27 Great Fall Escapes Brought to You By Adventure Experts

Rock Climbing Indian Creek, Utah | Adventure Journal

Ah, October. Or maybe it should be, Ahhctober. Blue skies, crisp air, the RVs headed south, and the kiddies back in school. To celebrate this exquisite moment in earth’s orbit, we checked with a few friends and asked them where they head before the storms fly.

1. “Pure crack climbing in Indian Creek, Utah—especially in the month of October—is nothing short of ecclesiastical.  Expansive desert vistas meet medieval-horned towers that pierce pristine blue skies.  Silk-satin breezes cool your skin as you jam your hands into the next splitter crack that races up the red and orange sandstone over your head.  Finish the day with friends, beers, campfire tale—and the best sleep of your life.” — Jordan Campbell, Marmot athlete

2. “Every other year the pink humpback salmon run in hordes up the local rivers here in Washington and I take my kids to the Skykomish River, usually by Tualco Loop Road, where we catch them like mad.” — Shannon Stowell, president, Adventure Travel Trade Association

3. “To be up high in the Canadian Rockies with the golden larches is truly the most amazing fall thing I can think of. Larches are the only ‘pine’ trees that go yellow and lose their needles in the fall. I like to run near Lake Louise at treeline and see the electric larch trees up high, then the green spruce, fir and pine below, then the aspens and poplars turning in the valley bottoms. It’s like a visual layer cake.” — Will Gadd, ice climbing champion and paraglider extraordinaire

4. “Fall in California is a brilliant time of year when the offshore winds blow and the surf gets really clean. Surfing Ocean Beach, on the shoreline of San Francisco, is simply magical.” — Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man

5. “October is my favorite time to be in Canada. During the first week of the month, the maple trees change color in Quebec and the forest along Highway #40, between Quebec City and Montreal, is spectacular. It’s like you’re driving in a painting.” — Bruce Poon Tip, founder and CEO, G.A.P. Adventures

6. “Skinning up on tele boards for first tracks after the ‘October Surprise’: early snow that can bring the most satisfying turns of the season to Vermont’s Mad River Valley.” — Terry Kellogg, CEO, 1% for the Planet

7. “Doing fast solo climbs of the First Flatiron above Boulder—after the students have returned to their classrooms.” — Michael Brown, president, Serac Adventure Films

8. “Cruising in a gulet [wooden yacht] along the coast of Turkey. Specifically, getting off the yacht and hiking to Greco-Roman ruins of Arycanda, perched in the mountains above the sea. It’s remote, seldom visited and reminds me of the Etruscan ruins in Italy I explored as a kid. In the fall other travelers are gone and the ultimate is when we have the ruins to ourselves.” — Peter Grubb, founder and owner, ROW Adventures

9. “Alpine rock climbing up in the North Cascades at Washington Pass is all about fall: The air is crisp and clear, and the larch trees are turning gold and are absolutely radiant in the sun. And miles of rock to be climbed without the summer mosquito hordes!!!! I’d be there now but off to Nepal instead—another fine fall escape.” — Mark Gunlogson, president, Mountain Madness

10. “Mountain biking at Phil’s World in Cortez, Colorado. Shorter days but still warm enough and such killer singletrack.” — David Holbrooke, festival director, Mountainfilm in Telluride

11. “Running the Deschutes River Trail in Bend, Oregon. Aspens turning against the black backdrop of a lava flow with the river varying from pounding rapids to serene slackwater. It’s 17 miles of fall at its finest, allowing plenty of time to think about the summer past and the winter ahead.” — John Sterling, executive director, The Conservation Alliance

12. “In my formative years I was a park ranger at Yosemite, stationed at Tuolumne Meadows. At the close of what was often a busy summer season, I always made a point of exploring the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada range, from Bridgeport to Bishop. These canyons descend from the 13,000-foot crest and are filled with aspen trees. One of my favorite spots is a walk along Mono Creek to a former Paiute Indian camp. The camp is situated in an obsidian chip-filled meadow surrounded by 50-foot trees, with yellow, orange, and red leaves shimmering in the crisp air.” — Jim Sano, president, Geographic Expeditions

13. “Taking a Folbot to the ACE Basin in South Carolina and kayaking on the black water creeks with the alligators — surrounded by migratory birds and the beauty of the low country.” — David R. AvRutick, president, Folbot Inc.

14. “My favorite thing to do in October is ride my mountain bike here on my local trails (Western States and OTB) around Lake Tahoe after all the summer tourists have gone home.” — Marc Goddard, owner, Bio Bio Expeditions

15. “Riding my bicycle at sunrise across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco—the orange sun just breaking the horizon, a cool ocean breeze, and the majestic towers reaching to the sky.” — Mark Dwight, founder & CEO, Rickshaw Bagworks

16. “My honest answer is a four-day biking trip on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park —when the desert is cool and the stars are crisp and bright!” — Ashley Korenblat, president, Western Spirit Cycling Adventures

17. “I always take a trip somewhere warm — preferably to kiteboard — before winter sets in. Last year I went to Melbourne, Florida, this year it’ll be South Padre, Texas.” — Kristen Ulmer, former professional skier and founder of Ski to Live

18. “Hiking out and back to Millbrook, New York, in the Shawangunks via the Millbrook Ridge trail. You get great vistas and colors (and migrating birds too!) along the way, and can spend the day rock climbing some of the great routes Millbrook has to offer.” — Marty Molitoris, guide and director, Alpine Endeavors

19. “Fishing from a canoe on the Cahaba River in central Alabama. It’s one of the last undammed rivers left in the U.S. and also one with the most biodiversity.” — Steve Cox, executive director, International Expeditions

20. “Trekking along Japan’s Nakasendo ‘highway,’ as the maples flame brilliant red and yellow. Once the main pathway between Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo) for shoguns and peasants alike, this remains a world-class walk through forest and village and accesses a quiet Japan, still deeply in touch with its past.” — Marilyn Downing Staff, founder and president, Asia Transpacific Journeys

21. “Every October I head to Kona, Hawaii and while I’m there I do something new each time. I have cliff jumped, visited an active volcano, cycled across the island, eaten a mussel straight from the ocean, swam with dolphins, kayaked, competed in a body surfing competition, and crossed the finish line of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.” — Nicole DeBoom, professional triathlete and founder and CEO of Skirt Sports

22. “October 1st marks the end of our high season guiding in Yosemite and the High Sierra so we all thirst for a little personal guide time. Mine is typically spent fly fishing around the Western U.S.: California on the Trinity, Montana on the Yellowstone, Idaho on the Henry’s Fork, Wyoming on the South Fork, Utah on the Green.” — Ian Elman, president, Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides

23. “In October we head to Smuggler Mountain in Aspen with our bikes to get up close and personal with the changing leaves.” — Dan Abrams, founder, FlyLow Gear

24. “I have the tradition of running to the top of San Gorgonio in the San Bernardino National Forest. At 11,503 feet, it’s the tallest peak in Southern California and a short drive from Five Ten headquarters. The trail is beautiful year-round, but October is the best as it’s cool enough that I don’t need to carry much water. The trail goes through forests of oak down low, then winds past giant ponderosa and Jeffrey pine trees. The trunks are huge—and many are hollow inside from age and fire—great places for big bear to hibernate.” — Charles Cole, founder, Five Ten

25. “October is the perfect time to go hit one of my all-time favorite mountain biking trails — Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham — on Mt. St Helens. Cooler temperatures in the air and more moisture in the typically loose soil make the ride that much more enjoyable. Waiting any later means snow and much earlier means sweltering heat.” — Dale Karacostas, director of MSR Tents

26. “In October, with fly rod in hand, I enjoy chasing the elusive brown trout in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming.” — Chris Currah, senior product manager with Brunton and Primus

27. “October in Sun Valley means epic mountain biking. A few fall storms have passed by now leaving world class singletrack in tacky form. Bring an extra layer in case the weather turns cold, but if you’re lucky you’ll be riding through a kaleidoscope of fall colors with Indian summer weather.” — Zach Crist, First Ascent ski guide and former World Cup racer and X Games champion

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