Here are our favorite hikes, bike rides, wineries, spa getaways, and more
The sweet autumn lull is when this Idaho resort shows its true colors.
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Quiet hikes and lazy picnics are yours for the taking in autumn. Before winter comes, take a long weekend to see the best of what the park has to offer.
Three days are a perfect chunk of time to explore the park’s three main areas: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Valley, and Wawona. Plan to stay in the valley―it’s central to everything, and reservations are easier to come by at this time of year.
The rugged stretch of land that runs along Sonoma County's coast inspires grand passions. From the pocket coves of Bodega Bay and windswept bluffs of Sea Ranch to inland pine-covered peaks and ocean-carved sea stacks, the area is marked by layers of fog, gulls, sweetgrass, and wildness.
It's a place where you can tidepool for hours in precious solitude or ride thrilling, frigid waves; a place where delicious wine and cheese are made carefully, lovingly, by hand.
More: The Sonoma Coast spell
Brown Cannon III
In the folded foothills of the Sierra Nevada, California's Gold Country, autumn lingers long into October, offering blue skies, tawny hills, and grapevines tinged fierce red
Good new restaurants are popping up in unexpected places. Even more strikingly, an influx of creative new winemakers has made the Gold Country one of the most fascinating wine regions in the West.
For farm-fresh food and sublime wine, spend an autumn weekend in California's least known, most beautiful wine country.
With luxe inns and tons of tasting rooms, Willamette is ready for prime time. You can get lost on the backcountry roads but always find a good glass of Pinot around the bend. And now, with great hotels and tasting rooms mustering in towns like Carlton, you can experience the valley’s off-the-beaten-path vibe yet have the comforts of a soft bed close by.
This Idaho town is made for riding ― especially now with fall foliage at its peak.
In fall, you'll have this Ilwaco, Washington coastal trail all to yourself.
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Forget about fall leaves, the roots of Sitka spruce are the draw at Neskowin Beach.
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The Kendall Katwalk trail, near Seattle, offers big rewards for small effort.
Casual hikers who might be daunted by the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail can dip in a tentative toe on the Kendall Katwalk trail, an hour east of Seattle.
In 6 not-too-demanding miles from Snoqualmie Pass to the Katwalk, a morsel of the PCT provides many of the scenic delectables of the full Mexico-to-Canada buffet.
The Colorado town has it all: gorgeous trails, great restaurants, and some of the sportiest people around.
The jagged Flatirons rise at Boulder's western edge offers invigorating hiking, climbing, and exploring.
And visitors find lots of fine restaurants and independent shops ― especially sporty ones ― along the Pearl Street pedestrian mall.
Escape the crowds and find the hidden beauty of southern Utah's incomparable canyons.
With daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s, autumn is a good time to explore.
The cottonwoods blaze brilliant yellow against the surrounding red rock. No wonder renowned artists like Maynard Dixon found inspiration here.
Spot bighorns, elk, and fall color in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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There's seriously good wine among Colorado's red rocks.
Take one of our 3 backroad tours through the West's newest wine country and discover gems for foodies, foragers, power tasters, and true explorers.
Golden leaves, killer margaritas, and an artistic core: This Southwestern town is the real deal.
At a time when so many towns have become soulless clones of one another, Taos, with its creative heart, natural beauty, and ancient roots, delivers an inimitable experience, especially in autumn.
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In the New Mexico mountains, a beautiful road leads to three great places to soak your worries away.
Get our picks, plus a suggested 3-day weekend itinerary.
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On a guided pack trip, you can explore some of the Southwest’'s most rugged, pristine country ― and let someone else worry about dinner (and pitching the tent).
Get our guide to the outfitters and the wilderness you can explore.
Creative Commons photo by David Tedesco is licensed under CC BY 2.0
This high-altitude town has the best of both worlds: great food and culture combined with some of the best hiking and foliage around.
Here's how to get there, what to do and where to shop, eat, drink, and stay.
Brown Cannon III
In autumn, the fabled desert park is at its most hauntingly beautiful. Hike, explore, and experience a world unlike any other.
Wander through this quirky, unassuming wine region just south of San Luis Obispo. The nascent wine region is located in a triangle bordered by Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo, and it still retains a distinctive, backroad California charm.
Today it's home to more than 3,000 acres of vineyards and 30 wine labels, including 17 tasting rooms that run the gamut from a former one-room schoolhouse to the stylish Jack Niven Hospitality Center at Edna Valley Vineyard.
At the latter, you can sample Chardonnays in front of picture windows with views of the valley's most distinctive icon, Islay Peak, an ancient volcanic plug that rose from the ocean floor.
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Now that summer crowds have cleared out of this coastal town 50 miles south of L.A., it’s time for a romantic fall getaway.
Here's how to get there, 3 romantic stays, where to eat, and what to do.
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For beautiful back roads and even better wines, head to these hills in California's Santa Barbara County.
Until receiving designation as an appellation in 2001, this compact region was largely overshadowed by the neighboring Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys. But no more.
Easily explored via a 34-mile loop linking Santa Rosa Road and State 246, the Santa Rita Hills have become a destination for visitors looking for distinctive Pinot Noirs or a lazy drive through the unspoiled country of western Santa Barbara County.
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