Autumn in the United States

Japanese Maple at the Biltmore

The lacy leaves and wandering branches of a Japanese maple lend drama to the grounds of the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina. Built in 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt, the Biltmore is the largest private residence in the United States and includes more than 75 acres (30 hectares) of manicured gardens.

Grizzly Bear in Denali Park

Autumn paints the valleys of Denali National Park in Alaska, home to more than 650 species of flowering plants. Fall brings changing patterns of color and motion to much of the United States, which covers lands from the tropics to the Arctic.

Here a grizzly bear forages in Denali’s 6 million acres (2.4 million hectares), bulking up for its winter hibernation. Also dependent on the park’s fall grasses, mosses, and shrubs are migrating birds and bull moose, which gather in their cows for the mating season.

Maple Tree in Zion Park

Red maple leaves and gold on a cottonwood announce the arrival of fall in the pink sandstone canyons of Zion National Park in Utah. Both tree species hug water sources in this arid land of high plateaus and rock towers.

Aspen Trees in Elk Mountains, Colorado

Quaking aspens like these in the Elk Mountains of western Colorado, whose leaves tremble in the slightest wind, are common across North America. Known for tolerating poor soils and cold climates, aspens flash yellow against their white bark in an unmistakable sign of coming winter.

Marcellina Mountain, Colorado

Colorado’s Raggeds Wilderness—named for peaks like Marcellina Mountain—turns to gold in autumn. The wilderness covers nearly 65,000 acres (26,000 hectares) of the White River and Gunnison National Forests. It includes some of the world’s largest stands of fast-growing aspen trees, which can gain 5 feet (1.5 meters) in a year.

Fall Foliage in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is ablaze with fall colors—the yellow and orange of poplars, birches, striped maples, and hickories, punctuated with the red of sugar and red maples. The valley runs 200 miles (300 kilometers) across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Barn and field echo the nickname given to the valley during the Civil War—Breadbasket of the Confederacy.

Girl on Sidewalk in Portland, Maine

Autumn winds stop a girl on a sidewalk in Portland, Maine. The leaves that surround her are from maples, oaks, and dozens of other species, the result of an aggressive tree-planting program in the 1970s. Long called the “Forest City,” Portland maintains at least 20,000 trees today, including about a hundred elm trees that survived a 1960s outbreak of Dutch Elm disease.

Central Park and Manhattan Skyline

Autumn softens this aerial view of New York City’s Central Park, the first public park built in the U.S. With roughly 25 million visitors each year, it is also the most frequented park. Yet the park's 843 acres (341 hectares), seven bodies of water, and more than 30 bridges and arches offer a vital sense of calm and space in the city that never sleeps.

Hikers in Denali State Park, Alaska

Hikers in Denali State Park, just east of the national park, take in awe-inspiring views of the Alaska Range. They follow Little Coal Creek Trail through alpine meadows overlooking a river bright with glacial silt.

Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine

Autumn’s grandeur spreads across Eagle Lake on Mount Desert Island, one of several coastal islands that make up Acadia National Park in Maine. Eagle Lake, which supplies water to nearby Bar Harbor, is deep, clear, and relatively free of plant life.

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