It’s the time of year when autumn’s quilt blankets our nation’s landscape — and time to pack a picnic lunch, a favorite pooch, and go leaf-peeping. Not sure whether you’re a leaf-peeper? If you love fall foliage and rich hues turning green leaves to goldens, oranges, and reds, you’re a leaf-peeper.
Here are ten of Dogster’s dog-friendly landscapes to put on your fall-foliage getaway list.
1. Acadia National Park, Mount Desert, Maine
In 1947, a fire destroyed many spruce-fir trees in this historic park and left ample space behind for the rich colors of fall to highlight the landscape. Though peak season is generally mid-October, this varies. At 1,532 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point along the north Atlantic seaboard. Many trails allow dogs.
2. Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Maine is one of the most pet-friendly states I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Cape Elizabeth is a quiet town in Cumberland County and home to some gorgeous lighthouses. If you stay at the pet-welcoming accommodations at Inn by the Sea, you’ll have access to Crescent Beach and plenty of picturesque trees. The beach is conveniently located behind the inn. Crescent Beach State Park is closed to dogs completely from April 1 to September 30 due to Piper Plover nesting concerns- – although visitors are welcome to walk on the Park trails, and on the path that parallels the beach, or to go to the trails that go around Great Pond. In October the beach is open to dogs again until April.
3. Dog Mountain, St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Plan early for Vermont’s busiest time of year: the first two weekends of October. Vermont’s red maples are amongst the first to change. Dogs are welcome with their parents to visit Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury. Housed on this glorious land are 400 acres of nature for hiking, and the famous Dog Chapel. Atop the white steeple, a Labrador Retriever points his wings to the wind as if beckoning to visitors. Get a seven-day fall foliage plan-ahead calendar at the Scenes of Vermont website.
4. Pocono Mountains, northeastern Pennsylvania
I would be remiss writing a leaf-peeping list without mentioning one in my backyard. Often called the “honeymoon capital of the world,” the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania are home to 127 varieties of trees. This is nature-changing season at its finest. Dogs love playing along the Delaware River, and there are many state parks and wineries peppering the landscape.
5. Washington, D.C., and Shenandoah Valley
Having been there, done that, I can attest to the beauty, majesty, and historic splendor of fall in the nation’s capital. Arlington National Cemetery is pet friendly for well-behaved leashed dogs. Located 90 miles west of the Capital Beltway, Shenandoah National Park encompasses more than 500 miles of trails and almost 200,000 acres of land.
6. Ozark Mountains, Arkansas
Resplendent with autumnal vistas, the Ozarks offer a two-mile “rim walk” loop that allows for spectacular views around the mountain top. If driving while you leaf peep is up your alley, check out Talimena Scenic Drive, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, and Great River Road.
7. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
This well-traveled dog writer was thrilled to find some leaf-peeping fun in the south. McKittrick Canyon is heralded as one of the most breathtaking places to visit in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in all of Texas at 8,749 feet, but scenic drives are abundant for those who prefer their “oohs and ahhs” drive-by style.
8. Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
One of the most pet-friendly towns I’ve ever visited is Provincetown, Massachusetts. End a leaf-peeping excursion there and take to the beaches with Fido. Cape Cod hiking trails are enchanting. The federally protected uplands and bogs of the national seashore encompasses more than 27,000 acres and takes up more than half of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Both Wellfleet and Truro are near Provincetown, which is more beachy than tree-lined but a perfect spot to end a day of sightseeing with your dog.
9. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Though dogs are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry, they are permitted in areas accessible by vehicle. I know what John Denver sang of now when I see the spectacle that involves Alberta Falls, Mills Lake, and Sky Pond. Situated northwest of Boulder, over 265,000 acres are located here. The peaks of Colorado are worth the trip alone.
10. Catskills, New York
In the Hudson Valley region of New York are the Catskill Mountains, about 100 miles north of the city. Some of the many things to do here with your dog include craft fairs, farmers markets, orchard picking, and harvest festivals. Dubbed by many as “America’s First Wilderness,” the brilliance of the leaves changing is matched only by the many things to do in the surrounding area.
Do you have any fall traditions with your dog? What’s your favorite fall activity? We love leaf peeping, but certainly so much more. Now, where’s that caramel apple?