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Our Favorite Foliage Drives

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There’s a crispness in the air, and with a long weekend approaching, it’s the perfect time to plan the quintessential autumn leaf-viewing trip. A few weeks ago, we ran a list of the Top Ten Fall Foliage Drives excerpted from National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways, and your comments assured us that there are far more than ten out there. So we decided to open it up to the masses. I asked Traveler staffers for their favorite fall drives, and then went to the Twitterverse (via @NatGeoTraveler) for more suggestions. Here’s what we’ve gathered so far. Feel free to share your own, or look for a great drive near you in the comments.

Instead of responding by email, Traveler Editor in Chief Keith Bellows came into my office and had me Google “The Dragon” just so I could see the infamous US129 highway on a map. Spanning Tennessee and North Carolina, the drive has 138 hairpin turns in just 11 miles, and if you can take your eyes off the road, the leaves are incredible. “It. Is. Awesome,” was all he needed to say.

Senior Editor Scott Stuckey suggest the Talimena Scenic Drive, which curves along a ridegeline in the Ouachita Mountains connecting Talihina, Oklahoma, to Mena, Arkansas. “The 55-mile route stays on top of the mountains most of the way, so you get one expansive view after another,” he says. Intern Maddy Lincoln, Senior Editor Norie Quintos, and Editorial Business Coordinator Jeannette Kimmel cast ballots for Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, while Assistant Art Director Stefan Caiafa, just back from three weeks out west, recommends the “Top of the Rockies” National Scenic Byway (stay tuned for a more details post from him on that trip).

Ah then, now to the Twitter-folk. SophieR loves Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, and Soultravelers3 suggested Umbria, Alsace, and Germany’s Romantic Road. Davebart reports that he “just drove 87N in New York between Saratoga Springs and Plattsburgh and it was beautiful!” TravelV loves I-91 through Vermont, and ashevilletravel

says the “Blue Ridge Parkway gives me goosebumps in fall — still can’t believe those epic views are literally minutes from my house!”

Got a great drive of your own? Let us know in the comments below. For more scenic routes, check out our Drives of a Lifetime, and for more autumn images (and wallpapers) visit the foliage gallery at

Photo: The lacy leaves and wandering branches of a Japanese maple lend drama to the grounds of the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina. By Melissa Farlow.

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