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The best places to see fall foliage in Alabama

The fall foliage in Alabama is starting to peak this week in North Alabama and next week in central Alabama. Our state tends to get a later leaf peak, with colors at their best end of October through the first two weeks of November. With cooler temperatures and some sunny days ahead, it’s the perfect excuse to get out and see the changing fall leaves. Here are nine places to visit to see some beautiful fall foliage in Alabama.

9 Spots to View Fall Foliage in Alabama

Cheaha Mountain

girl on rock overlooking mountain
Ojas Gokhale/Contributed

Cheaha Mountain is the tallest natural point in the state of Alabama. It’s a go-to spot to leaf peep. With panoramic views from several hikes and observation points in the park, you’ll see sweeping views of Alabama fall foliage. Pulpit Rock is a popular short hike and viewpoint in the park.

Bankhead National Forest

The Bankhead National Forest is one of the most scenic spots in the state, with more than 90 miles of trails through the Sipsey Wilderness. Also known as the “land of a thousand waterfalls,” you’ll see red maples, yellow poplars, oak, and birch trees around waterfalls and on the banks of the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River.

Desoto Falls

desoto falls with alabama fall foliage
SoulGrown Alabama/Instagram

Nothing says scenic like beautiful fall leaves surrounding a rushing waterfall. This 104-foot waterfall near Mentone plunges over a cliff into a canyon surrounded by steep cliffs and tall trees decked out in color. The lake at the top of the falls is also a great spot to catch a reflection of the fall foliage.

Little River Canyon

This canyon in North Alabama gets some of the best fall color in the area. Drive the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway and stop at the numerous scenic overlooks where you can see the fall foliage in the canyon. Little River Falls also is a picturesque spot.

Covered Bridges of Blount County

covered bridge with alabama fall foliage
Visit North AL/Instagram

You don’t have to go to Vermont to see covered bridges — you can see them right here in Alabama in Blount County. The area has three of the state’s 13 covered bridges, called Easley, Horton Mill, and Swann. When you see them surrounded by fall leaves, you’d never know you weren’t in the Northeast.

Lake Guntersville

This North Alabama lake — that’s actually a part of the Tennessee River — is a favorite spot for boating and fishing in the summer and leaf peeping in the fall. If you’re lucky, you might see one of the area’s bald eagles flying over the serene lake.

Oak Mountain

lake with fall leaves
Ojas Gokhale/Contributed

The best place to spot the changing leaves in Birmingham is at Oak Mountain State Park. See the reflection of the fall foliage in the lake or hike King’s Chair to overlook the palette of red, orange, and yellow that blankets the mountain.

Monte Sano State Park

If you’re in or near Huntsville, head to Monte Sano State Park to catch the fall foliage. With 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, there are plenty of opportunities to admire the scenery. The best trails to see the changing oak trees are the North and South Plateau Loop trails.

Mentone

road with fall foliage
Ford Nixon/Contributed

This adorable little mountain town on Lookout Mountain is the quintessential fall getaway. Rent a cabin for a weekend or spend a day strolling the streets of the quaint downtown amidst falling leaves. There are also plenty of places to take a scenic drive in the area.

Julia Sayers Gokhale is a writer and editor who has been working in the lifestyle journalism industry since 2012. She was Editor in Chief of Birmingham Magazine for five years and is now leading Yellowhammer News’ lifestyle content. Find her on Instagram at @juliasayers or email her at julia@new-yhn.local.