Bishop California Fall Colors

Trip Planning

Lesser Known Places to See Great Fall Colors Out West

Many people don't realize that there are beautiful places to see fall colors in the western part of the United States, and not just the northeast. Jeff Crider shares some of these stunning fall destinations including what to see and where to stay.

RV enthusiasts seeking fall color often travel through the hills and valleys of New England, along the Blue Ridge Parkway and to iconic Rocky Mountain destinations like Colorado’s Kebler Pass or Aspen's Maroon Bells. But there are many other less publicized locations across the country where RV enthusiasts can also enjoy spectacular fall colors, and often without as many people as they would otherwise encounter in the more popular fall destinations. Out West, for example, there are lots of beautiful aspen groves in remote locations such as Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce National Park in Utah, where aspens usually turn into shimmering shades of yellow, orange and red by mid- or late September.

(Photo courtesy of National Park Service)

Both Cedar Breaks and Bryce have campgrounds inside the parks, but there are independently owned and operators campgrounds outside these parks, too, including Cedar City RV Resort, an Rjourney park in Cedar City, and Ruby's Red Inn RV Park and Campground in Bryce Canyon City. Utah is also the home of the Pando Grove, a 100-acre aspen grove that is considered to be the largest living organism on the plant. has identified several campgrounds near this unique aspen grove.

There are also several beautiful drives through south-central Utah that include dramatic sections of fall colors along way, such as Scenic Byway 12 from Capital Reef National Park to Bryce National Park. Campgrounds along this route include Bryce Canyon RV Resort, an Rjourney park in Cannonville.

Aspens are also plentiful in the higher elevations of New Mexico. For those who simply want to enjoy scenic drives and fun places to explore in fall, the 84-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is a worthwhile trip. The route begins in Taos and heads north past the turnoff to Taos Ski Valley, which is located in a pine and aspen filled canyon nearly 20 miles north of Taos itself. It’s worth taking the drive up the canyon in fall as the views of aspen light up the drive.

(Photo courtesy of New Mexico TRUE)

While the Enchanted Circle does a 360 around 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain, it also passes through the tiny mountain town of Red River before climbing Bobcat Pass at 9,820 feet, and descending again back toward Taos, passing through the tiny towns of Eagle Nest and near the town of Angel Fire. Campgrounds in this area include Road Runner Red River Resort in Red River and Sierra Hermosa RV Park in Questa. Roadrunner RV Park in Red River, a forested campground with campsites close to Red River itself, which flows though the spacious campground.

If you’re willing to do some hiking, the 7.4-mile Tesuque and Aspen Vista Loop trail, roughly an hour’s drive from Santa Fe, offers spectacular views of aspen groves. Nearby campgrounds include Rancheros de Santa Fe RV Park and Campground and Santa Fe Park RV Resort, both in Santa Fe.

Other exceptionally scenic fall color destinations Out West include Montana's Bitterroot Valley, which offers more than a dozen great places to go hiking to see the area’s fall foliage. highlights places to go horseback riding, fishing and rock climbing. Campgrounds in this area include
Black Rabbit RV Park in Hamilton.

Another lesser known fall destination Out West is northern Idaho’s segment of the International Selkirk Loop, which runs from Priest River, through Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, all the way to the Canadian border and the border town of Porthill. This scenic fall route includes the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge which sits at the base of the Selkirk Mountain Range.

Campgrounds in this area include North Haven Campground and Idaho Lodge and RV Park, both in Bonners Ferry. highlights specific routes with the best fall colors in these areas.

Even lower-elevation areas Out West have some spectacular colors in the fall, particularly in California’s Owens Valley, the 80-mile-long high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Central California. The valley’s quaint towns have picturesque, mature cottonwood trees that can light up into bright shades of yellow and even orange when conditions are right, usually by late October.

Owens Valley campgrounds include Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine and Brown's Owens River Campground near Bishop.

Jeff Crider


Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.