Published: October 2009
East States
Check out the season's best weekend trips near you.
Text by Editor at Large Robert Earle Howells
The Dead's Last Gasp

The Dead River comes to life only seven times a year. Happily, the year’s last release comes when fall foliage is bursting against the dense Maine pines. This year it's October 3, and Magic Falls Rafting celebrates the occasion not only by running the longest-in-the-East 16 miles of Class III and IV whitewater, but by serving up a big outdoor pig roast afterward ($89; This rafting is not for slackers, by the way; guides need full participatory paddling to steer the many hazards, including the eponymous Magic Falls. You can really gorge on the whitewater by doing the nearby Kennebec the next day ($129 for both). Magic Falls has a lodge ($35) and campground ($10) on-site.

Easy Riders

[SAVE THE DATE: Oct. 3-4] Vermont has everything a road rider craves—country lanes, lots of twists and turns, and a surplus of roadside food stands. No wonder dozens of bikers converge here for the Viva Ducati Peak camp, set on an organic farm on Route 100 outside Pittsfield ($300; The farm’s showcase barn, which incorporates a 40-foot oak tree as a support, is a marvel of Yankee woodworking and serves as both bunkhouse and mess hall. From there, campers head out on organized daily motorcycle rides (any make of bike welcome), some ranging across the state line into the Adirondacks. And, as camp director John M. Rossi says, "We’re multidenominational riders." In other words, human-powered bikers are also welcome. Fifty miles of well-marked singletrack begin just out the barn door.

Bavaria By Boot

What better way to join in on one of the country’s best (and least expected) Oktoberfests than by hiking through the South’s version of the Black Forest? Commute on foot to Helen, a Bavarian-themed burg in the Blue Ridge Mountains, from Unicoi State Park, hiking the three-mile Unicoi-Helen Trail through rhododendrons and leaf-turning mountain laurel (daily; $7, free on Sunday; The park has walk-in campsites as well as cottages and lodge rooms ($14 or $105; Work off your tankards of hefeweizen by pedaling the park’s 7.5-mile bikes-only loop or hiking the 4.8-mile (one-way) Smith Creek Trail to Anna Ruby Falls, where two creeks plummet side by side before getting tangled up in one.

Get an Allegrippis

New first-rate mountain bike trails are about as common as new mountains, so the Allegrippis Trails in the Seven Points area of Raystown Lake in the Alleghenies are big news (free; lakeside camping, $25; The paths, some 132 miles east of Pittsburgh and 209 miles west of Philadelphia, were born and raised for mountain bike use—no repurposed hiking routes or logging roads among them. So each one is custom-tailored and banked, and elaborately interconnected in a 32-mile stacked-loop system; you can mix, match, link, and even bail. Warm up on the three-mile Deer Loop, then add in the Hydro Loop, a series of thigh-searing rollers that gain 1,500 feet before dropping three miles back down to the lake. Anything left? Ride Ray’s Revenge, a 4.7-mile black diamond through hardwood forests and tunnels of young pines that surround the lake high above the water.