Summer might be the most popular season for hiking in the mountains and woods of the Northeast, but fall is hands down the best season to do it. It’s not just because of the brilliant foliage that lights up the woods and the landscapes in classic rich colors that makes the autumn months so appealing. Also, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, hiking is an activity that can easily be done with social distancing in mind.
Because most families plan their vacations during the summer months when the kids are out of school, the trails are often crowded, the huts are long since reserved and the traffic to the mountains and home can try the most patient among us. In the fall, you’ll have much more room to roam with far fewer people competing for the same favorite places.
And what about the heat? Temperatures soar fast and early in July and August, bringing extreme heat and humidity that often causes us to sweat through our shirts before we’re barely out of the trailhead. Hydration is a very serious challenge as the summer months pose threats of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, asthma and other respiratory issues. Fall brings welcome relief but also beckons in extreme temperature changes so smart layering will optimize comfort and performance.
Perhaps best of all, gone will be those black flies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, deer flies and horse flies that can drive you insane on those hot summer days.