Watch CBSN Live

Surprising Spots To See Great Fall Foliage

Many of us are looking forward to seeing the vibrant colors of the fall foliage.

You probably think that means heading for the Northeast or Canada.

Not necessarily so, says newly-named CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

On "The Early Show" Monday, he spotlighted some surprise locations to take in those vibrant reds and oranges.

In reality, the Northeast has no monopoly on fall foliage, Greenberg stressed. Fall foliage starts in higher elevations and travels south and west across the country. The change is dependent on weather; trees need that cold snap, with warmer days and cooler nights, to change into brilliant colors. Slower cooling periods just make the leaves dry out and turn brown.

Michigan, which has over 100 different species of trees

Things are looking good for a colorful fall in Michigan. It's been a rainy summer, and they're hoping for warmer days and cooler evenings to get that fall show of colors. Michigan has more than 100 different species of trees, including oak, maple, and sycamore. In the colorful Upper Peninsula, leaves start turning early, around mid- to late-September, and peaks around the first week of October into the middle of the month. By the end of October, you can find some good past-peak color in Northern Lower Michigan.

Another surprise is to enjoy the foliage in Michigan's wineries. There are now 64 wineries spread throughout the state, particularly in the west and southwest. Not only can you experience the leaves changing, but also vines turning red. Fruitful Vine Wine Tours offers group and individual tours between Memorial Day and late October, from $39-$59 per person. Domaine Berrien Cellars & Winery in Berrien Springs, also near the southwestern coast, offers wine flights paired with local cheeses and meats where you can sit overlooking the vineyard as well as maple and oak trees, which peak around mid-October.

No matter where you are in Michigan, you're always within 85 miles of a Great Lake, and fewer than 6 miles from a lake or street. Kayaking and canoeing is a great way to experience the fall colors, whether it's on the Escanaba River or along the Manistique River into the nearly 96,000-acre Seney Wildlife Refuge.

The Upper Peninsula has some of the best trails in the country. On the Keweenaw Peninsula (way up top) , try driving up Brockway Mountain, the highest scenic road between the Rockies and the Alleghenies, 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. Brockway Mountain Drive covers nearly 9 miles and is perfect for driving or bicycling to catch the fall colors. Also, Ottowa National Forest covers nearly 1 million acres in western Upper Peninsula.

About 56 miles off the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior is the Isle Royale National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve, which makes for a great day trip or for overnight camping through September. There are more than 165 miles of scenic trails, with both guided and self-guided experiences. It is accessible only via seaplane or boat: Ranger III ferry is $100-$120 round-trip; Voyageur II is $122; Isle Royal Queen is $128; Royale Air Service is $285 round-trip.

Colorado isn't only as a ski and winter destination. It has a brilliant fall foliage season as well.

Colorado is known for its aspen trees-nearly 2 million acres in all-which changes into a brilliant, vibrant gold in the fall. The change happens very quickly, but not at the same time all around Colorado (remember, it starts at the higher elevations first). So a good tip is to book your travel to Colorado, and then follow the color once you get there.

Northwest-Aspen, Grand Junction. Visit in mid-September, where the most popular viewing spot is probably Maroon Bells at Maroon Lake. If arriving into Denver, the drive west from Twin Lakes to Aspen over Independence Pass for some of the most scenic views in the state.

Then there's the southwest part of the state -Gunnison-Crested Butte, Telluride. Visit mid- to
late-September. Gunnison-Crested Butte sits on almost two million acres of wilderness in southwest Colorado.

Locals celebrate an entire month with "September Splendor in the Rockies," with cookoffs, farmers markets, art events, and festivals.

In fall, hotels are dropping their prices compared to summer and winter. Stay at any Crested Butte Mountain Resort property (Elevation Hotel & Spa, Lodge at Mountaineer Square, Grand Lodge Hotel and Suites, and CBMR Properties condos) this September and October and save 25 percent. (Not valid at the Grand Lodge September 14-17, or at the Elevation after
September 27.)

There are multiple scenic drives, including the stunning West Elk Loop Scenic & Historic Byway, a 205-mile loop along Highway 135 to Kebler Pass to Highway 133.

Central Colorado also has fall foliage-Denver, Colorado Springs. Visit from mid September to early October. Pikes Peak Railroad is a great way to experience the foliage without breaking a sweat. It's a three-hour, 9-mile ride that climbs up more than 14,000 feet of Pikes Peak, so you can see first-hand how the foliage changes at a difference pace the higher the elevation.

Trek through vast wilderness and stay at the 10th Mountain Division Hut System in the Rocky Mountains. Twenty-nine backcountry huts sprinkle the Colorado Rocky Mountains-many with easy access to Aspen, most accessible by 4-wheel drive, mountain bikes or hiking. Huts are equipped with fireplaces, cooking materials and water.

Even Amtrak can be a great option. The California Zephyr train from Denver to Grand Junction is a five-hour ride that departs Denver at 7:45 a.m. is an affordable (about $45), do-it-yourself ride through the heart of the Rockies.

Sonoma County, Calif. is known for wine, but its foliage is a star, too.

The leaves start turning early to mid-October and going into late November, when the countryside is awash in reds, golds and yellows. They're already into harvest season where the grapes are being harvested off the vines.

The Sonoma Harvest Fair is a three-day celebration, October 2-4, featuring more than 150 wineries, tastings, chef demonstrations, beer tasting, music, and harvest fun-including the World Championship Grape Stomp! Adult admission $6, wine-tasting $35 per flight.

Or view the scenery from above! Wine Country Balloons offers hot-air balloon rides, flying for one to 1.5 hours above the multiple wineries and vineyards, the region's famous redwood trees, the Russian River and even the California coastline. $225 per person.

If that's too expensive, there are plenty of free ways to experience Sonoma's great outdoors, like vineyard walks. If you wander the vineyards at this time of year, you're likely to see people harvesting grapes and working the fields. At Foppiano Vineyards in Healdsburg, you can wander from the main tasting room through the actual fields, where there are various stations giving details on the vines and the process of harvesting and winemaking. Quivira, also in Healdsburg, the vineward walk takes you past the vineyards as well as through the organic farm, and visit their bee hives and livestock.

Guided tours are also an option. Sonoma Vineyard Walks is a one-, three- or five-day experience where you ramble through the fields and tasting rooms with expert guides. The one-day walk (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) is $105 and takes you through two vineyards, two wine tastings, and lunch at
the Dry Creek General store.

Or just drive along highway 101, where the hills will be awash in red and gold, and hop off toward the town of Glen Ellen where you can drive on back country roads. Jack London State Park, named after the famed author (his cottage is still there), has multiple day hikes, including the 10-mile Sonoma Ridge Trail and an 8-mile round-trip hike Sonoma Mountain.

The Salt Lake City area is also a great place to experience some of the best fall foliage.

The change typically starts in early September and continues all month, featuring colorful aspens and scrub oak that bloom in a multitude of colors, mixed with the deep green pine trees.

Both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are the best choices for experiencing the foliage if driving and hiking, located about 30 minutes of outside of the city. The main canyon ski resorts include Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton.

Snowbird's activity center is open in the fall, and offers some great ways to experience the foliage. The scenic tram is a 20-minute ride up 2,900 vertical feet, up to the top of Hidden Peak for spectacular foliage views. $12 per ride or $18 all day, or $55 for an all-day family pass.

To look at the foliage at a really fast pace, try Snowbird's alpine slide that zips down 1,300 linear feet, or the ziprider which drops you from a 50-foot platform over 1,000 linear feet. Both are open only on weekends in the fall. An all-day unlimited pass includes the allpine slide, scenic tram,
climbing, bungy trampoline, ziprider, and mechanical bull for $36.

Snowbird is also home to Oktoberfest, now celebrating its 36th year, every weekend from the end of August through October 11. Beer, brats, music, German polka, kids activities, and more beer are the staples for this festive celebration.

The deals are incredible-Snowbird's "Stay and Play" package from $75 per person includes overnight accommodations, breakfast, unlimited use of the alpine slide, tram, bungy trampoline, mechanical bull, Peruvian Chair, and zip rider.

Don't forget about the other resorts: Solitude, about 45 minutes from the city, has a scenic lift every weekend, taking up hikers nearly 1,000 feet for spectacular views the Wasatch Range and Big Cottonwood Canyon.

What kind of fall foliage could there possibly be in Arizona?

Yes, even cactus change color!

Oklahoma has a beautiful fall foliage season that peaks around late October.

The best foliage is in the southeastern part of the state, particularly in Kaimichi County. The leaves peak around late October, and even into early November.

The Talimena Scenic Drive in the Ouachita National Forest is the state's only Scenic Byway, which runs 54 miles along the Winding Stair Mountain Range, overlooking stunning mountain scenery and changing leaves. Along the way there are several easy, self-guided hikes, as well as a 3.5-mile hike down the Billy Creek Trail (it's a steep climb back up), a longer 11-miles loop called Horse Thief Spring Trail, and the more rugged, 23-mile Broadstand Trail. Real adventurers can try the full 223 mile Ouachita Recreation Trail.

The quaint little village of Talahina-as Americana as you can get-is the gateway to this drive, and home to the anticipated Fall Foliage festival October 24-25, 2009.

If you're going to Oklahoma, you may as well take advantage of the state's thriving agritourism industry. In the southeast, Big Kiamichi Ranch sits on more than 750 acres in the Kiamichi Mountains, attached to a 35,000 acre wildlife refuge. Horse-lovers should head to Wood Guest Ranch and Equestrian Center, which sits on 3,500 acres with 25 miles of equestrian trails and several cabins and RV campsites. A guided horseback ride starts from $15 for an hour, plus nature walks for $5 and wagon rides from $8 for an hour.