As we head into the heart of the fall season, there’s no better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than to escape into nature. Fortunately, many of the country’s best resorts cater to leaf peepers with special tours and programs that allow guests to enjoy awe-inspiring views and the crisp autumn air. Whether you’re looking for guided fall foliage hikes, off-road Jeep excursions, or nightly bonfires, you’ll find perfect fall activities at one of these top resorts in the U.S.
By Zachary Laks
Resort at Squaw Creek
WHERE: Olympic Valley, California
The valleys of Squaw Creek explode with autumnal colors every fall. In September and October, the plush rooms at the Resort at Squaw Creek provide scenic vistas of the surrounding mountain peaks, blanketed in nearly every shade of yellow and orange. Hiking mountain trails, fly fishing, and biking along the scenic Truckee River are just a few of the resort's activities. For the best in fall fun, check out the resort’s annual Harvest Festival (October 16–18); there will be hard cider tastings, s’mores, wine tastings, and a pumpkin judging contest.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake Tahoe Travel Guide
Salish Lodge & Spa
WHERE: Snoqualmie, Washington
Perched at the top of Snoqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge & Spa, a luxury retreat thirty minutes outside of Seattle, offers a whirlwind of outdoor activity in the fall. Whether it’s a hike through the Cascade Mountains to discover the alpine lakes and waterfalls, or a round of golf on one of the six local courses—including TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, the Northwest’s only Jack Nicklaus–designed course—there's no shortage of ways to enjoy the changing of the seasons here.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Seattle Travel Guide
WHERE: Lenox, Massachusetts
Retire to the lush countryside of the Berkshires, where Blantyre, a stately resort steeped in classic Tudor style welcomes guests to its 117 acres of lush fall foliage. During fall, the Blantyre becomes a destination for leaf peepers seeking solace and luxury in a country manor. Take a stroll through the grounds and nearby October Mountain State Forest to best admire the breathtaking autumn views.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Berkshires Travel Guide
The White Gull Inn
WHERE: Fish Creek, Wisconsin
As the cool breezes of fall permeate the air, Wisconsin’s Door County shakes off its summertime crowds and returns to being an easygoing Midwestern destination. For the most traditional accommodation in the area, book a stay at The White Gull Inn, a local favorite that's been open since 1896. The orange and yellow trees that surround the bayside inn set the scene, and days are spent exploring the quaint town’s boutiques and art shops before heading to nearby orchards for apple picking and freshly made pie. When you arrive at the inn, be sure to make a reservation for the fish boil, a long-standing traditional meal of freshly caught Lake Michigan fish, prepared during a live demonstration.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Door County Travel Guide
The Lodge at Woodloch
WHERE: Hawley, Pennsylvania
A Poconos resort removed from the more commercial mega-resorts that have recently entered the region, The Lodge at Woodloch was built with the fall season in mind. Complete with 57 luxury accommodations and a 40,000-square-foot spa, The Lodge at Woodloch specializes in wellness and relaxation. Start the morning with an outdoor yoga class and then join one of the resort’s guided nature walks, including the unique Edible Plant Walk through its 150 wooded acres. Next up is an afternoon in the company of renowned chefs for demonstrations and cooking classes. With endless places to enjoy the sumptuous surroundings and the serenity of the Poconos, The Lodge at Woodloch is the perfect fall getaway.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Poconos Travel Guide
WHERE: Bolton Landing, New York
Situated on an island all its own in Lake George, The Sagamore Resort has been welcoming guests to the Adirondacks since 1883. Most picturesque in the fall, the forested banks of Lake George are the main attraction in autumn, with their hues of orange, red, and yellow filling the horizon for miles on end. Weekends at the resort in the fall are filled with scenic cruises on the lake, horse and carriage rides through the picture-perfect woods, and Friday and Saturday night bonfires with s’mores and a rotating roster of entertainment.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake George Travel Guide
Madeline Hotel and Residences
WHERE: Telluride, Colorado
You might think of Telluride as a ski destination, but fall is one of the prettiest times of year to visit. For a fine getaway, Madeline Hotel sets the standard for mountainside luxury. Guestrooms have oversize soaking tubs, slope-side views, and suites with fireplaces; it's the ideal place to retire after a day of exploring the colorful mountains. A free gondola connects four stations, offers the best views, and is a fun way to get acquainted with the area; it's operational through October 18 this year before reopening for the winter season on November 20.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Telluride Travel Guide
WHERE: Thompsonville, Michigan
In the rustic northern woods of Michigan, Crystal Mountain accommodations range from standard hotel rooms to plush cottages and bungalows, appealing to a wide range of price points. Fall activities include a ride on Michigan’s only alpine slide, mountainous bike paths through the multi-colored mountain forest, and the winning Michigan Legacy Art Park ($5), a two-mile sculpture trail that features 47 sculptures. A typical October Saturday at the resort is filled with fun for the whole family as outdoor laser tag, crafts hour, and guided mountain hikes are perfect in the crisp fall air.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Michigan Travel Guide
St. Regis Aspen
WHERE: Aspen, Colorado
Refined and luxurious, the St. Regis Aspen lends itself to an indulgent fall retreat with its Gilded Age sensibility. Leading into the season with their “Fall in Love with Aspen” program, the resort goes the extra mile in accommodate fall visitors by providing complimentary access to a Lexus vehicle for transportation to special hiking routes, the chance to rent out a GoPro camera for the day to capture your excursion, and private tours of the Ashcroft mining area, one of Aspen’s favorite leaf-peeping spots. With the option to add on a gourmet picnic basket, your hike in the woods becomes a gastronomic experience.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Aspen Travel Guide
Montage Deer Valley
WHERE: Park City, Utah
Autumn in Park City offers a kaleidoscope of color. For the best views and access to nature's spectacle, the grand Montage Deer Valley resort is the place to be. With a sprawling main lodge on grounds that include five restaurants and plenty of lounges and vistas, there are countless places to relax and enjoy the views with a drink in hand. For the most thrilling view of the fall foliage, head to nearby Utah Olympic Park where the Xtreme Ziprider (the world’s steepest zipline) can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Park City and the Wasatch Back Travel Guide
WHERE: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Steeped in history, The Greenbrier is a national landmark known for its Federal-style white façade and for having hosted twenty-six presidents on overnight stays since 1858. Spanning 10,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier's property includes four golf courses, a 43-acre farm that grows food for the resort’s restaurants, and a 103,000-square-foot casino. Dozens of activities are on offer at the resort, including guided hikes, off-road Jeep excursions, and carriage rides. For something a little different, join the resort’s Bunker Tour to see the fallout shelter built for the U.S. Congress during the Cold War.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s West Virginia Travel Guide
WHERE: Meadows of Dan, Virginia
Choose your own fall adventure at Primland, a sprawling 12,000-acre resort where treehouses, mountain homes, and country cottages capture the best views of Virginia's backwoods. The main attraction, The Lodge at Primland, stands at the apex of the property, treating guests to unobstructed views of the sweeping landscapes from twenty-six guestrooms and suites. An architectural achievement in country luxury, the lodge is most recognized for its cedar-and-stone façade and its picture-perfect steel silo. Regardless of where you stay at Primland, daily activities include tree climbing, wing shooting, stargazing, and geocaching.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Virginia Travel Guide
The Coeur D’Alene Resort
WHERE: Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
Featuring the floating green—a world-renowned lake-bound putting green at the fourteenth hole—the Coeur D'Alene golf course makes for a most unique skill test. The property's luxurious, seventeen-story tower gives leaf peepers incredible vantage points as the lake and surrounding hills glow in the autumnal months. Start the weekend with a sunset cruise on the lake and continue the night at the Lakeview Lounge where drink selections run wild with over 30,000 wine bottles on hand.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Idaho Travel Guide
Triple Creek Ranch
WHERE: Darby, Montana
All-inclusive and only for adult guests, Triple Creek Ranch takes relaxation seriously. An escape to the ranch means you’ll be staying in one of the private luxury cabins or homes on the grounds, offering peace, serenity, and the stillness of the deep woods of Montana. With the all-inclusive rate comes a typical day filled with perfect fall activities, including horseback riding, on-ranch fly fishing, or simply lounging in a heated pool. Join the nature safari for wildlife watching: A seasoned guide takes an SUV through backwoods trails to seek out black bears, moose, big horn sheep, and the rare but occasional mountain lion.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Montana Travel Guide
Omni Mount Washington Resort
WHERE: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Omni Mount Washington Hotel provides stately charm and a retreat for the whole family. From your first glance at the striking white resort set against Mount Washington, you'll sense grandeur, a feeling that continues as the resorts’ amenities and activities unfurl throughout your stay. Capture a thumbs-up from the kids with fun touches like the special Omni Kids backpack on arrival and milk and cookies the first night of your stay. Leaf peepers will love the guided hikes throughout the mountainous region as well as incredible photo opportunities available from the Bethlehem Express Quad chairlift as you ascend Mount Washington to the highest point in the Northeast.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New Hampshire Travel Guide