Yellowstone National Park in the fall is full of amazing wildlife sights. Photo Credit: Jessica Ismail
In search of ideas for fall driving trips that embrace the season and arrival of cooler weather? Then visiting a national park or forest should be on your list of options. And there are a lot to choose from.
According to a list published by Outside magazine, “30 states and two U.S. territories have a total of 63 national parks.” California, the state with the most parks, boasts nine just waiting to be explored.
Included in the Outside list are the more famous and frequently visited U.S. National Park Service ones such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite and Great Smoky Mountains. But they also mention newer-established spots like New River Gorge National Park, White Sands National Park and Indiana Dunes, “which changed its name from ‘National Lakeshore’ to ‘National Park’ on Feb. 15, 2019.” All would be wonderful settings for an autumn automobile excursion.
“The magic of Yellowstone National Park in the fall stems from the unique combination of the geothermal features against the backdrop of vibrant golden foliage. The wildlife viewing in fall really comes alive as well; sightings of bison roaming, elk bugling and bears preparing for their winter slumber are fairly common this time of year,” says Jessica Ismail of Enzuri Safari Co. Ismail and her husband, Faizel, guide travelers and wildlife photographers to several national parks in the U.S. and safaris in Africa, South America and India.
“The most important thing about visiting Yellowstone in the fall is taking your time exploring the park so you can truly appreciate the transformation of nature happening before your eyes.” Ismail says.
Forests and grasslands
Beyond the national parks, there are many national forests and grasslands across America offering scenic routes ready to be driven. The USDA Forest Service has a helpful site where users can search for any location in the U.S., no matter your starting point. According to the site, Idaho features 12 top destinations to visit, while across the country in Tennessee lies the expansive 650,000-acre Cherokee National Forest.
Need more fall road trip ideas? Check out our list of Instagram-worthy fall foliage drives, that not only provide the perfect places for photo ops, but routes that are sure to please the autumn leaf-peeper in everyone.
Know before you go
Whether you drive a few miles down a colorful tree-lined roadway or find yourself taking in the beauty of a national park or forest, a car ride to see the changing colors of fall can provide a day(s) of fun.