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  • Writer's pictureBryan Donoghue

Leaf Peeping: Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage in the Western United States

Top Regions in the West to see the Leaves Change this Autumn

beautiful fall foliage in Sedona, Arizona

Cave Springs Campground: Sedona, AZ - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue

It's still Leaf Peepin' Season!

Last week, we posted our list of best places in the Eastern US to view the fall foliage changing, and included some incredible photos from talented photographers showing our favorites in all their splendor.

This week, we wanted to show some love to the West coast, so we're bringing you another list (and more photos!) of our favorites out here on this side of the country. As I mentioned last week, my experience out West has led me to believe that for all California has in terms of natural beauty, the foliage here in the Autumn months comes up a bit lacking. So for the purposes of this post, we'll be focusing on the Pacific Northwest ranging down to the Southwest - perhaps our California audience may be inspired to get out of their home state to see what else the West has to offer. As I mentioned last week, if you're from California and think I'm missing out on great foliage areas within the state, please let us know at - send some photos over and we'll feature them in an upcoming social media post (along with a big fat mea culpa from yours truly)

Yellow-leafed trees in the foreground, striated red rocks in the background. Utah is a magical place

Johnson Canyon Road: Kanab, UT - Photo Credit: Darryll DiPietro

As we mentioned last week, has a GREAT interactive map to help you determine what areas have peak foliage depending on the time of year - and it's not just for the Smokies, it's for the entire (contiguous) USA! Click here to check it out, but remember - just like the weather itself there's no way to predict foliage patterns with 100% success, so don't be mad at them (or us!) if you feel you might have missed peak season in your respective location.

the best boy on the planet, Milo, playing in the leaves

And to reiterate one more time - keep in mind that peak season varies region to region - general rule of thumb is that the farther north you go, the earlier in the year the season will peak. That being said, climate patterns out here in the West make absolutely no sense whatsoever, so definitely consult that map in the previous paragraph before venturing out.

So without further ado, and to continue the celebration of one of the unanimous Top Four Seasons of the Year, here are our favorite areas of the West for fall foliage!

OK a little bit of further ado - check back with us on Thursday for the best foliage areas in the Midwest (including Mountain west as well). And if you've got an area you'd like to nominate, let us know on our social media or at!


Olympic National Park - Washington

An extreme closeup of leaves changing color to speckled red, somewhere near Olympic National Park in Washington

Olympic National Park, WA - Photo Credit: Scott Carnahan

Sawtooth National Forest - Idaho

Yellow trees pepper the mountainside in Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, ID - Photo Credit: Scott Carnahan

Santa Cruz Mountains - California

Not sure if these trees are yellow from foliage or from being torched in a past wildfire, but it's still a pretty view of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California

Boulder Creek, CA - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - Utah

Utah rocks

Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail: Escalante, UT - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue

Coconino National Forest - Arizona

Yellow birch trees stretch for miles on Humphrey's Peak in Flagstaff, Arizona

Humphrey's Peak: Flagstaff, AZ - Photo Credit: Angie Celestino

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Do you think we left out one of your favorite leaf peepin' places in the East? Do you have recommendations for the Midwest or the West that we should include in future editions of this series? Are you a photographer that would like to contribute to future Pathloom articles? Let us know at!


Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may enjoy:

The Glory of Yosemite

Very Superstitious: Phoenix In The Fall

The Resilience of the Redwoods: Big Basin’s Rise from the Ashes

Leave No Trace Principles

Types of Camping

Where the West Begins

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Pathloom is a Bay Area-based technology startup on a mission to get more people outdoors, more often by reimagining the way people discover the outdoors.


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