“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus
Make way for fall colors: Gold, yellow, orange and red are all set to arrive, ready to delight with their brief but beautiful display. Viewing fall foliage is a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon and The Nature Conservancy's many preserves are prime destinations. So pack a lunch and plan a weekend escape to one of these special places that your support is helping to protect.
1. Barr Hill Natural Area, Vermont
Barr Hill is a minor mountain by Vermont standards at just 2,120 feet elevation. But this 256-acre preserve presents unparalleled vistas, easily reached with little climbing on a short nature trial. Peak colors should arrive last week of September through first week of October.
More: Vermont is renowned for fall colors! At the 365-acre Raven Ridge Natural Area, you will find an enjoyable hike up to the ridge with magnificent views of the Champlain Valley. Also explore the Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain.
2. Bear Rocks Preserve, West Virginia
Bear Rocks Preserve offers visitors a unique and incredibly beautiful hiking experience. Here, high above Canaan Valley in Dolly Sods, a windswept expanse opens up to the sky, offering views of undulating mountains folding out eastward across the skyline.
3. Baxter's Hollow, Wisconsin
The deep woods and cool, mountain-like stream make Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills a great place to visit any time of the year. In the fall, however, the reds, oranges and yellow of the oaks, hickories and maples make it a spectacular place to take a walk in the woods. Listen for the final songs of migratory birds before they head south for the winter.
4. Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio
The more than 19,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve is one of the most biologically diverse places in the Midwestern U. S., encompassing rugged woodland, prairie openings, waterfalls and clear streams. Nearly ten miles of easy-to-moderate trails make the preserve a great place for hiking, birding and other wildlife viewing.
5. Santa Fe Canyon, New Mexico
Standing tall and blazing gold, aspen put on quite a show each year across New Mexico. The Nature Conservancy’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserve is no exception. The 525-acre preserve is located only a few miles from downtown Santa Fe, nestled in the foothills adjacent to the spectacular Santa Fe Canyon National Forest.
6. Green Hills Preserve, New Hampshire
With more than 10 miles of hiking and multi-use trails, the Green Hills preserve is a favorite destination in all seasons. Best fall views are from mid-September to mid-October. Starting at the Black Cap Trail parking area on Hurricane Mountain Road, hike to the summit of Black Cap (approximately 1.25 miles). From there you’ll soak in a panoramic view of the Mount Washington Valley in full color.
7. Cove Mountain Preserve, Pennsylvania
Located just outside the state capital, along the Kittatinny Ridge, Cove Mountain is the Conservancy's newest preserve in Pennsylvania. The Kittatinny’s forested ridgetops serve as one of the most important wildlife corridors within the northeastern U.S.—connecting the Blue Ridge Mountains to the south and the Catskill Mountains to the north.
8. McCarran Ranch Preserve, Nevada
McCarran Ranch Preserve lies along a stretch of the Truckee River closed to public access for over a century. Today we’re proud to offer recreational opportunities for hiking, fishing, birding, mountain biking and more at this model restoration site in northern Nevada. A trail system guides visitors through the heart of the restoration area—passing a new meandering channel and a series of wetlands, as well as “living sculptures” installed to restore habitat and improve water quality.
9. Nags Head Woods Preserve, North Carolina
This preserve on North Carolina's Outer Banks offers a welcome natural respite from the busy coastal scene for human visitors and for a wide variety of wildlife. Visitors to Nags Head Woods can enjoy hiking, fishing, birding, wildlife viewing and much more.
10. Kings River Preserve, Arkansas
Flowing out of the Boston Mountains of Madison County, the Kings River meanders 60 miles across the Ozark Plateau where it meets Table Rock Lake on the Arkansas and Missouri border. Breathtaking views are found around every bend.
11. South Fork Preserve, Colorado
Located about 20 minutes from Telluride, our South Fork Preserve along the San Miguel River is a great destination for taking in the change in seasons. Look for cottonwoods (gold) and willows (gold and red) along the river and gamble oak shrubs (red) on the hillsides.
12. Tieton River Canyon, Washington
Twenty miles west of the city of Yakima, the Tieton River Canyon extends from the forested flanks of the East Cascades to the arid, sage-dotted hills of the Columbia Basin. It is home to golden eagles, Rocky Mountain elk and mountain lions. It's the Oregon white oak that makes this a special place in fall – the oak turns glorious reds and muted browns and yellows.