryside creates scenic vistas and provides impressive views of the colorful fall leaves.  It is a great choice for anyone wanting to explore the quiet, seasonal splendors of nature. This idyllic drive crosses Elk and Bison Prairie and will take you along the ridge between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. 

As the highest point in Alabama, Cheaha State Park is one of the best spots in the state to see the leaves as they change.  Talladega Scenic Drive, Skyline Drive and Skyway Motorway carve a path over this beautiful mountain and offer impressive views of the vibrant leaves. Stops at Bald Rock, Pulpit Rock and the main lodge also provide breathtaking views.

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Crossing over steep mountains and deep gorges, Scenic Rough 39 through the Alleghany Highlands in Virginia showcases the undisturbed natural beauty of the area.  Spanning a route that includes  Goshen Pass and George Washington National Forest; this drive will immerse you in natural beauty and amaze with a burst of fall color.

Blue Ridge Parkway, often referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive”  is no great secret.  This wandering road that stretches 469 miles from The Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina all the way to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is a favorite path for leaf lovers each fall.  The views offered on this route are stunning and on a clear day you can see for 50 miles. 

 For peak Fall Foliage updates in your area you can visit www.leafpeepers.com.