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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Mt. Rainier National Park – Pierce and Lewis County, Wa

This dormant volcano erupts with color in the fall. Drive to Sunrise, the highest point you can reach by vehicle, in early fall and take the Mt. Rainier Gondola (with the whole fam, including pooch) to the summit of Crystal Mountain. You can hike along the ridge for beautiful views of Mt. Rainier amid snowmelt and fall sunshine (accessible only through September). Later in the fall try the Alta Vista, Naches Peak Loop and Moraine trails. There’s lots of wildlife to spot, including friendly mule deer.

Insider Tip: Check out the Red Tri guide to the Naches Peak Loop Trail and, if you've got littles, you may enjoy Five Fall Hikes for Kids Five and Under.

Online: nps.gov/mora

photo: Helen Walker Green

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