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12 Amazing Fall Foliage Destinations

Grab your camera and hike to leaf-lover paradise this autumn.

  • An oft-overlooked gem, ditch the leaf peeping crowds of the northeast and hike a stretch of the 218-mile Ozark Highlands Trail, which winds through the Ozark National Forest and offers the same amount of eye-popping spectacle. [image: Oakley Originals/Flickr]
    12 Amazing Fall Foliage Destinations
  • Arrive early to grab a spot in the small campground at Utah’s first national monument.  Go for a night hike on the Owachomo Bridge trail for this view, or try the Sipapu Bridge Trail for night sky panoramas beneath the second largest natural bridge in the world. [image: NPS]
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  • Mauna Loa, located in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, is Earth's largest volcano. With 33 eruptions since 1843 (the most recent occurring in 1984), it is also one of the world's most active. Drive the Observatory Road and hike 6.4 miles to the top (2,527 elevation gain).  [image: Lauren Bacon/Flickr]
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  • Rhyolite is a must-see for visitors to Death Valley National Park. The well-preserved train station serves as the main attraction, but ruins of a bank, mercantile, and an adobe home made from 50,000 beer bottle also spark curiosity. [image: Rafał Próchniak/Flickr]
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  • It's likely you'll encounter this flowering evergreen shrub while hiking east of the Mississippi along streams and damp forests. The clusters of showy pink and white flowers are pleasing to the eye, but the toxins present throughout the plant are anything but pleasurable. If eaten, mountain laurel can cause abdominal pain, tingling of skin, a slowed pulse, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis, and in rare cases, even death. [image: Jason Hollinger/Wikimedia]
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  • Want one surefire way to get your adrenaline pumping? Attempt the 1,500-foot climb to this airy perch high above Zion Canyon. From the footbridge spanning the Virgin River, the 2.5-mile (one-way) route switchbacks up sandstone cliffs to a pinched slickrock ridge with hair-raising drop-offs on either side. Hoist yourself to the summit using chains bolted into the rock face, then peer down on the valley far below. [image: Ada Be/Flickr]
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  • For the ultimate dinosaur fix, check out the Fossil Discovery Trail at Dinosaur National Monument.  Over 165 million years and 10 species of dinosaurs are jam-packed into this relatively short hike.  Prepare to see dinosaur bones jutting out of the path’s surrounding rock faces, some belonging to beasts that would have weighed over 50,000 pounds in their heyday.  The trail also contains fossilized squid, fish scales, and the remains of an ichthyosaur (think "dinosaur dolphin"). [image: Rob Glover/Flickr]
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