America’s Top Fall Nature Drives to See from a Charter Bus
By Michael Masone October 4, 2017
Are you falling in love with the stunning foliage of fall and don’t want to miss a moment of it? This year, pile friends and family together into a bus and explore the natural, seasonal wonders that turn America’s forests beautiful shades of red, orange, and gold.
For autumn explorers really wanting to show their colors, charter a party bus so you can drink as much cider—hard or soft—as you want, as your driver whisks you through the quaint towns and picturesque forests of our beautiful nation.
Though the American Northeast dominates the field when it comes to fall fan fair, you’ll find chlorophyll breaking down in deciduous forests across the United States!
Here are America’s top fall foliage drives to see from a charter bus.
Adirondack Park, New York
Dominated by only a few species of trees, the 6 million acres of the park are known for bursting into color more or less at the same moment, creating countless breathtaking views. However, timing can be tricky and when you miss it, you miss it. By using a peak foliage map, it’s possible to at least give yourself a good shot at catching the fiery beauty of the Adirondacks.
Slowly poke through the mountains by bus, by foot, or even take advantage of the 3,000 lakes and ponds, as well as 30,000 miles of rivers and streams by pairing your charter bus trip with a canoeing expedition.
The Catskills, New York
Not far from New York City, the Catskills are the perfect bus-able weekend escape for New Yorkers. The sparsely populated region catches fire with yellows, oranges and reds come late September/early October. Here are a few fantastic foliage routes to follow on your drive:
● NYS Rt 42 between Lexington and Shandaken
● NYS Rt. 17 from Roscoe to Deposit
● NYS Rt. 28 from Andes to Arkville
● Mt. Utsayantha Mountain Road
● NYS Rt 23A from Hunter to Palenville.
Of course, if you want to get your hiking boots out, have the bus drop you off at the base of Mount Utsayantha. Trek up the 3,214-foot mountain to climb the fire tower for a mesmerizing 360-degree view of the mountainsides.
Lehigh Valley, New Hampshire (and More)
Back in 2015, the Huffington Post named the entire region (including the quaint town of Bethlehem) as one of the top ten places in the United States to visit in the Fall. Two years later, a classic scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway during the Fall has not lost its color.
Only about 50 minutes away from Bethlehem, you’ll find Jim Thorpe, one of the Switzerlands of America, which was founded on the slope of Mount Pisgah. It provides visitors with breathtaking vistas of the forested countryside. The best drives to take through the seasonal forest colors are on Route 903, from Fern Ridge to Jim Thorpe, and on Route 209.
Also worth working into your Lehigh Valley region road trip are Delaware Water Gap, Hickory Run State Park, and Hawk Mountain.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
With Shenandoah staff posting weekly updates each Friday through “color season”, it should be no surprise to find this massive, stunning park on your list for Fall colors this year. However, keep in mind that the 100-mile-long park does encompass a wide range of elevations, which means that some regions of the park might be in “full bloom” while others are still green or long past their prime.
Unlike what you’ll find in Adirondack Park, in Shenandoah, there are 127 different types of trees shedding their leaves, which means there’s a huge range for when certain areas are bursting in red. No matter what, jumping onto the 105-mile Skyline and following the North-South crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the park is going to bring your face to some amazing, leafy vistas.
With a speed limit of 35 mph, the only roadway through the park is designed for road trippers and fall enthusiasts to feel a cool breeze across their faces and to soak up all the colors. Make sure you get your bus driver to stop at least a couple of the 75 overlooks that offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the West, or the rolling Piedmont to the East.
Aspen is pure gold. You’re not going to find fall reds here, as the leaves of the town’s namesake tree paint the mountainsides an extraordinary, vibrant yellow. This fall foliage runs like streams of molten gold between rocky mountain tops and dark evergreens, which are unwilling to partake in the harvest-season festivities.
The colors take to the trees early in Aspen, starting in mid-September and peaking during the first days of October.
Popular scenic drives can be found along Maroon Creek Road, Castle Creek Road, and Independence Pass.
Glacier National Park, Montana
For foliage hunters searching for something off-the-beaten track, this 1-million-acre park’s firework display is for you. In addition to the coordinated, colorful show put on by cottonwood, maples, and aspen trees, you can find tamarack, larch, trees showing off their fall colors. These deciduous conifers turn a stunning yellow before their needles fall ahead of a punishing Winter.
The majority of trees will be turning throughout September. Situated on shoulder season, you can expect to roll up in your bus and score discounts on lodging. However, be aware that concessions and many of the park’s services are winding down in September, most ending by the middle of the month. If you want to catch the tamarack trees in action, prepared to be fully self-sufficient and arrive in mid-October.
By hopping on Highway 83, you can follow one of the most beautiful, scenic valleys in the region along a 90-mile corridor from Seeley Lake to Swan Lake.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Sneak out of Chicago for a long-weekend road trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to enjoy a stunning array of autumn colors. Peak colors usually start during the end of September and carry into October for a couple of weeks.
There are dozens of picturesque routes that weave through the hardwood forests, boasting fiery red, tangerine orange, and lemony yellow leaves. Drive through the Keweenaw Peninsula, Marquette County, Porcupine Mountains State Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to enjoy the natural beauty of the state.
By chartering a bus, you’re able let go of the responsibility of keeping your eyes on the road and spend your entire leaf-hunting adventure drinking up the beauty of the mountainsides outside – as well as anything inside your cooler. A festive party bus can even be decorated appropriately. After all, the natural world is showing off it’s beauty this time of the year, so there’s no reason your entire travel experience shouldn’t follow suit! Put the finishing touches on your drive by stocking your bus with your favorite hard ciders and mulled wines and leave the rest of the logistics to the trusted experts at BusBank!
Did we miss your favorite fall foliage scene? Tell us about it on Twitter by tweeting at @BusBank.