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Which National Park to visit in October?

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
17 posts
Which National Park to visit in October?

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are visiting the US and will be free to travel between the 15th and 25th of October, and we would like to go to a national park to try and catch the fall colors. We both love hiking/trekking and I am a photographer. Our initial idea was to visit Mount Rainier National Park, but I have been reading that it can become a little difficult in October due to weather and low visibility of the mountain.

Please can you suggest some other beautiful options? Also - we may or may not be able to rent a car while we are there, so it would be nice to have a few options that are easily accessible and have lodging and shuttle services within the park too. We did Yosemite at the end of winter earlier this year, and it was brilliant!

Thank you so much in advance! :)

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
17 posts
1. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

Just to add - would Olympic National Park be a good option?

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,718 posts
8 reviews
2. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

The further into October you get the cooler and wetter it gets in Olympic. Does that mean guaranteed wet? No. is there a good chance yes. It has been very very dry for a long time, today is wet. Keep in mind Olympic has Fall colors, but they are not as good as many other parts of the U.S. Or for that matter Washington. Also the latter into October you get the less leaves you get as they drop as the temperatures drop and the rain causes them to fall. What you get with Olympic is diversity. Mountains, Rainforests and wild Ocean Beaches. Just keep in mind grey skies and rain are always a possibility.

Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,866 posts
49 reviews
3. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

In Washington, North Cascades and Rainier are both tough at that time for the same reasons--the weather really starts to turn in mid October, and you have a high chance of very cool wet weather or even snow. That's also late for fall colors at either park.

In all of the Washington national parks, you need a car unless you join a tour. There aren't shuttles or public transportation.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,771 posts
20 reviews
4. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

ONP will not suit you. You absolutely have to have a car. The fall colors are unimpressive, as the area is dominated by evergreens and big leaf maples which turn a bland, pale yellow in the fall. There are shots of lovely color in the mountains, where the low shrubs and heaths turn maroon and orange, and there places along the River Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest where tiny swamp maples blaze into scarlet, but these may be past color in mid to late October.

But again, you have to have a car and be willing to drive a lot to see ONP. There are no shuttle services.

Why the PNW? If you want a great display of autumn color, consider New England or the Upper Midwest in northern Michigan (Upper Peninsula) or Wisconsin.

Bellingham...
Level Contributor
5,637 posts
109 reviews
5. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

Agreeing with others: mid-October in our National Parks is as likely to be chilly & wet as it is to be pleasant. Displays of autumn color here don’t compare to many regions. In any event, you really would need a car. Maybe look into some other areas?

~ Colleen

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,718 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

You must have a car for Olympic!

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
17 posts
7. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

Thank you everyone! This has been a great help. I will look into parks in other parts of the country. Does anyone have any suggestions, though? I'm not sure where to begin.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,718 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

You say you will be in the United States. Does that mean that you have reservations to fly into any particular City?

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
17 posts
9. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

Hi,

No we don't have any reservations with flying to any city. Since we have 10 days, it is easily doable.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,771 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: Which National Park to visit in October?

Is autumn leaf color your top priority?