Now that the air is getting cooler and the leaves on the trees are changing their color, it is the perfect time to venture into nature before the winter chill sets in. But where should you go for a guaranteed memorable experience? We’ve put together a list of national parks to visit for fall 2022 to help you get started on planning your escape to the great outdoors.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, TN


Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to take in the flora and fauna of Tennessee and North Carolina. There are plenty of activities to take part in, such as horseback riding, fishing, picnicking, hiking, cycling, and camping. If you’re interested in viewing some of the park’s diverse wildlife, you can head on over to Cades Cove, where visitors can spot critters like groundhogs, white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, and skunks. Don’t forget to head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website to update yourself on the latest safety tips for observing the local wildlife!

Great Basin National Park in Baker, NV


Bend, Nevada is host to the Great Basin National Park, an excellent place to explore both the earth and the stars. Visitors to the park will have the opportunity to go stargazing and venture out on a cave tour. For amateur and expert astronomers, this park is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park, meaning that on clear, moonless nights, thousands of stars, constellations, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way, and even some planets are visible. If after a night looking at the stars, you’d rather stay more down-to-earth, then we suggest going underground for a ranger-led tour of the Lehman Caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and more. Whether your head is constantly in the clouds or your feet are firmly planted to the earth, there’s something for everyone here.

Glacier National Park in West Glacier, MT


Like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Glacier National Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (including holidays), but tourists should plan their trips wisely. In the winter, temperatures can get well below freezing, so autumn is the last time you can go before the weather turns icy cold (unless you’re interested in cross-country skiing). If you have the time to stop by, you’re in for a day of scenic adventures. Visitors can go hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and more. Remember to take plenty of pictures for your social media - Glacier National Park is the perfect place to gather photos for a winning Instagram post.

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Big Bend National Park in Big Bend National Park, TX


Head on down just north of the Mexican-American border and next to the Rio Grande to just beat the start of this park’s peak visitation months (November-April). Known for its mild winters and blazing hot summers, Big Bend National Park is a great place to visit during the fall. With the Mexican border close by, you can experience a wonderful cultural blend between America and Mexico. Tourists can spend a day at the park and enjoy birdwatching, stargazing, scenic drives, cycling, and river trips along the Rio Grande.

North Cascades National Park in Sedro-Wooly, WA


Sedro-Wooly, Washington is home to North Cascades National Park, a tourist attraction that is also open to the public all day, all year round. While the park’s peak season ends in September, you can still find plenty to do and more than enough picturesque scenery remaining in the later autumn months. Take in the sights of some of the most beautiful mountains in the country as you go for a hike, camp, go boating, go mountain climbing, cycling, fishing, birdwatching, and horseback riding.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes, CO


Fall is a wonderful time to make the trip out to Rocky Mountain National Park, with it’s crisp autumn air, changing leaves, and roaming wildlife. If you’d prefer to stay in your car while sightseeing, there are plenty of places for you to get the most out of the park while driving, such as Trail Ridge Road, Old Fall River Road, and Bear Lake Road. If you’d like to venture out of your car, there are plenty of activities to do, such as camping, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, and viewing the local wildlife. Whether you’re in your car, on the trail, or a combination of both, you’ll find that the Rocky Mountain National Park is an unforgettable experience!

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Autumn is a great time of year to visit a national park: The extreme heat of summer is fading away and the cold temperatures of winter have not yet arrived. If you’re planning on doing any hikes while exploring these national parks, make sure you check out our guide for staying safe while hiking to make sure you have the best time possible.