Fall Foliage Kayaking Hot Spots

September 21, 2022

Info about some hot spots for kayaking in the fall weather.
Fall Foliage Kayaking Hot Spots

One of the best times of year to get out on the water is during the fall, when deciduous trees are beginning the process of shedding their leaves. During this annual event, which happens in several zones across North America and the world, what was a collection of forgettable green leaves morphs to unforgettable shades of yellow, red, pink and sometimes orange. Color sequences and timing are all dependent on that particular year's weather and freezing patterns. Each year this ever changing rainbow of color is drawn out over the days and weeks of mid- to late fall, when the sun has lost its potency, the air is a little crisper and conditions are perfect for paddling. Here’s a round up of hot spots to check out if you want to peep the leaves this autumn…

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Seeking leafing opportunities in the Northeastern United States is a classic choice location. Even if you're a complete novice to fall exploration, this region has a longstanding reputation for the best autumn landscapes in the nation. If you want to have the most tried and true, traditional leaf peeping experience offered, look to the Northern Forest Canoe Trails recommendations for autumn views. The Androscoggin River in New Hampshire, the Dead and Moose Rivers in Maine, the Missisquoi in Vermont and the Raquette River in New York are among the top recommendations. See the following sites to track the autumn rainbow: 

Maine Foliage Conditions
New Hampshire Foliage Tracker
New York Fall Foliage Report
Vermont Fall Foliage Report
New England Today Fall Foliage Map
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Whether self-guided or with a tour outfitter, exploring the Lakeshore line of Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior in the fall is a can’t-miss leafing hot spot. In particular, the changing fall color hues set against the white sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks sets the scene off in a uniquely dramatic landscape, available no where else. This is an absolute top pick for leafing this fall.

Yellow River Water Trail, Iowa and Lower Columbia River Trail, WA

The Yellow River cuts through one of the largest remaining hardwood stands of trees west of the Mississippi. This allows for a spectacular paddle tour from the water of uncommon yet outstanding ancient trees. 

In the Columbia River Gorge,the river traildoesn’t disappoint. Beacon Rock, Pierce National Wildlife Refuge and Mount Hood National Forest all deliver colorful views. An added bonus with this pic is observing the diversity of waterfowl that use this patch of water as a migratory flyway stop over during autumn months. 

When in doubt, just hit the road. Wherever you live, in whatever region, you're likely to have a fall leaf transition happening near you. Go check out your usual paddle haunts with the intention of scoping out epic autumn colors. Drop a line in our comments and let us know what kayakable leafing hot spots are popping near you!