Come fall, there’s nothing more magical than the sight of brilliantly colored foliage reflected on a lake. From New England to California, we’ve found some of the loveliest lakes to enjoy autumn ablaze.
LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE, NH
The area around New Hampshire’s largest lake puts on a vibrant display of autumn color. Follow the shoreline aboard the Fall Foliage Season Train with Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad (hoborr.com), seeing some of the best leaves in New England from the window of a historic caboose.
FLATHEAD LAKE, MT
In Montana, wild huckleberry season accompanies the fall colors. Pay a visit to Flathead National Forest for prime berry-picking. The bushes are found all along the park roads, and the ripe fruit lasts into October. Or simply bypass the picking and stop at the Flathead Lake Winery in Columbia Falls for a sip of their huckleberry wine. flatheadlakewinery.com
LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO
By late October, the 1,150 miles of shoreline here have turned red and amber. Boaters can explore the waterways on a 9-mile “aquatic trail” from the eastern Public Beach No. 1 to Grand Glaize Beach, with designated stops at a limestone cave, a century-old logging chute and more. Pick up a free guide at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park office in Kaiser. mostateparks.com
RANGELEY LAKE, ME
The 36-mile Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway winds through the mountains of western Maine and offers prime lakeside leaf-peeping along Route 4. Book a table for dinner (lobster, local game and seasonal produce) at the more than 100-year old Loon Lodge (1.207.864.666).
LAKE GEORGE, NY
One of the best places to savor the Adirondacks’ autumnal fireworks show is along the shores of Lake George. For a bird’s-eye view, look no further than Prospect Mountain. From its summit at 2,021 feet, you can see all the way to Vermont. Pack a picnic, hop in the car and hike the moderate, marked trail to the top. visitlakegeorge.com
LAKE TAHOE, CA/NV
In fall, golden aspens are mirrored in this mountain lake’s sapphire-colored water. For superb vistas, follow Highway 28 along the lake’s east side, and stop for a walk through the trees along the shore of tiny Spooner Lake. If you want more fall color (and some exercise), head uphill through North Canyon to Marlette Lake, a 5-mile trek. fs.usda.gov/ltbmu