The National Parks are considered Americas treasure. With the recent government shutdown entering day 9, Americas treasure has been locked up. While the problems with the government go far beyond our National Parks, there is an alternative. With the National Parks closed...try the state parks! This fall season has been one of the busiest for me and I have spent the last couple weeks photographing the fall colors. I started the fall season photographing Porcupine Mountains State Park in Michigan's upper peninsula. The Porcupine Mountains is a great park with many photographic locations, including rivers and waterfalls. It's basically in the middle of nowhere, which depending on how you look at it, it's either good or bad. In any event the landscape is prime for fall colors.
The weekend after visiting the Porcupine Mountains I headed to Pennsylvania to photograph Ricketts Glen State Park. Ricketts Glen has many waterfalls, and while I was a bit early for the fall colors, the forest floor had a carpet of fallen leaves. The park has a loop that is just over 7 miles that covers 22 waterfalls. If the loop is too long for your liking, the one half of the loop has several bigger waterfalls. If I had to choose I would take this fork. An out and back comes out to be about 4.5 miles. I often compare Ricketts Glen to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. It has the same type of feel and views, especially in the spring.
My experience with the state parks have been mostly positive. Like always it's a good idea to research before you head out to a park. I have been to a few duds, but with the National Parks closed while our government decides what to do about budgets, and debt ceilings, try one of your state parks! Better yet visit a neighboring states park.