Leaves are changing color, and there’s a fresh autumnal smell in the air—what a good excuse to explore the great outdoors! Pull on your hiking boots, grab plenty of water, and perhaps a sweater too—because fall is the perfect season for hitting the trail with your little adventurers. To give you an idea of the adventures that lie ahead, we’ve rounded up the best autumn hikes in the country. From mountain rambles and forested strolls to historic walks and more, you can discover them all in the album below.

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Angel Falls, Rangeley Lakes – Franklin County, Me

You’ll hike through a forest of sugar maple, American beech, and yellow birch to get to one of Maine’s highest and most spectacular waterfalls. Angel Falls gets its name from the shape the cascading water makes—some say it looks like an angel’s wings. This short hike follows mountain streams (you’ll have to scramble over boulders and do a bit of wading to cross them, but it's still family-friendly). Depending on how much water is flowing at the time you’re there, you may be able to make it to the base of the falls. If you do, look up for amazing views.

Insider Tip: “There’s gold in them thar hills” ... people used to pan for gold up here but the real gold in this forest is maple syrup‚ these sugar maples make syrup that's double the usual sweetness!

Online: rangeley-maine.com/attractions

photo: The B's via Flickr

Can you recommend a favorite fall hiking spot in your neck of the woods? Tell us about it in the comments below!

— Helen Walker Green