Vermont Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Autumn Colors

If you’re looking to soak in the stunning fall foliage of Vermont, you’ve come to the right place. Vermont in the fall is like stepping into a painting, with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows lighting up the landscape. 

For the past three years, I’ve made it a tradition to head up to the East Coast, visiting places like New Hampshire and Vermont, to catch the incredible fall colors.

 Let’s dive into the best spots to catch these beautiful autumn hues!

Vermont Fall Foliage

Fall colors

Why Vermont is a Fall Foliage Destination

What makes Vermont a must-visit destination for fall foliage? It’s the incredible variety of landscapes that transform into a kaleidoscope of colors each autumn. 

Vermont offers a unique blend of natural beauty and charming locales, from quaint, historic towns to expansive forests and scenic byways. Every turn on the road presents a new, picture-perfect scene that’s ideal for capturing and enjoying.

When to Visit for Peak Colors

Getting the timing right for peak fall foliage is crucial. In Vermont, the vibrant colors typically begin to emerge in late September, reaching their peak around mid-October

But even if you arrive later, you’ll still find plenty of gorgeous views. The end of the season brings a more subdued, yet equally enchanting, palette of colors that provide a serene backdrop for your autumn adventures.

Top Spots to See Fall Foliage in Vermont

Fall Foliage Vermont

Green Mountains

First up, the Green Mountains. This area is famous for its incredible foliage views. Whether you’re hiking, driving, or just taking in the scenery, you really can’t go wrong. The Long Trail offers some of the best vistas of the fall colors from high above.

  • Google Map Location: Green Mountains
  • Specific Viewpoints: Climb Mount Abraham or Mount Ellen for stunning views.
  • Nearby Attractions: Visit the historic Sugarbush Farm or the Vermont Country Store.
  • Activities: Hiking, biking, and scenic drives.
  • Tips: Check trail conditions before hiking, and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Green Mountains in Vermont
Green Mountains

Stowe

Stowe is the quintessential Vermont fall destination. With its picturesque village and surrounding mountains, it’s a perfect spot for leaf-peeping. Don’t miss the view from the top of Mount Mansfield – it’s absolutely breathtaking.

  • Google Map Location: Mount Mansfield
  • Specific Viewpoints: Mount Mansfield Summit, Smugglers’ Notch State Park.
  • Nearby Attractions: Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, Trapp Family Lodge.
  • Activities: Gondola rides, hiking, and brewery tours.
  • Tips: Book accommodations early, as Stowe is a popular destination during the fall.

Stowe Vermont
Stowe

Woodstock

Woodstock is a charming town that offers a mix of small-town charm and stunning natural beauty. The village green, covered bridges, and scenic backroads make it an ideal spot for fall photography.

  • Google Map Location: Woodstock
  • Specific Viewpoints: Sleepy Hollow Farm, Quechee Gorge.
  • Nearby Attractions: Billings Farm & Museum, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
  • Activities: Walking tours, shopping in quaint stores, and visiting local farms.
  • Tips: Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and get the best light for photos

Woodstock Vermont
Woodstock

Smugglers’ Notch

For those who love a bit of adventure, Smugglers’ Notch is a must-visit. The narrow pass through the mountains is flanked by cliffs and offers incredible views, especially when the leaves are changing.

  • Google Map Location: Smugglers Notch
  • Specific Viewpoints: The Notch Road pull-offs, Sterling Pond Trail.
  • Nearby Attractions: Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Mount Mansfield State Forest.
  • Activities: Rock climbing, hiking, and scenic drives.
  • Tips: The road through the Notch is narrow and winding, so drive carefully.

Smugglers' Notch Vermont
Smugglers’ Notch

Lake Champlain

The Lake Champlain region offers a different kind of fall beauty. Picture the vibrant foliage reflected in the clear waters of the lake – it’s a scene straight out of a painting. 

Plus, there are plenty of cute towns around the lake to explore and enjoy a cozy meal.

  • Google Map Location: Lake Champlain Ferries Main Offices
  • Specific Viewpoints: Waterfront Park in Burlington, Ausable Chasm.
  • Nearby Attractions: Shelburne Museum, ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.
  • Activities: Boating, kayaking, and visiting farmers markets.
  • Tips: Take a ferry ride across the lake for unique views of the fall foliage.

Lake Champlain Vermont
Lake Champlain

Best Scenic Drives for Fall Foliage

Route 100

Route 100 is often called Vermont’s most scenic drive. This route runs north to south and offers stunning views of the Green Mountains, charming villages, and of course, spectacular fall foliage.

  • Highlights: Stop in towns like Weston, Ludlow, and Warren.
  • Activities: Antique shopping, dining at local cafes, and visiting state parks.
  • Tips: Allow a full day to explore and take your time with frequent stops.

Fall colors on Route 100 Vermont
Route 100

The Notch Road (Route 108)

The Notch Road, or Route 108, is another must-see. This drive takes you through Smugglers’ Notch and offers dramatic views and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery.

  • Highlights: Smugglers’ Notch State Park, Bingham Falls.
  • Activities: Hiking, rock climbing, and photography.
  • Tips: The road is closed in winter, so plan your visit accordingly.

The fall foliage in Vermont on Notch Road
The Notch Road

The Green Mountain Byway

The Green Mountain Byway runs between Waterbury and Stowe and is perfect for those looking to combine beautiful views with stops in charming towns. It’s a short drive but packed with stunning scenery.

  • Highlights: Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry’s Factory.
  • Activities: Tasting local foods, visiting artisan shops, and enjoying scenic overlooks.
  • Tips: Weekends can be busy, so consider visiting on a weekday for a more relaxed experience

Best Fall Hikes in Vermont

Mount Mansfield

Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak, standing tall at 4,393 feet. This hike is known for its challenging terrain, but the panoramic vistas of the autumn landscape are worth every step. 

The Long Trail South is the most popular route, spanning approximately 6.3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2,800 feet.

  • Google Map Location: Mount Mansfield
  • Trail Length: 6.3 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet
  • Tips: Start early in the day to avoid crowds and bring layers, as the weather can change quickly at higher elevations.

Mount Mansfield Vermont
Mount Mansfield

Camel’s Hump

Camel’s Hump is another iconic Vermont hike, offering some of the best fall views in the state. The summit stands at 4,081 feet, and the trail is moderate to difficult. 

The Burrows Trail is a popular choice, covering about 5.8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2,500 feet. The reward is a 360-degree view of the surrounding fall foliage.

  • Google Map Location: Camel’s Hump 
  • Trail Length: 5.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
  • Tips: Bring plenty of water and snacks. The summit can be windy, so pack a windbreaker.

Fall colors at Camel's Hump Vermont
Camel’s Hump

Mount Pisgah

Mount Pisgah offers a slightly easier hike compared to Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, but with equally stunning views. 

Overlooking Lake Willoughby, the trail provides several beautiful overlooks perfect for fall foliage photography. The hike is about 4.1 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet.

  • Google Map Location: Mount Pisgah 
  • Trail Length: 4.1 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet
  • Tips: The trail can be muddy in places, so wear waterproof boots. The overlooks can be slippery when wet, so tread carefully.

Mount Pisgah Vermont
Mount Pisgah

Additional Tips for Fall Hiking in Vermont

  1. Check the Weather: Fall weather can be unpredictable. Always check the forecast before heading out and be prepared for sudden changes.
  2. Trail Maps and Apps: Carry a trail map or use a hiking app like AllTrails to stay on course.
  3. Leave No Trace: Respect nature by staying on marked trails, packing out all trash, and minimizing your impact on the environment.
  4. Wildlife Awareness: Be aware of local wildlife. Keep a safe distance and do not feed animals.
  5. Sunrise and Sunset: Days are shorter in the fall, so plan your hikes to ensure you’re back before dark. Consider starting early to catch a beautiful sunrise or stay a bit for a stunning sunset view.

➡️ Read Next: Best Hikes in New Hampshire

Vermont Fall Foliage Tours and Activities

8-Day Fall Foliage Tour: Vermont to Massachusetts

Take an 8-day guided tour that starts in Vermont and takes you all the way to Massachusetts, showcasing some of the most beautiful fall foliage spots along the way. 

This tour offers expert insights into the history and natural beauty of New England, ensuring you don’t miss any key sights. Enjoy hassle-free travel with a knowledgeable guide and a well-planned itinerary.

  • Highlights:
    • Explore picturesque Vermont towns like Woodstock and Stowe.
    • Visit historic sites and scenic byways.
    • Enjoy local cuisine and cultural experiences.
  • Website: Go Ahead Tours

8-Day New England Roadtrip Tour

This 8-day road trip tour covers the best fall foliage spots across New England, including Vermont. Experience the stunning landscapes at your own pace with a self-guided tour, complete with a detailed itinerary and recommendations for dining, attractions, and accommodations.

  • Highlights:
    • Flexible travel schedule.
    • Detailed itineraries and local recommendations.
    • Iconic fall foliage destinations in Vermont and beyond.
  • Website: New England Fall Tour

5-Day Fall Foliage Hiking Tour

Embark on a 5-day hiking tour that takes you through some of Vermont’s most beautiful fall landscapes. This guided tour includes daily hikes, comfortable accommodations, and the chance to see the best of Vermont’s autumn scenery up close.

  • Highlights:
    • Daily guided hikes through scenic trails.
    • All-inclusive accommodations including lodging and meals.
    • Expert guides providing insights into local flora and fauna.
  • Website: Fall Vermont Hiking Tour

Fall Festivals and Events

Vermont knows how to celebrate fall. Check out local festivals like the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival or the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

These events offer everything from live music to delicious fall treats.

Local Attractions in Vermont

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? Try apple picking, corn mazes, or pumpkin patches. Places like Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury offer a fun fall day out for all ages.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour (Waterbury)

Take a break from leaf-peeping to visit the famous Ben & Jerry’s factory. Learn about the ice cream-making process and enjoy some samples!

Vermont Country Store (Weston)

Step back in time at this charming store offering a variety of Vermont-made products, from maple syrup to handmade quilts.

Where to Stay for Vermont Fall Foliage

Choosing the right place to stay can make your fall foliage trip even more enjoyable. Here are three highly-rated hotels in Vermont:

The Woodstock Inn & Resort

⭐️ RATING: 8.9 | Check Rates & Availability

Located in the heart of Woodstock, this historic inn offers luxurious accommodations and easy access to some of the best foliage spots. Enjoy their spa, farm-to-table dining, and beautifully appointed rooms.

Topnotch Resort

⭐️ RATING: 8.7 | Check Rates & Availability

Situated in Stowe, Topnotch Resort provides stunning views and top-notch amenities, making it a perfect base for your fall adventures. The resort features a full-service spa, fine dining, and easy access to hiking and biking trails.

Green Mountain Inn

⭐️ RATING: 8.9 | Check Rates & Availability

Located in Stowe’s historic village, the Green Mountain Inn offers cozy rooms and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s perfect for those who want to explore the town’s shops, restaurants, and nearby outdoor activities.

Planning Your Fall Foliage Trip

What to Pack for a Fall Trip

Packing for a fall foliage trip is all about layers. The weather can be unpredictable, so bring a warm jacket, comfortable hiking boots, and a beanie. Don’t forget to pack your camera!

Fall Foliage Map and Resources

Make use of online resources like the Vermont Fall Foliage Tracker to plan your trip. This tool helps you find peak foliage times and the best spots to visit.

FAQs About Vermont Fall Foliage

When Is The Best Time To See Fall Foliage In Vermont?

The best time to see peak fall foliage is typically mid-October, but late September and early November can also be beautiful.

What Are The Best Places To See Fall Foliage In Vt?

Top spots include the Green Mountains, Stowe, Woodstock, Smugglers’ Notch, and Lake Champlain.

Are There Any Scenic Drives For Fall Foliage In Vermont?

Yes, Route 100, The Notch Road (Route 108), and The Green Mountain Byway are fantastic scenic drives.

What Are The Best Fall Hikes In Vermont?

Some of the best fall hikes are Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and Mount Pisgah.

How Long Does The Fall Foliage Season Last In Vermont?

The fall foliage season generally lasts from late September to early November.

What Should I Bring For A Fall Foliage Trip In Vermont?

Bring layered clothing, comfortable hiking boots, a camera, and a map or GPS.

Are There Any Fall Festivals In Vermont?

Yes, check out festivals like the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival and the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival.

How Do I Find Peak Foliage Times In Vermont?

Use online resources like the Vermont Fall Foliage Tracker to find peak times.

What Are Some Family-Friendly Fall Activities In Vermont?

Apple picking, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches are great family-friendly activities.

Is Vermont Or New Hampshire Better For Fall Colors?

Vermont and New Hampshire have equally beautiful and abundant fall foliage, so one isn’t better than the other when it comes to autumn color.

Typically, the White Mountains region in New Hampshire, where much of the best fall color and attractions are, will peak a bit earlier than Vermont. Why not do both? 

➡️ Read Next: New Hampshire Fall Foliage Guide

Conclusion

Fall foliage in Vermont is an experience like no other. The stunning foliage, the refreshing cool air, and the inviting small towns all come together to create a perfect autumn getaway. 

Whether you’re hiking up Mount Mansfield, driving along Route 100, or savoring a hot cider at a local festival, Vermont in the fall promises memories that will last a lifetime. 

So, pack your bags, charge your camera/phone, and prepare to be amazed by the beauty that awaits. Happy leaf-peeping!

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