Leaf Peeping: Mountain Bike Edition

There’s a distinct chill in the air and the leaves are beginning to turn colors.

While you could jump in your car and drive country roads to witness nature’s annual color show, we say two wheels are better than four for experiencing all that this season has to offer. So grab your mountain bike and head to one of these spots for a leaf peeping adventure you’ll never forget.

Hayward, Wisconsin

While you could drive one of the various color tour routes mapped out across the state, there is no better way to experience the rainbow of leaf colors up close and personal than hopping on a mountain bike and hitting the trails of the Chequamegon National Forest. Dubbed the Singletrack Capital of the Midwest, the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) off-road bike trail system consists of over 300 miles of marked and mapped trails and routes through the northwoods.

There is no better way to experience the rainbow of leaf colors up close and personal than hopping on a mountain bike and hitting the trails.

As you explore the CAMBA system, you will ride through rolling terrain dotted with lakes, rivers, streams, ridges and meadows carved by glaciers during the last ice age. The entire system is heavily wooded and wildlife is plentiful. It’s not unusual to sight deer, bear, porcupine, bald eagles, fox, and a wide assortment of other forest animals. The fall colors begin in late August and reach their splendid peak near the end of September and early October.

Where to stay:

Located right on the trail system and nestled in the forest, ROAM Adventure Basecamp offers 30 campsites and four treehouse-style cabins to create your home away from home. At the end of the day, unwind in the eco-friendly, state-of-the-art shower facility with heated floors. Drinking water, picnic tables, and fire rings are provided throughout. Campsites are $35 per night and cabins for for $89 per night and can sleep up to 6 people.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Think golden aspens as far as the eye can see. Couple that with some of the best mountain biking in the world and you have a two-wheeled leaf peeping mecca. Located in the heart of the Elk Mountain Range of the Colorado Rockies, Crested Butte is home to a number of valleys that present the unique ability to link many different types of trails, paths, and roads. Between the world-class singletrack, beautiful gravel grinding roads, and smooth dirt, we can promise you won’t ever be bored. Golden aspens start to shed their leaves on trails in late September and October, creating yellow carpeted paths.

Where to stay:

For a glamping experience, head to Three Rivers Resort. Located in the historic mountain town of Almont, Colorado on the Taylor River, the resort features cabins dating back to the 1800’s, Cabins range in price from $79 to $280 per night depending on size– all have full kitchens, baths and grills.

Think golden aspens as far as the eye can see.

East Burke, Vermont

It’s hard to beat the northeast when it comes to fall foliage and Vermont consistently puts on one of the best shows year after year. East Burke, at the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, houses a world-class network of singletrack thanks to the cooperation and unity of 60 private landowners. From the steep, old-school east coast rock and roots up on Burke Mountain and the fast, fluid trails on Darling Hill, the Kingdom Trails system offers fun for all levels and abilities. Be sure not to miss the Fall Foliage Festival on September 30th, where the town of East Burke celebrates the turning of the leaves with everything from a parade to cow plop bingo.

Where to stay:

Set on over 500 acres of rolling meadows, woods, and breathtaking views of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Wildflower Inn sits smack dab in the center of the Kingdom Trails. This authentic country inn features 25 rooms and suites to choose from as well as the farm-to-table Juniper’s restaurant on site. Prices start around $200 and include full breakfast (can you say maple syrup!) and afternoon snack time.