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.

Wawayanda State Park – Sussex and Passaic County, Nj

There are many easy trails along the wooded shoreline of this park (and one very challenging one—the Appalachian Trail). The Cherry Ridge Trail travels alongside Lake Wawayanda, across a stone bridge, by beaver ponds to a rare swamp of White Atlantic Cedar. The Cedar Swamp Trail will take you across the swamp on boardwalks and through rhododendron tunnels.

Insider Tip: Civil War buffs, look out for the ruins of a charcoal blast furnace used to produce iron for the Union armies. You might also spot mine shafts belonging to the abandoned Wawayanda Mine.

Online: state.nj.us/dep/parks/wawayanda.html

photo: Rachel 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