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10 of the best national parks in the world to see autumn colours

Banff, Yellowstone and Zion are fantastic national parks to visit at any time of year. But here, we've chosen ten parks that have amazing foliage in autumn and are a little more off the beaten track, including leafy landscapes in the UK, the US and South Korea. Find out where the best places to see the leaves change colour are this September and October.

1. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

Seventy-one miles from Washington DC, enjoy the tranquility and spectacular scenery of Shenandoah National Park. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, take lengthy hikes or relaxing strolls though the park’s 200,000 acres of land, home to towering trees that turn into vibrant reds and oranges during the autumn months. Looking at spending some extra time in the US? Head to Mississippi, Alaska or the Pacific Coast for more adventures on your ultimate, American road trip.

Nearest airport: Charlottesville

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Shenandoah National Park

2. Jiuzhaigou National Park, China

Jiuzhaigou National Park, also known as Nine Village Valley due to the nine Tibetan villages in the park, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a World Biosphere Reserve. The beautiful park is dotted with lakes and waterfalls surrounded by yellow and orange-leaved trees. October can be pretty chilly in Juizhaigou (average daily highs of 17°C), so you might want to check out Beijing’s shopping districts before you head out to the woods to stock up on winter gear. And before you’re living on camp rations, be sure to try traditional Beijing duck – similar to Chinese crispy duck – roasted over an open fire and served with lashings of plum sauce. Check out this local’s guide to Beijing and get some more tips on unusual things to see and do in China’s capital.

Nearest airport: Chengdu

Jiuzhaigou National Park

3. Lake District National Park, England

This popular holiday destination is England’s largest national park and is home to the country’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, as well as the UK’s largest and deepest lakes. The beautiful landscape that 200 years ago enchanted the romantic poet William Wordsworth, is a great place to enjoy the last of the sunshine before winter comes. You’re never too far from a castle in England either: check out Hogwarts or Downton Abbey on your traverse through the romantic English countryside.

Nearest airport: Manchester

Lake District National Park

4. Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003. It covers not only the high plateau of the Cairngorm mountains, but also the villages, whisky distilleries and castles among the hills, lochs and ancient forests that surround. There’s plenty to see and do in the Cairngorms – plan your trip with our guide. If you’ve got time then stick around and explore the Isle of Skye, or the ruins of Buachaille Etive Mor, both of which look incredible in autumn. Read more of the best outdoors attractions in Scotland: here’s our guide to the Scottish Isles and our picks of Scotland’s best beaches.

Nearest airport: Edinburgh

Cairngorms National Park

5. Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

Confusingly, Saxon Switzerland National Park is located in Germany, near the city of Dresden. This forested area is dotted with rocky structures, the most well-known being the 194 metre Bastei rocks, connected by a man-made sandstone bridge that boasts stunning views of the landscape. Bavaria is also a great destination for autumn winter walks – it’s an hour long flight from Dresden to Munich – and once you get there pave your way between these castles, villages and Gothic churches.

Nearest airport: Dresden

Best national parks in Germany

6. Naejangsan National Park, South Korea

Naejangsan National Park’s name means ‘inside’ or ‘concealed’, owing to the fact that it’s home to many hidden species of flower and fauna, as well as twelve endangered animal species. It’s one of the most beautiful places in South Korea, with unspoilt views in every direction you gaze in. Make your way to the national park via Seoul, once you’ve spent a few days working your way through this South Korean city guide.

Nearest airport: Seoul

![Best national parks in Asia]( "Naejangsan National Park’)

7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Standing tall over the 300,000 acres of land, the beathtaking Teton Mountain Range sharply contrasts with autumn’s yellow alpine forests. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears and bison. Whilst you are in Wyoming, you should definitely check out Yellowstone and the Great Prismatic Spring – just one natural wonder that’s made it on to the top 10 list of places you won’t believe exist on earth!

Nearest airport: Yellowstone

Grand Teton National Park

8. Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Slovenia’s only national park, Triglav, is home to the country’s highest mountain of the same name – legend has it it was named after the three-headed Slavic god who lived there. The park takes up 4% of Slovenia’s landmass and is a popular place for locals to hike, fish and cycle. It only takes 15 minutes to drive up to Lake Bled from the park, which means you could explore this little country in a weekend. Up for the challenge? Check out these seven show-stopping places in Slovenia and plan your next alternative European beak!

Nearest airport: Ljubljana

Triglav National Park

9. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Head to Mount Rainer National Park and discover an active volcano; the eponymous peak stands at a whopping 14,411 feet above sea level. More than just a big fire breathing mountain, Rainer is packed with more than 25 glaciers, an abundance of forests, meadows and waterfalls. It gets rather colourful in the autumn, except old ‘Snowy Peak’ itself, which shines white above it all. To reach the park fly into Seattle and stay a while – check out what to do in Seattle and find out a bit more about the largest city in Washington State before you head off into the wilderness.

Nearest airport: Seattle

National Parks in the US

10. Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Staying in Washington, this time we’re off to the Olympic National Park, which covers almost a million acres of land and several diverse ecosystems, from the snow covered peak of Mt. Olympus to the pebbled Pacific coastline. The summer months tend to be the park’s busiest, so go in September or October and you shouldn’t have a problem reserving a place to sleep at the park’s Kalaloch Lodge (open all year round).

Nearest airport: Seattle

National Parks in Washington

Want more trip ideas for this autumn? Step right this way:

Where to go on holiday in September?

Where to go on holiday in October

Where to get guaranteed sun this winter

Where to go for guaranteed sunshine instead of showers this autumn and winter.

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