Get out there: Scenic fall drives

Oct 31, 2023 4 min read

With the window for prime fall driving upon us, there’s no better time to get up and go for a scenic day trip away from the city. Check out some of our favorite autumn road trip destinations within about 100 miles of Getaround hubs.

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (from Denver)

Stunning from start to finish, Peak to Peak Byway recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its construction. Be sure to search for a car with a panoramic sunroof so you can fully experience the soaring crests along this historic route. From late September through the first half of October, the aspen trees that line the steep Rocky mountainsides turn from a pedestrian green to a breathtaking golden yellow.

Make a day of it and stop for photos of the gorgeous Longs Peak, captivating ghost towns Apex and Nevadaville, and the utterly adorable Chapel on the Rock.

Our suggested route on Google Maps (190 miles round-trip from downtown Denver)

Historic Columbia River Highway (from Portland)

(Bonnie Moreland via Flickr)

Arguably the most beautiful fall drive in the Pacific Northwest, Historic Columbia River Highway offers 80 miles of red and yellow panoramas and more than a few must-see attractions.

A stop at the Vista House is a must on any Columbia River Gorge itinerary. Just eight miles down the road, you won’t even need to leave your car to see the breathtaking, 620-foot Multnomah Falls — Oregon’s tallest and one of seven majestic waterfalls along this route. Of course, this autumn day trip has to be capped off at the highly Instagram-able Rowena Crest Viewpoint.

Try our suggested route (214 miles round-trip from downtown Portland)

Mountain Loop Highway (from Seattle)

(jaisril via Flickr

Towering firs, pines, and larches line these roadways, with incredible river views and peeks at peaks such as Whitehorse and White Chuck mountains. The whole drive can take just an afternoon, but if you’re in the mood for some exercise there are more than a dozen great trailheads along the byway. Pro tip: This rugged route might be best suited for an SUV rental — 13 of the 55 miles are unpaved.

Our suggested route (172 miles round-trip from downtown Seattle)

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (from New York City)

The crown jewel view on this winding hillside byway is the famous Hawks Nest (above), which provides a wide-angle lookout from high above the Delaware River. The route stretches the length of the northeast border of Pennsylvania and is dotted with historic towns, museums, and natural attractions such as Crystal Bouchoux Trail. If you pick the right weekend for your trip, expect the full palate of fall colors — bright reds, oranges, and yellows with some lingering green mixed in.

Our suggested route (236 miles round-trip from Manhattan)

Fort Mountain State Park/Chattahoochee National Forest (from Atlanta)

Just two hours from the city, Old Fort Road takes you within short hiking distance to the famed Fort Mountain Lookout. As a bonus, there’s a mysterious ancient stone wall near the peak. On your way back, take in the sights along the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest before stopping to see the deep reds and oranges that surround Lake Lanier in the fall. For at least one afternoon, Atlanta’s rush hour traffic will be the furthest thing from your mind.

Our suggested route (202 miles round-trip from downtown Atlanta)

Starved Rock State Park (from Chicago)

(Gabe Popa via Flickr)

Admittedly, most of the drive from the Chicago loop to this hidden gem just outside Oglesby, Illinois lacks bursting fall foliage. But trust us — the destination is worth the journey.

Before hopping out of your Getaround rental for the walk to one of the 14 waterfalls at Starved Rock, take in the views of the colorful bluffs from the north side of the Illinois River (above). Once you’re in the park, you’ll find sandstone canyons topped by beautiful white and red oaks. There are few places in Illinois like it.

Our suggested route (187 miles round-trip from the Loop)