Ohio Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide

10/07/2011 05:06 pm ET | Updated Nov 29, 2011

Ohio fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Ohio fall foliage. — Nick Romano

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to the winding Cuyahoga River (named “crooked river” by Native Americans). The environment surrounding the water is made up of forests, wetlands, fields and cultivated land, allowing a variety of plants to grow and flourish. And while deciduous trees are signatures of this Ohio park, oaks, hickories, maples, beeches and many others compete for the most colorful leaves in the fall season.

15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH 44141 | Get Directions

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park in South Central Ohio has an abundance of tree species, including sycamore and oak, that light up the forests every fall. The six primary hiking trails in the park offer their own distinctive looks at Ohio fall foliage. Whether it’s the cavern and waterfall of Ash Cave or the overlooks at Cantwell Cliff that pique your interest, there are miles of terrain to explore. Camping and staying in cabins overnight are another great way to harmonize with nature and experience the area's various colorful tree species.

19852 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH 43138 | Get Directions

Shawnee State Forest/Shawnee State Park

Abutting the Ohio River and Ohio's southern border with Kentucky sits the Shawnee State Forest, the largest of Ohio's 20 state forests. Tree-wise, Shawnee primarily comprises oak, yellow poplar, short-leaf pine, hickory and pitch pine -- which means a pleasing palette of greens, reds, yellows, and oranges every fall. Though wildfire and timber harvesting have depleted the area significantly, there are still more than 60,000 acres of land to trek through here in the foothills of Appalachia. Visitors to the forest, which encompasses the former Roosevelt Game Preserve and is known as "The Little Smokies of Ohio," can take advantage of its campgrounds, cabins and lakes. It's also home to 1,095-acre Shawnee State Park.

4404 State Route 125, Portsmouth, OH 45663 | Get Directions

Beautiful photos from fall in Hocking Hills State Park.

Did we miss an Ohio fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.

Interested in more stories about Ohio? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.

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