It’s Fall Y’all: Five Fall Foliage Hikes for Families

Reviews of great local places by the kids who experienced them – our popular Kid Reporter series continues with great hiking tips from Yonder Girl!

Fall is my favorite time of year to hike: the weather cools and Fall Break is a great time to go on a hike. During this season, you may not see many flowers, but there are mushrooms that vary from big to small and colors that range from neon orange to a speckled brown, even bright blue. Yum! I am getting hungry just thinking about mushrooms. I’m just kidding! You do NOT want to eat unknown mushrooms because you could get really sick. Furthermore, they wouldn’t be as tasty as candy.

Speaking of candy, Halloween is right around the corner. Therefore, that means the foliage is turning. The leaves change to red, orange, yellow, brown, and best of all they can even be mixed. Either way, they are very, very, very beautiful.

Where exactly would you see the leaves turn from boring green to a rainbow you can touch? Well, there is one or a hundred different hikes that I could tell you about! Not really a hundred, but there’s a lot, though I’m just talking about five different hikes today.

While reading this you’ll see stuff like my fun-o-meter (scale of how much fun something is) and beauty scale (measures my personal opinion of the trail’s beauty).There will also be links to trail descriptions on Alltrails.com. Why don’t you read along and explore these fall hikes with me?

Local Fall Hikes Families Will Love


Monte Sano State Park – Stone Cuts Trail

Difficulty: Easy | Distance: 2.4 miles
Alltrails Info
Drive time from Huntsville: 0-15 minutes depending on where you start
Beauty Scale: 10
Fun-o-meter: 10
This is my favorite of all the hikes because there are rocks to climb, so be sure to invite your friends to join you. Stone Cuts Trail gets its name from the vertical and horizontal cuts in the boulders. A stone cut is pretty much a rock that looks like it was sliced in half. Stone Cuts Trail is easiest to access via Sinks Trail. Its terrain is rocky, great for climbing. I really like to walk through and explore the stone cuts, and most of all climb on the boulders.


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

Fall hikes

Yonder Girl Pro-Tip: In the fall, you can see all sorts of foliage. It’s like a rainbow you can touch, but do not touch poison ivy and poison oak. These plants contain urushiol, an oil that makes many people all itchy, itchy, ITCHY.

Monte Sano State Park – McKay Hollow Trail

Difficulty: Difficult | Distance: 5.15 miles
Alltrails Info
Drive time from Huntsville: 0-15 minutes depending on where you start
Beauty Scale: 9
Fun-o-meter: 6

fall hikes mckay hollow

This is a great place to see fall foliage and sit on a big rock that looks like a toilet bowl. We started at a pavilion near the entrance of Monte Sano State Park and proceeded into McKay Hollow. Along the way you may even spot a tree that looks like an infinity loop. Follow the trail up the other side of the hollow and take the short detour to O’Shaunessy Point. It is worth the extra effort to get there and back, just to see this special spot and have a snack. And of course, go for the fiery foliage.

Wade Mountain Nature Preserve – Devil’s Race Track and Wade Mountain Summit

Difficulty: Moderate | Distance: 4.8 miles
Alltrails Info
Drive time from Huntsville: 0-15 minutes depending on where you start
Beauty Scale: 5 in the summer, 7 or 8 in the fall
Fun-o-meter: 6


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

fall hikes geode

The only views are of the leaves because there are a lot of trees. At least the leaves are pretty and especially prettiest in the fall. That is why I recommend this trail for fall hiking. At the beginning, Devil’s Race Track Trail is fairly easy to hike, but Wade Mountain Trail gets harder as you climb up to the summit. At the summit, you might be lucky enough to find geodes. If you are lucky and you do find these geologic Easter eggs, you should leave them where you found them, so other people can see and enjoy them too.

Yonder Girl Pro-Tip: If you want to keep what you find, try a commercial quartz mine. You can read about my adventures in the Quartz Capital of the World at Yonder Girl.

Sipsey Wilderness – Borden Creek Trail

Difficulty: Moderate | Distance: 4.9 miles
Alltrails Info
Drive time from Huntsville: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Beauty Scale: 9
Fun-o-meter: 10
I LOVE this hike too because the foliage and creeks make for a beauteous combination. The trail begins by descending the canyon walls and continues by following the banks of Borden Creek. The colorful rock bluffs are so beautiful. And if you are super observant you may see tree roots wrapped around car-sized rocks. Make sure your shoes are sturdy so they don’t fall apart like my Dad’s did. Mom says, in all fairness, they were very sturdy shoes when he bought them… 15 years ago!

Fall hikes Borden Creek Trail


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

Yonder Girl Pro-Tip: There are great camping spots in the Sipsey with easy access to water. Just be sure to filter it before drinking or cooking with it.

Fall Creek Falls State Park – Fall Creek Falls and Cane Creek Falls Trail

Difficulty: Moderate or Difficult | Distance: 2.3 miles
Alltrails Info
Drive time from Huntsville: 2 hours
Beauty Scale: 9
Fun-o-meter: 10
Personally, I love waterfalls. So what could be better than the beautiful waterfalls of Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee. Parts of the trail are very, very, VERY rocky, but it is worth the effort to access special and fun places like Cane Creek Cascade. If you love to play in water like I do, you will be so happy. At the bottom of the cascade, you can play in a shallow creek with cold refreshing water. Plus, I love rock-hopping in the creek. I loved it so much that when it was time to go, Mom pretty much had to chase me down and capture me! In the creek, there are shallow and deep spots. So, watch your step! Though it does make the creek more interesting. You probably won’t be the only one splashing around: there were a lot of people doing the same when we were there. You should also visit the base of Fall Creek Falls. When you do, it is important that you follow posted instructions and don’t cross the barricade.

Fall Creek Falls

Yonder Girl Pro-Tip: If you plan to play in the water, pack swim clothes, water shoes, and a towel. Mom says, parents should consider bringing a lasso. I think she’s joking. Maybe?

You Might Also Like…