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Where and when to leaf peep with your pup

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Where and when to leaf peep with your pup - image

istock/Irina Nedikova

When life becomes uncertain, our natural instincts tell us to seek calm and clarity in nature. A growing number of Americans are doing just that - and bringing their furry co-pilot with them.

When it comes to going out in nature for a refresh, what better time is there than the beginning of fall - with all of its wonderful, colorful leaf-peeping displays. And, who better to share these leaf peeping experiences with than your furkids?

If you’re ready to get away to take-in fall’s fabulous foliage, you may be wondering where to find the best dog-friendly and leaf peeping destinations. In addition, when is the prime time to view fall foliage at its peak?

Well, we’ve got the answers. TripsWithPets recently surveyed pet parents across the U.S. about their favorite leaf peeping dog-friendly destinations. Here are our respondent’s top 5 spots.

Leaf peeping in Portland, Maine

There’s plenty to do in Portland, and taking in all of fall’s natural beauty is at the top of the list. With its rich history, picturesque landscape, and plethora of amazing seafood, viewing nature’s fall color transformation makes this dog-friendly area even more inviting.

When in Portland, people and their pups can stroll through the downtown waterfront district to admire the backdrop of beautiful trees adorned with a kaleidoscope of bright and colorful leaves. There are also plenty of outdoor cafes, restaurants, charming shops and breweries that welcome you and your four-legged leaf peeper.

For a more adventurous view of Portland’s gorgeous fall displays, you and your pup can hop aboard the Casco Bay Ferry Lines to get an ocean view. Plan on doing some island hopping, or just cruise along, for leaf peeping at its finest.

The peak times for fall colors in southern and coastal Maine, including Portland, is mid- to late-October. 

Fantastic foliage in Great Falls, Montana

The spectacular city of Great Falls, MT is a place to behold any time of the year - and fall just makes it that much better! Great Falls is filled with history, and it’s the largest city in north central Montana.

This dog-friendly destination is set on the banks of the Missouri River, with five majestic waterfalls nearby. Add in the fall leaves coming out in all their glory, and you’ve got a beautiful setting for leaf peeping with your pooch.

This dog-friendly city also serves as the unofficial hub for art and adventure. Great Falls’ western charm and hospitality for people and their pets draws sightseers in from across the country and beyond. Further, there’s a variety of shops, breweries and trails that all welcome dogs, it’s the perfect destination for furry leaf peepers (and their peeps).

October is the best time to visit to catch all the colorful leaf displays.

Awesome autumn in Asheville, North Carolina

Autumn in Asheville is truly breathtaking. Nature calls everywhere in this gorgeous town, especially at the beautiful grounds of the Biltmore Estate.

Set on 8,000 acres, “The Biltmore” is a French Renaissance castle that sits in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s an architectural gem, along with providing plenty of gardens, lush greenery and trails where you can enjoy the colorful fall foliage with your pup.

Asheville’s diverse downtown area is filled with breweries and shops that welcome dogs. The area is well known amongst foodies, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that offer outdoor seating so your dog can accompany you on your dining experience.

The fall colors start in early October at the highest elevations, and make their way down to lower elevations in early November.

Four-legged fan favorite Franklin, Tennessee

Leaf peeping and historical adventures combine to make Franklin, TN the perfect autumn travel destination. Located only 20-ish miles from Nashville, this city offers two- and four-legged leaf peepers the opportunity to wander through the autumn trees along downtown Franklin’s 16-block walk, which is listed as part of the National Register of Historic places. As you stroll, you can check out the breweries, restaurants, boutiques and outdoor music hotspots that welcome dogs.

Franklin boasts a rich history along with naturally beautiful scenery. Try taking a scenic drive along the fan-favorite Natchez Trace Parkway, filled with fantastic fall foliage for miles and miles. Or, drive along the beautiful Cherohala Skyway to travel right through the splendid and colorful Cherokee National Forest.

If you’re looking to head to Franklin, the best times to leaf peep are from early October through early November.

Leap into leaves in Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is simply breathtaking any time of year, but there’s something extra special about Autumn. It brings out more four-legged visitors to explore, sniff, and take-in the splendor of Aspen’s spectacular colorful display of fall leaves. Whether you’re on foot or taking the scenic driving route through this magnificent area, you and your pup will be treated to an amazing fall foliage experience.

Dog-friendly hiking trails abound in Aspen, ranging from beginner level to advanced. You can be sure that a hike in the fall guarantees plenty of leaf-peeping opportunities, including the Cathedral Lake Trail. This is a popular area for backpacking, camping and hiking, with its dazzling waterfalls, meadows and Alpine Lake.

There are also many breweries in Aspen that welcome four-legged patrons. One popular option is Aspen Brewing Company, which serves up specialty craft brews and delicious food, and even has a furry mascot named Yukon.

The fabulous fall foliage can best be viewed between mid-September through mid-October. Make a note that the higher the elevation, the faster the leaves change.

Wherever you and your pup decide to take on leaf peeping, focus on getting back to nature, enjoying special bonding time, and simply rejuvenating your souls. You, your pup and Mother Nature will be thankful that you did!

Start planning your leaf peeping trip with your pet.

About TripsWithPets

We love our customers and we love what we do! We've been helping pet parents travel with their furkids for over 10 years. With over 35,000 pet-friendly accommodations across the United States and Canada, we provide pet travelers with a wide variety of pet-friendly options.

When planning a trip, pet parents go to for all they need to find and book the perfect place to stay with their pet -- including detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. Helping pet parents plan trips with their pets is what we do!

We are also passionate animal advocates. We support local and national 501(c)(3) animal welfare organizations by raising much needed funds through our annual Partners for Animal Welfare Series (PAWS).  

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