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The changing of seasons can sometimes inspire change within ourselves, especially when moving from summer to autumn. Leaves change color, from their uniform shade of green to various vibrant varieties of reds, oranges and yellows. The air has a certain crisp feel to it, no longer humid and heavy like in the summer. Maybe these drastic changes are what inspire the urge to take brisk morning hikes. If you are looking for a change, of scenery or self, here are six fall hikes you need to try on the East Coast.

McAfee’s Knob in Roanoke, Virginia

The McAfee’s Knob overlook, in Roanoke, Virginia, is one of themost photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. Just one look and it’s easy to see why. It offers a wide panoramic view of the Catawba Valley, North Mountain to the West, Tinker Cliffs to the North and the Roanoke Valley to the East.

The stunning view from McAfee Knob is part of why it's one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. Photo credit: Bruce Henderson and Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.

The stunning view from McAfee Knob is part of why it’s one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. Photo credit: Bruce Henderson and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

The hike to the knob, from the most popular starting place—the VA311 parking area—is a little more than four miles and is of an intermediate difficulty. Easy enough for the family but steep enough for a workout… It all depends on the pace of your group.

The trails winds through the densely wooded Virginia landscape and gives you a look into what this part of the country might have looked like before civilization. The colors of fall are unavoidable during this hike, and when you reach the top you’ll be greeted by a landscape so colorful you’ll swear it’s a painting.

Annapolis Rock near Boonsboro, Maryland

Another popular spot on the Appalachian Trail, Annapolis Rock offers a crazy-good view of the state of Maryland, which makes this hike one of the most popular in the state.

Annapolis Rock overlook. By Patorjk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Annapolis Rock overlook | Patorjk, via Wikimedia Commons

The hike to Annapolis Rock is around five miles long and is said to be of a moderate difficulty, yet kid friendly. The trail is accessible year-round, which means it is also a popular fall hike for all types of visitors.

If you are looking for an even more panoramic view with less traffic, you can hike one more mile to Black Rock Cliff. This rock is also a popular attraction for rock climbers.

If this extra mile is not for you and you’d like to stay by Annapolis Rock for the night, the campground nearby is a non-fee first come-first-serve campground.

The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island

A different type of hike, the famous Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, combines natural beauty with architectural history. The walk features Rhode Island’s coastline and beautiful Newport mansions. The walk was made an official National Recreation Trail in 1975 and is open year-round.

View from Cliff Walk, Newport. Photo credit: Ken Gallager at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: View from Cliff Walk, Newport | Ken Gallager, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiking can take many forms—some hikers like their trails to be rough and natural, while other prefer a well-kept and preserved trail. But if you are looking for an experience that has a little taste of both, the Cliff Walk is for you.

Much of the walk is paved and easy to take, however, parts of it are quite rugged. The 3.5-mile walk/hike begins at First Beach on Memorial Boulevard, and you can exit the trail at various locations.

Although Newport was once known as a ‘summer playground’ of America’s wealthiest families, as seen by their huge mansions while on the Cliff Walk, fall offers an entirely new background for the incredible architecture. Mansions like ‘The Breakers,’ ‘Rosecliff’ and ‘Rough Point’ are complimented by fall colors and the scent of brisk sea air.

The mansions are available to tour, and one-house tickets are $16 for adults and $7. And if you’d like to see more than one of them, packages of two-house tickets and five-house tickets are also available.

Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The Maryland Heights hike in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia is a very popular hike that attracts countless visitors during its peak season. So if you’re hoping to avoid the overcrowding, it’s a great autumn hike.

With a view of Harpers Ferry, tons of Civil War History and a moderately difficult trail, this hike is not short on entertainment value.

View of Harpers Ferry taken from the Maryland Heights trail overlook. Photo credit: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

View of Harpers Ferry taken from the Maryland Heights trail overlook. Photo credit: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

Maryland Heights Loop is almost five miles in total and features access to ruins of Union Civil War forts and infantry encampments, as well as views of the natural West Virginia landscape.

The first part of the hike is where you will see that overlook of Harpers Ferry, as well as the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Although the hike is said to be of moderate difficulty, it is quite steep and certainly calls for some patience and good pacing.You can always turn back once seeing the overlook, but the second leg of the hike is where you will find the Civil War history experience.

Bonus: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park also offers several other hikes and museums to further indulge your inner history buff.

Camel’s Hump State Park, Vermont

The Monroe Trail at Camel’s Hump State Park in Vermont is one of the longer, and more difficult hikes on this list. The nearly 7-mile, round-trip hike to the Camel’s Hump summit is not for the faint of heart, but the views are well worth the climb.

Of all the fall hikes on this list, this one's view is among the most gorgeous - pictured here are rolling green mountains as far as the eye can see.

Camel’s Hump. Photo credit: Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

The majority of the Monroe Trail is within a hardwood forest of birch and maple, which you will see from above once reaching the summit.

It’ll be hard to believe that there is still so much wilderness in the USA’s East Coast. And although the trail is popular, you are sure to experience the solitude of the Appalachian trail while on this hike.

The hike begins in a parking lot at the end of Camel’s Hump Road, in North Duxbury. Because of its difficulty level, this trail requires more gear than other trails on this list. Be sure to bring shoes with ankle support and lots of water. You’ll have to sign in at the trail register once you have begun your hike.

Gorham Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine

Going along with the theme of ‘most popular fall hikes’, Gorham Mountain trail in Maine, is one of Acadia National Park’s most popular hikes. Although it is not the tallest peak in the park, the Gorham Mountain trail is popular for its views of the surrounding mountains and Maine’s coast.

This fall hike yields stunning views of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park. Photo Credit: Maine Office of Tourism.

Only two miles round trip, starting at the Gorham Trail parking lot on Park Loop Road, this hike is highly accessible. The ascent to the top is gradual and only 500 feet. The trail offers incredible views of Maine’s natural landscape from spring to fall.

Not long after beginning your hike, you will come across the mountain’s ‘faux summit,’ where you can see Otter Cliff, Baker Island and the Cranberry Islands.

Further up ahead is the actual summit of the hike, where you will see Sand Beach, the Beehive and Otter Point. While there, take is the sights, sounds and smells of Acadia National Park. In the fall, this means bright warm colors, the wind blowing across the ocean, and the fresh ocean spray in the air.

Tagged: Seasonal, Tips & advice

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