Nothing signals the changing of the guard from summer to fall like autumn’s leaves turning brilliant fiery hues of orange, red and gold. While it’s always an adventure to hop in the car and road trip along the tree-lined highways of spots like Aspen, Ontario or Vermont to witness the colorful transformation, we’ve explored a few leaf-peeping places that offer unconventional ways to capture the camera-worthy scenery.

Niagara Falls by helicopter

Photo Courtesy of Clifton Hill

Go up, up and away over the most spectacular waterfalls and see the leaves changing, all in one breathtaking sweep. There are no bad seats on this roughly 30-minute flight that takes you above the action with views in every direction.

In September and October the tours are in full swing, which is also considered off-season, so hotel prices drop along with the temperatures and falling leaves. Plan accordingly as the fall foliage peaks around mid October. If you do decide to embark on foot, Dufferin Islands in Niagra, just south of Horseshoe Falls is an exceptional place to witness spectacular scenery from ground level.

Ziplining in New England

New Yorkers looking to escape the bustle flock to The Catskills Mountains for scenic hiking, horseback riding, antiquing and an array of fine gourmet restaurants and markets. For the adventure seeking types, however, there’s an escape of a different kind by way of the second largest zipline in the world. It’s also the longest, highest and fastest way to soar above the fall foliage. Embark from Hunter Mountain’s base Lodge and plan on three hours to complete the course.

Foliage in Finland

Photo Courtesy of Just About Travel

What autumn leaves are to North Americans is known as “ruska” to locals in Finland, a natural phenomenon that paints the northern landscape in gorgeous hues of red, yellow and green— blue even. A photographers’ haven for the two weeks of peak season, usually in late September, Finland becomes a blanket of color-filled forests and wilderness. The further north you go, such as Lapland, takes you deeper into leaf-peeping territory and is best experienced by boat. However, if you opt to hike or bike, you can stop and pluck blueberries right from the ground and witness spectacular autumn lights (solar flares) that reflect off the surrounding lakes.

 

Happy fall exploring the foliage wherever you are, and wherever your wanderlust takes you.