A tent set up undr falling fall foliage - best fall campgrounds in the USA

10 Best Campgrounds to View Fall Foliage in the US • Our Globetrotters

We think that autumn is the best season to venture outdoors. Sure, the weather may not be as smiley as in summer, but the beauty of the fall color in the trees is simply breathtaking.

Most destinations are not as crowded during this time, the temperature is moderate (depending on location), and every place you go seems to have jumped out of the gallery of a master artist.

That said, we still believe that some places (like the ones we have on this list) are more aesthetic and offer more fascination during fall than other seasons.

You need to be organized as fall campers. The season can be very short between summer and winter, and optimal spots will be snapped up as soon as booking windows open, even out of peak seasons.

This post is part of our series Discover the USA

Note that the campground pricing we mention below is in USD and accurate at the time of publishing in summer 2022. Prices exclude any national park entry fees, if applicable. We recommend keen outdoor and camping families invest in America the Beautiful annual national parks pass to save!

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Where better to start than in the northeast? The incredible Acadia National Park is one of the premier locations in the US to visit in the fall. The serenity and beauty of the landscape are simply breathtaking.

This park has four campgrounds (with over 600 individual sites). Each opens up to over 158-miles-web of hiking trails.

Fall campgrounds - Maine

The fall colors start in late September and reach their peak in October.

You can enjoy this spectacular display of colors by hiking inside the park, cycling, or kayaking on the Maine Coast. But what better way to get a front-row seat to the fall action and over 50,000 acres of wilderness than staying inside Acadia National Park?

Best campground in Acadia National Park

Schoodic Woods Campground

This is a new campground inside the park with a total of 89 sites. 78 have electric hookups. 41 are reserved for RV only and 13 for tent camping. This campground has two group sites and nine walk-to/boat-to sites.

Bookings open two months in advance and the season runs through until 9 October.

Website (for bookings): www.recreation.gov

Contact Details: (207) 288-1300

Address: Inside Acadia National Park

Amenities:

  • Dump station
  • Potable water
  • Trash collection
  • Flush toilets
  • Amphitheater

Rates (paid during reservation):

  • Hike-in tent sites (primitive)- $22
  • Drive up tent/small RV (20 amp)- $30
  • RV with electric-only sites (20/30/50 amp)-$36
  • RV with electric and water (20/30/50 amp)- $40
  • Group tent sites- $60

Additional information: Access pass holders get discounts.

The park entry fee to Acadia National Park is $30 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days

2. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Don’t be surprised to find thousands of other outdoor lovers coming to New Hampshire to enjoy the magical annual display of color during the fall season. The peak times are from the end of September to mid-October.

Fall campgrounds - White Mountain National Forest

Book your camping spot in advance; the best time to visit is during weekdays as weekends, even in the early fall, are crowded. If you are adventurous, evade the crowd by venturing into less-crowded paths. Side roads in small villages will also take you through the beautiful New England mountain landscape.

Be sure to check out the fall fair while in town. The locals’ hospitability is legendary, and they love these family-friendly themed celebrations.

You can also enjoy the beautiful colors of the White Mountains in several other ways; by taking a guided tour to Mount Washington, via cable car on the Cannon Mountain Aerial tramway, via chairlifts at Cranmore Mountain Resort, or the Wildcat Mountain, or via the Conway railroad.

The Gunstock Mountain Resort provides zipline tours that see you dash through the fall trees’ color splash. You’ll even find seasonal campsites here, too.

Best campground in White Mountain National Forest

Basin Campground

Located 15 miles north of Fryeburg inside the White Mountain National Forest. It has a mix of tent-only and standard sites

Website: www.fs.usda.gov

Contact Details: 603-447-5448

Address: 71 White Mountain Drive Campton, NH  03223

Amenities:

Rates:

May 27, 2022 – October 09, 2022 (Peak Season):

  • Standard Nonelectric – $20
  • Tent Only Nonelectric -$20

May 26, 2023 – October 08, 2023 (Peak Season):

  • Standard Nonelectric – $20
  • Tent Only Nonelectric – $20

3. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Heading over to the west coast, we have to start with Mount Rainier, less than 2 hours away from Seattle.

When you get to Mount Rainier National Park in the fall, go straight to Reflection Lakes. This is one of the best spots to observe and capture the beauty of the fall foliage on this mountain.

Fall campgrounds - Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier contains waterfalls, lakes, meadows, and vast natural vegetation, making it a great location for taking unforgettable photos. The best time to visit is the last week of September. Fall foliage is at its peak from mid-September to mid-October.

Besides the Reflection Lakes, other places to photograph the fall foliage here include the Yakima peak, the Tipsoo Lake area, and the Emmons Glacier along the Silver Forest trail.

Skyline trail is the most popular trail on Mount Rainier. Other trails you can explore are the Burroughs Mountain trail, Naches peak loop, silver falls trail, and the Reflection Lakes loop.

Best campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park

Cougar Rock Campground

This campground is located in the South Western section of the park. It has 179 individual sites and 5 group sites, open until early October.

Contact Details: 360 569-2211

Address: 39000 State Route 706 E Ashford, WA 98304

Amenities:

  • Vault toilet
  • Potable water

Rates:

  • Individual sites – $20
  • Group site fee – $60

Additional information

Ohanapecosh Campground

This campground is located on the South Eastern section of the park. It also contains 179 individual sites and 2 group sites, open until early October.

Contact Details: 360 569-2211

Address: 39000 State Route 706 E Ashford, WA 98304

Amenities:

Rates:

  • Individual sites – $20
  • Group site fee – $60

Additional information

The park entry fee to Mount Rainier National Park is $30 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days

4. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

As summer fades into the fall season, the deciduous aspens start changing color from bright green to yellow. Wildlife starts migrating, too, as they seek better places to spend the winter. You cannot miss the bison and elks that come to feed on the lush montane vegetation.

The changing colors make fall hiking in the Grand Tetons a spectacular experience. Be on the lookout for bears as they come into the foliage to look for food and hideouts in preparation for hibernation.

Fall campgrounds - Grand Tenton

There are over ten hiking trails in the Grand Teton National Park, and each trail delivers a different experience. Check the forecast before you visit because mountain storms are frequent and unpredictable in the fall.

Hiking trails in the Grand Tetons are open throughout the year, offering you the perfect opportunity to indulge in stunning wild landscapes and take stunning wildlife photos.

Best campgrounds in the Grand Teton National Park

Gros Ventre Campground

Open until early October, campsites at Grand Tenton can be booked up to 6 months in advance on a rolling basis.

Website: www.gtlc.com/camping

Contact Details: 307-543-3100

Address: 100 Gros Ventre Campground Road Kelly, WY 83011

Amenities:

  • Dump station
  • Potable water
  • Trash collection
  • Flush toiles

Rates:

  • Individual tent or RV sites are $46.62 per night
  • Electric-only sites are $78.81 per night
  • Group campsites are $16.65 per person per night

Additional information

  • The rates are lower if you have an ADA access pass

Signal Mountain Campground

Contact Details: 307-543-2831

Address: 1 Inner Park Rd Moran, WY 83013

Amenities:

  • Dump station
  • Potable water
  • Trash collection
  • Flush toilets

Rates:

  • Individual tent or RV sites are $46.62 per night
  • Electric-only sites are $78.81 per night
  • Group campsites are $16.65 per person per night

Additional information

  • The rates are lower if you have an ADA access pass

The park entry fee to Grand Tenton National Park is $35 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days

5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake in Oregon is renowned for its tall, imposing cliffs and pristine blue water. It is also known as the deepest volcanic lake in the US. Summertime is popular here because of Crater Lake’s proximity to Medford (just an hour’s drive away).

Fall campgrounds - Crater Lake

In the fall, the rim of Crater Lake bursts with striking orange, gold, and red hues as the trees change their color in the fall. The pine, conifers, and native larch trees are responsible for this beauty.

When driving or hiking, do not miss the two waterfalls here; the Vidae waterfall and the Plaikni falls. Be on the lookout for grizzly bears while hiking or camping in Crater Lake National Park.

Best campground in Crater Lake National Park

Mazama Campground

This campground is located 7 miles south of Rim Village. There are 214 sites here, open until the end of September.

Contact Details: 866-292-6720

Address: Mazama Village Crater Lake, OR 97604

Amenities:

  • Laundry facilities
  • Dump station
  • Potable water
  • Trash collection and recycling centers
  • Amphitheater
  • Fire rings
  • Flush toilets

Rates:

RV sites

  • No hook-ups – $31
  • Electrical hookups – $36
  • Full hookups – $42

The park entry fee to Crater Lake National Park is $30 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days

6. Rocky Mountains, Colorado

The Rockies are a great camping destination, no matter what time of the year you visit. However, the magic happens in the fall. The changing of color in the vast landscape as the autumn season beckons in late August is a sight to behold.

Fall campgrounds - Rocky Mountains

The Aspen trees change into a golden-yellow hue, bathing the whole wilderness with different shades of yellow. This process is called quaking. It is a natural phenomenon exclusive to aspen trees in Colorado. The trees also provide a rich habitat for wild elks and other animals to thrive as they migrate into the montane region from the alpines.

There are many hiking trails to explore here during this time of the year. Most of them are still accessible even during the winter season. You may meet other campers and backpackers coming to take advantage of the beauty of the fall in the Rockies.

Fishing, bird-watching, wildlife-watching, cycling, and hiking are other activities you can enjoy in the fall in the Rockies.

Best campgrounds in the Rockies

There are five campgrounds here, all requiring reservations in advance. The two best to try:

Aspenglen Campground

There are 52 individual campsites on this campground, reservable on a 6-month basis until 27 September, suitable for RV campers.

Contact Details: 970-586-1206

Address: Cascade Cottages Road Rocky Mountain National Park Estes Park, CO 80517

Amenities:

  • Food storage locker
  • Seasonal Potable water
  • Trash collection and recycling centers
  • Amphitheater
  • Seasonal flush toilets

Rates:

Moraine Park Campground

This is the largest campground in the park, with 244 individual sites on the east side of the park, with a slightly longer season through until early October.

Contact Details: 970-586-1206

Address: Moraine Park Road Estes Park, CO 80517

Amenities:

  • Seasonal dump station
  • Food storage locker
  • Seasonal potable water
  • Trash collection and recycling centers
  • Seasonal Amphitheater
  • Seasonal flush toilets

The park entry fee to Rocky Mountains National Park is $35 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days. Timed entrance passes are also required from late may Until 10 October.

7. Glacier National Park, Montana

The Going-to-the-Sun road that leads to Glacier National Park is full of tourists in the summer. In fact, one of the most popular drives in the US, you now require a timed entry reservation to enter from May through until early September 6am to 4pm.

Come mid-September, the crowds have dwindled, the temperatures drop, and the bright hues of fall blanket this spectacular Montana national park.

Fall campgrounds - Glacier National park

The 50 miles winding road takes approximately 2 hours to explore because you will be making numerous stops along the way to enjoy the beautiful landscapes. The highest point on this road (the Logan Pass) offers you one of the most spectacular views of the Glacier National Park.

The Logan Pass opens up the mountain and the vast valley below in the fall season. The deciduous conifers will have turned yellow by this time of the year.

Make sure to check conditions and road closures in the park before you plan your visit to Glacier National Park.

Best campground in Glacier National Park

Ask about camping regulations at the park’s center. Unlike other national park campsites, these camping spots are not reserved through recreation.gov. An early season close for summer sites in mid-September, or primitive sites are available until the end of October.

Bowman Lake Campground

There are 46 sites within this campground

Contact Details: 406-888-7800

Address:  At the foot of Bowman Lake, NE Glacier Park, 6.3 miles NE of Polebridge

Amenities:

  • Seasonal potable water
  • Food storage lockers
  • Trash collection and recycling centers
  • Picnic tables and fire rings
  • Seasonal vault toilets

Rates:

  • $15 Per site (Summer)
  • $10 per site (Primitive camping) – No potable water or dump facilities are available

The park entry fee to Glacier National Park is $35 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days, winter rates apply from 1 November $25

8. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina & Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the fall season, the colors form rainbows here. This is because the park contains the largest collection of different tree species (including red maples, oaks, hickories, sugar maples, and sweetgum) in the US.

Fall campgrounds - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Most tree species that grow in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are deciduous. These deciduous trees usually change color earlier than others because they grow in high elevation areas with cooler temperatures.

Generally, fall foliage starts a bit earlier than in other places on this list. It begins in mid-September and stretches to early November. The best time to visit when everything is at its peak is in mid-October.

Best campgrounds in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Campgrounds are available throughout the year unless otherwise advised. There are several camping options inside this park

Backcountry camping

Contact https://smokiespermits.nps.gov/ for reservations and more information.

Front country camping

There are ten campgrounds here including;

  • Abrams Creek Campground – 16 tent sites
  • Balsam Mountain Campground – 43 tent sites
  • Big Creek Campground – 12 tent sites and 1 group site
  • Cades Cove Campground – 159 tent sites and 3 group sites
  • Cataloochee Campground – 27 tent sites and 3 group sites
  • Cosby Campground – 157 tent sites and 3 group sites
  • Deep Creek Campground – 92 tent sites and 3 group sites
  • Elkmont Campground – 220 tent sites and 4 group sites
  • Look Rock Campground – 68 tent sites
  • Smokemont Campground – 142 tent sites and 3 group sites

Basic amenities in these campgrounds include: Seasonal potable water, seasonal vault toilets, trash collection and recycling centers, and food storage lockers

Rates:

Rates vary between $17.50 – $25 per person per night for tent camping

Group campgrounds rates vary between $30 – $60 depending on the number of campers

Although there’s no national park entry fee for Great Smoky Mountains, they have implemented a “parking tag” system to take effect from 1 March 2023 – rates above are subject to change

9. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park shares many physical characteristics with The Great Smoky Mountains National Park because they are in the same Appalachian Mountain region. Camping is a popular activity in the summer because the park contains numerous waterfalls and other attractions.

The fall season is not as crowded as the summer, but the beautiful landscape is still remarkable. The drive up the mountain offers an introduction to what to expect – and will not disappoint.

Fall campgrounds - Shenandoah

The peak time for fall foliage in Shenandoah is mid-October. The Skyline Drive offers you a peek into the treasures held within the boundaries of this park. We are talking about wildlife, vegetation, waterfalls, birds, and the stunning landscape.

Campers and hikers can tackle the moderate Stony Man Trail and experience the beauty of the fall foliage first-hand. You still have eight other hiking trails to explore, and they all take you through diverse landscapes.

At less than an hour’s drive from the epi-center of Washington DC, Shenandoah National Park offers the perfect fall retreat for campers seeking a short escape from the busy city life.

Best campground in Shenandoah National Park

You’ll find a choice of five campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park. Our preferred option for fall camping:

Big Meadows Campground

There are 221 sites on this campground, centrally located within the park and open until early November.

Contact Details: (540) 999-3500

Address: 304 Big Meadows Access Road Robertson, VA 22851

Amenities:

  • Camp Store
  • Laundry
  • Dump Station
  • Firewood For Sale
  • Ice Available For Sale
  • Food Storage Lockers
  • Trash/Recycling Collection
  • Amphitheater
  • Staff or Volunteer Host On Site
  • Potable Water
  • Flush Toilets
  • Showers – Coin-Operated

Rates:

  • Group campsite – nonelectric – $75
  • Standard campsite – nonelectric – $30

The park entry fee to Shenandoah National Park is $30 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days

10. Yosemite National Park, California

Bigleaf maple, quaking aspens, oakwood, and dogwood trees turn the whole park into an exotic splash of color in the fall. The best time to visit Yosemite for fall colors is early November, with peak foliage season stretching into December.

Fall campgrounds - Yosemite

Five vantage positions exist from which you can capture beautiful memories in the fall inside this park: The Valley, in the meadows, the Glacier point, Tuolumne, and Wawona.

Yosemite may not have as bright fall colors as the other locations and campgrounds on this list, but it makes up for the majestic views of the lush landscape and sprawling valleys. No matter the season, Yosemite is a must-see in Northern California.

Camping in Yosemite National Park

Camping is allowed throughout the year in Yosemite, although not all campgrounds are open in late fall and winter.

You can choose a campground depending on the side of Yosemite you find yourself in. All require reservations, and note, a few of the campgrounds on this list are currently closed for rehabilitation.

Campgrounds in Yosemite Valley:

  • Upper Pines campground – 238 sites/$36 per person (year-round & RV-friendly)
  • Lower Pines campground – 60 sites/$36 per person (open until late October)
  • North Pines campground – 81 sites/$36 per person (open until late October)
  • Camp 4 – 61 sites/$10 per person – (runs on a day-before lottery over summer)

Campgrounds in the South of Yosemite Valley:

  • Wawona campground – 93 sites/$36 per person (closed 2022)
  • Bridalveil Creek campground – 110 sites/$36 per person (July to mid-September; closed 2022)

Campgrounds in the North of Yosemite Valley:

  • Hodgdon Meadow – 105 sites/$36 per person (open year-round)
  • Crane Flat – 166 sites/$36 per person (July to mid-October)
  • Tamarack Flat – 152 sites/$24 per person (tent only June to September)
  • Yosemite Creek – 75 sites/$24 per person (July to early September)
  • White Wolf – 74 sites/$30 per person (July to early September)
  • Porcupine Flat – 52 sites/$20 per person (July to early October)
  • Tuolumne Meadows – 304 sites/$7 per person (closed until 2025)

Contact details: 209-372-0200 (extension 3)

Website (for bookings): www.recreation.gov

Basic amenities in all campgrounds:

  • Tap water
  • Seasonal potable water
  • Dump stations (in some campgrounds)
  • RV Camping
  • Firewood on sale
  • Pet-friendly (except on camp 4)

The park entrance fee for Yosemite National Park is $35 per private vehicle, valid for the duration of your stay if camping. The separate summer entrance reservation system for Yosemite is not applicable for those holding a camping reservation

More Family Camping Tips

We hope this list of fall campgrounds has you inspired to do some out-of-season camping at some of the most spectacular national parks and forest locations across the USA.

Before you head off on a family camping trip, you may also be interested in:

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