The Seven Best Hikes for Your Fall Getaway

Fall often evokes images of cuddling up by a cozy fire with your favorite fall-themed beverage. This year, enjoy that pumpkin-spiced latte or hot apple cider after a day of hiking in beautiful weather and striking autumn hues. In the spirit of the season, we wanted to share seven of our favorite fall getaways tucked away in some of the most beautiful national park sites in the West.

Dune Life Nature Trail at White Sands National Park (courtesy of NPS).

Dune Life Nature Trail

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Length: 1 mile


Average time to complete: 17 minutes

Bring your B.A.R.K. Ranger along! Leashed dogs are welcome on this trail

This quick-and-easy loop trail is the perfect way to kick off your visit to the unique gypsum dunefields at White Sands National Park. With a fascinating natural and cultural history, White Sands National Park preserves some of the earliest known evidence of human inhabitance in the nation. This is a park not to be missed and there are plenty of fun events happening in the fall that make this hike a perfect destination for your fall getaway. With full moon hikes, musical events, artist exhibits and more, check out everything happening in the park as you plan your visit.

Check out the Dune Life Nature Trail

Bristlecone Pine at night (courtesy of NPS).

The Bristlecone Trail

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Length: 2.8 miles


Average time to complete: 1 hour and 54 minutes

Leave the pups at home! Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

This 2.8-mile, out-and-back hike is spectacular in the fall when the ancient bristlecone pines, some of them more than 4,000 years old, take on the stunning hues of gold and red. You can add a few miles and continue on the Glacier Trail, which will take you to Nevada’s only glacier. Best enjoyed March through October, this trail is not to be missed when you visit Great Basin National Park!

Check out The Bristlecone Trail

Dwellings built at the base of the cliff at Long House (courtesy of NPS).

Pueblo Loop Trail (Main Ruin Loop Trail)

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Length: 1.7 miles


Average time to complete: 38 minutes

Leave the pups at home! Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

This 1.7-mile loop takes hikers on a beautiful trek through the natural and cultural wonders of Bandelier National Monument. Perfect for the whole family, the trail features ladders that lead into the small, human-carved alcoves called cavates. The first section of this trail is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Check out the Pueblo Loop Trail

Deer in the golden fields (courtesy of NPS).

Echo Canyon Trail

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Length: 4 miles


Average time to complete: 2 hours

Leave the pups at home! Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

This 4-mile loop is a premium spot for birding! Arizona is one of the most sought-after birding locations in the world and fall is a terrific season to explore this beautiful desert and wooded landscape. The awe-inspiring hoodoos and local wildlife make this hike unique and memorable for kids and adults alike. Keep an eye out for coatimundi and wild turkeys!

Check out the Echo Canyon Trail here!

Visitors climb the Island Trail stairs (courtesy of NPS).

Walnut Canyon Island Trail

Walnut Canyon National Monument, Arizona

Length: .8 miles

Moderate to Difficult

Average time to complete: 35 minutes

Leave the pups at home! Dogs are not allowed on this trail

This short hike leaves plenty of time to soak up the culture, history, and natural beauty preserved at Walnut Canyon National Monument. There are 25 cliff dwellings along the trail, homes to Indigenous people more than 700 years ago. Stairs take you on a 185-foot descent, which leaves a fairly steep ascent as you leave!

Check out the Walnut Canyon Trail here!

McKittrick Canyon Trail meanders through a wooded, riparian habitat (courtesy of NPS).

McKittrick Canyon Trail

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Length: 7 miles


Average time to complete: 2 hours and 28 minutes

Leave the pups at home! There are no dogs allowed on this trail

Looking to experience the beauty of this special season? This 7-mile, out-and-back trail features bright fall colors best experienced in October and November. Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore stunning landscapes, experience diverse and beautiful wildlife, and learn more about the history of what is now the Southwest.

Check out the McKittrick Canyon Trail here!

High Peaks on a cloudy day (courtesy of NPS).

High Peaks to Bear Gulch Loop

Pinnacles National Park, California

Length: 6.7 miles


Average time to complete: 4–5 hours

Leave pups at home! There are no dogs allowed on this trail

Don’t miss out on Pinnacles National Park in the fall. Stunning all year round, you can beat the heat and enjoy the fantastic views with just a little less sweat and a little more time to explore. A highly coveted bird-watching spot, Pinnacles National Park protects many species of birds, including the magnificent condor. This 6.7-mile trek is considered challenging due to its nearly 1500-foot elevation gain and rugged terrain—a perfect challenge for your fall getaway.

Check out the High Peaks to Bear Gulch Loop trail here!

By: Julie Thompson