There are as many ways as there are places to check out fall foliage in Ohio. This month, Ohio Magazine
covers a unique spin on the standard leaf-peeping tour with an article about some of the best places to bike and view fall foliage. For an equally outdoorsy (yet less exerting) experience, try hot air ballooning through the Hocking Hills
. If you’re not afraid of heights, this aerial view offers breathtaking vistas even when the scenery is not awash in autumn color. And if you are afraid of heights, I recommend conquering the fear for the chance to view spectacular vistas of forests, gorges and lakes in southeast Ohio.
Altitude doesn’t bother me but I’m not a fan of flying. The ride, however, was much smoother than I expected, with no jerky motions or sudden dips. The most difficult part was getting in and out of the basket but, once airborne, you glide peacefully over hills and houses, not even jolted by the occasional jet of flames shot into the balloon to keep it aloft.
The ideal times to fly are two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset, so prepare accordingly. When I went in April, the early-morning air held a dewy chill and everyone bundled in jeans, sweatshirts and hats (because of the heat propelled into the balloon, not the cooler temperatures). Depending on the weather, each flight lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, but plan for up to three hours total for the trip. The balloon is chartered by an FAA-certified and experienced pilot and can hold up to four people, although it’s a great way for couples to share a romantic moment as well. And if you can’t make it in the fall, don’t worry — weather permitting, the balloons launch all year long and the scenery will never disappoint.