Posted on 30/09/2021

#Nature #Italy

Forget summer! These national parks shine in the fall

The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to nature preserves is usually large swaths of summer landscapes, but hot, sunny skies aren't always all they're cracked up to be. Summer weather also brings summer tourists, making many beautiful spots not quite so desirable. If you're still looking to commune with nature far from the crowds, these 35 national parks come alive in the fall, when temperatures are mild and visitors few and far between.

Acadia National Park, United States

With its spectacular 35,000 acres of mountains, forests, lakes, islands and coastline, Acadia National Park in Maine is home to more than enough fall foliage for you to explore! Autumn colors are first spotted in September here, but for the most striking of views, plan your visit around mid-October when fall foliage is guaranteed to be in full swing! Enjoy striking scenes of red and orange leaves against the backdrop of the park's rugged coastline. And as night falls, thanks to a lack of pollution, this park doubles as a star-gazing hotspot. on And what's best? You can do all this in peace and quiet, having escaped the disturbance of summer crowds. - © Wasin Pummarin/123RF

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

As the largest National Park in the British Isles, Cairngorms National Park spans six Scottish regions and consequently boasts a great diversity of landscapes across its 1,748 square miles. From the highest point of the Cairngorms mountain range, to vast lochs, quaint villages and ancient castles, this national park has plenty to discover. Why not do so during the best season of the year? Check out the park's Old Packhorse Bridge, the Highlands' oldest stone bridge crossing the River Dulnain, or visit the picturesque Loch an Eilein. Whatever your itinerary, Scotland's autumn sun beats down on the park's golden leaves, and icy glistening lakes making fall the best time to pay a visit. - © David Head/123RF

Naejangsan National Park, South Korea

Meaning inside or concealed, Naejangsan is the perfect name for this South Korean national park. Not only is it home to the Naejangsan mountain, at 2,500 feet high, but also hundreds of unique species of flora and fauna. And with 919 plant species hiding here, there's no better time to leaf spot here than in fall when red and orange maple leaves bloom and bright yellow ginko tree leaves glow! The brilliant colors are complemented by the dense surrounding evergreens, lakes, and intricate temples. To be truly swept away by this explosion of color, plan your visit during October and November. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and catch a glimpse of one of the park's 1,880 endangered animal species. - © Tawatchai Prakobkit/123RF

Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Named after the mountaintop found at its heart, Triglav National Park is a Slovenian national gem and this tiny country's only national park. The soaring mountain at over 9,000 feet high is featured on the national coat of arms and the flag, but this is not the only thing Slovenians have to shout about. Triglav National Park, protected in 1924, is one of Europe's oldest parks, with a network of hiking trails to be explored and a glacial lake, Lake Bohinj, waiting to be admired. But the best thing about fall here is the park's many waterfalls! Whether it be the spectacular Savica Waterfall or the gorge of the River Radona, named Bled Vingtar, there is something special about the sound of fresh water falling against the backdrop of an emerald green forest. Autumn in Triglav is a treat for all of the senses. - © Goran Bogicevic/123RF

Mount Rainier National Park, United States

It is not only its 14,410-foot-tall active volcano that draws visitors to this national park in Washington state, but Rainier is home to an impressive 25 glaciers, as well as forests, meadows and waterfalls. Come late September, the National Park transitions into a scene from a postcard, as its snow-covered mountain top, Snowy Peak as locals call it, directly contrasts with the autumnal forests below. From amber vine maple leaves to huckleberry bushes and golden larch, the fall colors of the surrounding forests pop against the freshly fallen white snow of the mountains. A walk through this National Park during fall will make you feel like you're in a colorful dream. - © Galyna Andrushko/123RF

Grand Teton National Park, United States

For foliage fans, this national park in Wyoming is bound to be 310,000 acres of paradise. And come fall, visitors can explore without the hectic chaos of crowds and unbearable temperatures. Whether you prefer to take one of the park's many hiking trails that vary in difficulty, or its 65 miles of bike paths, you're guaranteed to be met with breathtaking scenery of the park's towering cliffs, glacial canyons and alpine forests. And if that's not enough, you're bound to be impressed by the park's fall wildlife. Where else could you stumble upon rare species such as mooses and bisons as they laze around in the park's meadows or watch bald eagles soaring through the sky? This park has more than enough to keep you entertained, but be sure to keep an eye out for grizzly bears! - © snehit/123RF

Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

Don't be fooled by the name, this National Park is actually found in the eastern German state of Saxony. Nestled between Pirna and the Czech border you'll find nearly 62 miles of tranquil paradise. Here lies a densely packed forest scattered with rocky structures and mountain peaks, perfect for the adventurous climbers out there. Get your hiking boots on and choose from over 250 miles of trails and paths, the best way to explore this park's nature and wildlife. And what better time of the year to do so than fall? Get lost in the park's natural beauty without the stress of the scorching summer sun and herds of tourists. It's every hiker's idea of bliss. - © Aleksandrs Tihonovs/123RF

Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

Maybe you consider Spain to be more of a summer destination with beaches, tapas and sangria? But fall is the time to discover the real taste Spain behind its thriving tourist industry. So why not head to Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park to experience the spectacular Spanish Pyrenees! Even better in autumn, the park's majestic hillsides and valleys are awash with color. Amongst the green valleys and waterfalls, you'll find the stunning Monte Perdido, the third highest peak in the Pyrenees soaring at over 11,000 feet high. But there's more to this park than its peak. Be sure to keep an eye out for the diverse range of flora and fauna that call the Spanish Pyrenees home. It's no wonder this park is a UNESCO world heritage site. - © ANTONIO BALAGUER SOLER/123RF

Oulanka, Finland

Although Finland's Lapland is definitely more well-known for its winter festivities, when it comes to fall Finland has a national park worthy of visiting! Oulanka National Park near the Finnish-Russian border covers over 100 square miles, offering a diversity of landscapes. From waterfalls, vast rivers, forests and gorges, most visitors opt to take this all in via the challenging 50-mile Karhunkierros trail through the park's heart, which can take up to a week to complete. But if you're not an advanced hiker don't worry. The park offers different ways to take advantage of its stunning scenery. Why not take a canoe through the rapids of Oulankajoki river, keeping your eyes peeled for the park's unique plants? One of the park's particular treasures is the pink and white calypso orchid. If you really can't get enough of this park's beauty, you can stay overnight in one of the park's quaint log huts, free of charge. - © auton/123RF

Goreme National Park, Turkey

Boasting picturesque views of the golden-hued moonscape valley, Goreme National Park is as charming as it sounds. With petite meringue-shaped coves dotting the storybook landscape, and fairy-tale dwellings dotting the small surrounding villages, this is one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes. This authentic national park is chock full of with religious ruins carved into rocks and natural formations, making the perfect spot for an open-air museum. Bask in the otherworldly setting by gliding over the magical honey-colored villages and landscape in a hot air balloon. You'll see that Goreme is every inch worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage title. - © Thanan Angkawinijvong/123RF

Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

Most people forget this incredible sight is actually a national park! Boasting dramatic coastal views, Cinque Terre's postcard-perfect neon houses, undulating paths and steep colossal cliffs make this destination second to none. With cars banned over a decade ago, this antique city is wrought with five fishing villages, coastal tunnels and serpentine footpaths. Hung with vineyards and with trattorias embedded within its charming towns, feast on spoils of seafood specialities draped in the Liguria region's signature flavors. And the best part is that in fall, the region is much less crowded than summer. - © sorincolac/123RF

Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

Could Iceland get any more beautiful? Set apart by its heady glaciers, waterfalls, ice caves, and mountain peaks, Vatnajokull National Park is one of Iceland's hidden gems. Exuding an otherworldly beauty, the region is home to a stunning glacial lagoon. Blue water and magical floating icebergs adorn Jokulsarlon, home to wildlife such as seals and skuas. What's more, here you can also find Svartifoss. A column of water tumbles over this cliff's craggy, basalt edge into a pool below. - © Anna Om/123RF

Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park, Romania

Clad with giant rocks, glazed with white-water rapids and incredible fall colors, Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park in Romania is breath-taking. With the Nera Gorge nestled deep in the dense forest landscape, edging down to a waterfall and a stunning blue lake, Cheile Nerei Beusnita's beauty is mesmerizing. This unique national park is also home to amphibians, bats, birds and even vipers so watch your step! - © Milan Maksovic/123RF

Lake District National Park, United Kingdom

Abundant in forested hilltops and stupefying views of the water, Lake District National Park is magical. Boasting enigmatic and dramatic scenery, the Lake District proves to be a great picture spot and the perfect place for a hike thanks to its lyrical landscapes. Not a fan of the English weather? This enchanting national park is even more awe-inspiring when caked in mist. - © khrizmo/123RF

Bialowieza National Park, Poland

Home to the largest herd of European bison in the world, this rare species is making a comeback in this park. Grizzly and mythic-like, these brazen creatures frolicking in nature mimic a fairytale. Often called "the last untouched wilderness of Europe," Bialowieza is one of the only remaining parts of the primeval forest that scopes over Europe. - © Christian Wei/123RF

Port Cros National Park, France

As the wildest and most protected island of the Îles d'Hyères, Port Cros in France is an image of paradise. Surrounded by azure water, a stunning coastline and plentiful sea creatures, Port Cros gives the term national park a new meaning. This beautiful seafront deserves to be cherished, and in fall it's less crowded than other months. - © g0b/123RF

Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, Italy

With picturesque panoramas everywhere you turn, the Dolomites exude prowess. Boasting grandiose mountains and epic plateaus of greenery, the Dolomites have otherworldly beauty. With craggy mountain peaks taking centre stage spanning over the provinces of Trentino and Alto Adige, this national park is even more breathtaking in the crisp autumn air. Home to an expansive azure lake adorned with trees, the Dolomites are worth a visit. - © Elena Shchipkova/123RF

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Enriched with a multitude of wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef is any snorkelers dream, and October is one of the best times to visit. Abundant in coral and weird and wonderful species, the Great Barrier reef's superfluity of colors makes this national park all the more enchanting. The largest protected marine area in the world, Australia's most famed attraction is sun-soaked and encircled by stunning sandy beaches. With over 3,000 individual reef systems, corals and petite picturesque islands dotting the seascape, this national park is treasurous. - © Andrey Bayda/123RF

Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine in Chile's Patagonia region is expansive with soaring mountains, iridescent blue icebergs and blue waters. This multi-dimensional national park is mind-blowing. With its name driven from the three granite towers and horned peaks known as the Cuernos del Paine, this national park is dumbfounding and looks straight out of a fairy tale. - © kavram/123RF

Joshua Tree National Park, United States

This national park in California is constantly changing with the seasons, but autumn brings some beautiful hues to the desert landscape. The whole area is bathed in a soft light, covering the intricate rock formations in gold and creating fascinating silhouettes with the TK trees. Temperatures have cooled down by October, and visitors can see the desert in comfortable, bearable temperatures. - © Thomas Anderson/123RF

Simien National Park, Ethiopia

The Simien Mountains are surely one of Ethiopia's most spectacular destinations. The jagged, tooth-like peaks paint a dramatic picture of pointed mountaintops and deep ravines in the northern part of the country. Having been on UNESCO's red list since the mid-1990s, Simien National Park has finally made it off the list in 2017 following concerted efforts by conservationists. New trails have been forged, allowing tourists to spread out over a wider area of the park instead of being confined to a few overcrowded campsites. In the fall, the landscape is painted a lush green following the summer rainy season, giving visitors a beautiful view of this Ethiopian paradise. - © hecke/123RF

Yellowstone National Park, United States

Fans of autumn foliage will find no better place than Yellowstone. Although there are still tourists, it's a bit quieter than the summer, and there's still plenty of wildlife to be found as long as you remember to keep your distance. 100 yards is acceptable for wolves and bears, and 20 yards for everything else. - © kwiktor/123RF

Calanques National Park, France

These rocky coves in Provence are packed in the summer, but become serene and just as enjoyable in autumn. The scenery becomes slightly orange with the changing weather while wildflowers continue to hang onto their summer blooms. The weather cools down, although not too much, making it a pleasant 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) in mid-October. - © Ryhor Bruyeu/123RF

Tikal National Park, Guatemala

Home to some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in the world, this patch of Guatemalan jungle is incredible any time of the year. Early autumn brings a bit of rain, but the dry season starts at the end of October. Temperatures haven't yet gotten out of control, and autumn makes for the perfect time to see these amazing ruins. - © Martin Schneiter/123rf

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Although smack in the middle of the dry season, fall is one of the best times to spot wild animals in Kruger National Park. The greenery has dried up, meaning that the wildlife is less likely to be concealed. See elephants, lions, rhinoceros, and if you're lucky even elusive cheetahs. - © utopia88/123RF

Lake Titicaca National Reserve, Peru

The highest lake in the Andes is not just a natural attraction. Fall is the best time to see the Uros Islands. These man-made islands are woven together with reeds by the Uros people, who have been constructing them for thousands of years. - © rchphoto/123RF

Everglades National Park, United States

Although the Florida weather isn't at its best in the fall, this is the best time to see wildlife in the everglades. Also, you're less likely to run into tourists. Although still hot and humid, alligators and crocodiles thrive in this environment this time of year, and you're sure to catch a glimpse of at least one. - © Brian Lasenby/123RF

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, United States

Michigan's Upper Peninsula has perhaps some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the world, and in fall the weather is still pleasant enough for kayaking and hiking. The formations of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are bathed in autumn hues, making it a spectacular trip no matter your form of transportation. - © Oleksandr Koretskyi/123RF

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

A dormant volcano created its namesake, a crater lake. The unforgiving climate here means that late summer and early fall are the only times to visit. View this incredible formation, caused by a collapsed volcano, the deepest lake in the United States. - © Andrew Zarivny/123RF

Denali National Park, United States

Alaska is already mainly a state of never ending wilderness, so you can imagine how pristine a national park there might be. Of incredible beauty year-round, Denali National Park becomes particularly breathtaking during the fall. The towering mountains are often snow-capped, which accentuates their ominous character and gives a slightly gloomy look to the surrounding landscape. The alpine tundra tinted with warm autumn colors envelops the mountains' immaculate peaks with a vibrant blend of purple, orange and red. The six million acres park is notably home to North America's highest point, Mount McKinley. Wild animals of all kinds also roam the dense forest, colorful steppe, and enchanting rivers of Denali. - © Galyna Andrushko/123RF

Yosemite National Park, United States

This emblematic national park offers an impressive collection of nature's best creations. The many marvels include towering sequoias, sublime cliffs, and otherworldly waterfalls. In Yosemite, diverse wildlife and varied flora thrive, creating a jaw-dropping scene that has been carefully kept untouched. If you want to see unspoiled and profuse beauty unfurl before you everywhere you turn, head to the Golden State, where the stars are not only in Hollywood but also in the obscurity that cloaks Yosemite at night. The national park also offers myriad activities, including hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and so much more. For those who don't consider themselves sports enthusiasts or those who want a reward after a long day filled with activities, wining and dining events are also organized regularly in the gorgeous park. - © Mariusz Blach/123rf

Jiuzhaigou National Park, China

Located in the southwest of China's Sichuan province, Jiuzhaigou National Park seems to come straight out of a fairytale. The park's alpine lakes are its most striking feature, as the bright foliage reflects in the aquamarine blue of the water, creating an awe-inspiring, undulating color palette. Jiuzhaigou is also home to verdant grasslands, quaint tibetan villages, and snow-capped peaks, and the park's magnificent multi-level waterfalls are definitely up there among the park's most breathtaking wonders. Fall is known to be the best season to visit Jiuzhaigou, when the saturated autumn colors that adorn the valleys seem to leak into the lakes' clear waters. - © efired/123RF

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia

For the perfect blend of nature and culture, head to the Caucasus. Located in central Georgia in the Lesser Caucasus, Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one among many national parks in Georgia and is one of the largest in Europe. The park's history dates all the way back to medieval times when it was used as a hunting area by the local nobility. With its verdant meadows and towering mountains as far as the eye can see, Borjomi-Kharagauli immerses you into pristine scenery like no other. But an endless green horizon isn't the only thing this park offers. Historical and architectural monuments can be found all over Borjomi-Kharagauli, and local cottages make for the perfect lodging for an authentic experience of Georgian hospitality. The park is also known for its naturally carbonated mineral water, which is considered to be among the purest in the world and is famous for having many health benefits. - © Rafal Cichawa/123RF

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Situated in the mountainous karst area in central Croatia and home to one of most impressive formations of limestone, Plitvice Lakes National Park is renowned for its geological endowment. Triassic dolomitic rock and Jurassic limestone sediments have shaped the area's landscape, through water retention and canyon formation, which has led to the creation of the park's most beautiful treasures. Plitvice's most jaw-dropping feature is the series of interconnected lakes whose coordinated water flow end up forming dazzling cascades. In autumn, the park's rocky cliffs put on a colorful apparel which only adds to the beauty of these gorgeous waterfalls. - © Roland Barat/123RF

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, United States

Although Cleveland, Ohio is only a short ride away, when you are in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you'll feel like there is no urban life in a thousand mile radius. Thriving wildlife has made the national park its home, including a large population of beavers that created the Beaver Marsh, a beautiful wetland that can be observed up close by visitors through a boardwalk. The unspoiled scenery made of dense woods, colorful hills, and verdant farmlands will make for the perfect nature retreat. Farmers' markets and hikes are also a delightful way to be completely immersed in the relaxed atmosphere of Ohio's countryside, while a train ride makes for effortless sightseeing and is particularly nice when the park is ornate with autumn's magnificent colors. - © Michael Shake/123RF