10 Hidden Gems That Will Make You Fall for Fall


Looking for a place to visit this fall? It can be a challenge to find new places to explore while avoiding crowds on the trail. That’s why we asked our alumni and community to share their favorite spots. Whether an awe-inspiring waterfall or a trail along a river, these sites might inspire your next adventure. These are special places, so remember to visit them (and all public lands) with care!

Seneca Creek Backcountry

West Virginia: Monongahela National Forest

“It’s an eight-mile hike in and an eight-mile hike out with a gorgeous trail to hike on and it follows the creek. There are several river crossings as well before you reach the falls.” — Jenny D., SCA alum, Monongahela National Forest 2017

Tahquamenon Falls

Michigan: Tahquamenon Falls State Park

“It’s the largest waterfall in Michigan and has an upper and lower falls. It’s easy to get to and is ADA accessible. It’s located in the upper peninsula and during color season it’s just spectacular!” — Patty B., SCA alum, Rocky Mountain National Park 1977

(The water is notably brown in color from the tannins leached from the cedar swamps which the river drains.)

Snow Creek Trail

California: Yosemite National Park

“In 1971 I worked in Yosemite for the summer before starting university. After 4th of July weekend I was voluntarily laid off from my job because there were so few tourists. It was me, the squirrels and the birds. The sound of the water and how pretty!” — Joan S.

Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail

Pennsylvania: Leigh Gorge State Park and PA State Game Lands 141

“The first time I went was in January while it was snowing, so we didn’t run into a single soul. It was definitely cold and the ice made it a bit dangerous, but the frozen falls and falling snow created a magical, unique experience that I highly recommend.” —Brianna C., SCA alum, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge 2018

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area

Wisconsin: Devil’s Lake State Park and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

“A hike along a small stream leads into a canyon etched into the Baraboo Hills ending in an amphitheater with a waterfall.” —Lee H.

(Panfrey’s Den is Wisconsin’s first state natural area.)

Salt Creek to Lavender Canyon Trail

Utah: Canyonlands National Park

“During our exit from the three-week work temps were HOT… and here in the canyon desert is a perfect waterfall… then lunch.” —Dave M., SCA alum, Canyonlands National Park 1974

Bogachiel River Trail

Washington: Olympic National Park

“This trail is rarely visited. I worked in a trail crew there in 1993 staying at flapjack camp. I recently hiked the trail again 25 years later and stayed at the same camp on a bend in the Bogachiel river.” —Jerome G.

(SCA crew backpacks along the Bogachiel River Trail.)

Linville Falls

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

“Easy walk and trails. Restrooms and National Park gift shop at parking lot. Nice early morning or afternoon walk. Dog friendly.” —Christopher A., SCA alum, City of Jacksonville 2012

Devil’s Punchbowl

Alaska Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

“Devil’s Punchbowl is a gorgeous lake tucked in between to mountain peaks near Skagway Alaska. It is a 8.5 mile round trip hike that gives you gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain range and the town below.” —Raiyna V., current SCA member in Alaska

Sinking Spring

Kentucky: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

“Located on the site of Licoln’s Birth where he lived until about age 2, it is very likely he took his first drink of water from this spring in Hodgenville, Kentucky.” —Robert H., SCA alum, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site 2018

All set for your next hike? Take a look at these tips from SCA park rangers on how to be a better visitor to public lands.