As the weather cools and summer bows down to September, the forests of Vermont prepare for one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world – the spectacle of fall foliage. Fall’s first steps are shy and delicate and touch the foliage at Vermont’s northern border. Painted in a faerie of oranges, reds, and yellows, the forests of Vermont create one of the most beautiful fall scenery in the world.
Travelers from across the globe flock to Vermont to witness the fiery and grandiose arrival of fall. From mid-September through October, any Vermont holiday will be accompanied by awe and joy. As fall progresses, the spectacle moves from the north of the state to the south, leading travelers on gorgeous routes adorned with riotous and vibrant fall colors.
However, don’t think that admiring the foliage is going to be your only fall activity in Vermont. The state flourishes in the fall and invites travelers to go on apple orchard adventures, hike to their heart’s content, enjoy cozy farm stays, and follow captivating craft-beer trails.
Fall foliage routes
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start and where to go. The Vermont Department of Tourism offers access to an interactive fall foliage map and foliage tracker to make sure you know exactly the peak foliage times in different areas of the state. Three quarters of Vermont are under the reign of forests, and the state boasts the largest concentration of maple trees in the US. It’s only natural for fall to feel at home in Vermont.
There are numerous scenic drives across the state, so buckle up and prepare to be amazed. If you’re eager to catch the premiere of fall in Vermont, head to the northern region to follow the Northern Mountains and Lake Champlain loop (165 miles), where you can stop at the Sand Bar Wildlife Refuge and Carman Brook Farm Maple and Dairy, or the Northeast Kingdom Loop (150 miles) where you’ll get to visit St. Johnsbury, the Fairbanks Museum, and the Maple Grove Maple Museum.
The central region has the gorgeous Lakes Bomoseen and St. Catherine Loop (55 miles) that will take you to superb attractions like Lake Bomoseen, Birdseye Mountain, and Lake St. Catherine, and the Upper Connecticut River Valley Loop (115 miles) that gravitates around the town of Woodstock and charms travelers with visits to the Billings Farm and Museum, Plymouth Cheese Company, and Quechee State Park. The route passes by the Killington Ski Area, a lovely region with superb views, and also fun fall festivals, like the Killington Brewfest and Killington Oktoberfest. If you want to immerse into Vermont’s town life, you can follow the West-Central Mountains & the Appalachian Gap Loop (100 miles) that will take you through the Green Mountain National Forest and towns like Middlebury, Ripton, Hancock, and Salisbury.
The Manchester to Bennington drive (50 miles) in the southern region enchants with breathtaking foliage and delightful towns. The towns of Manchester and Bennington boast magnificent New England architecture, captivating museums, and numerous fine dining options. If you have time for a side trip, don’t hesitate to visit Williamstown, MA, a beautiful town that surprises with its incredible art museums and New England structures. Another beautiful route in the southern region is the Brattleboro to Whitingham loop (100 miles) that starts at the vibrant and hip town of Brattleboro, passes through the Mount Snow ski area, and takes you to the pretty towns of Newfane and Whitingham. Don’t refuse a scenic chairlift ride at Mount Snow for superb fall views or a visit to the Adams Family Farm in Wilmington.
Fall activities in Vermont
Fall in Vermont is not only about the magnificent frenzy of fall colors. It’s also about romantic farm stays, fun festivals, apple orchards, and beer and wine. Vermont becomes a superb open-air playground for bohemian travelers who want to experience the magic of fall.
Go apple picking and have fun running around centuries-old family-run orchards or organic orchards. From late August through October numerous orchards await for visitors to pick apples and savor their plethora of apple-based culinary treats. The Shelburne Orchards situated on the shores of Lake Champlain is an excellent destination for prolific apple picking and cider tasting. And while you’re there, why not cruise on the lake and capture the autumn landscape’s beauty from the water.
Visit a farm or even better stay on a farm and enjoy the gorgeous countryside views and romantic atmosphere. A farm stay always comes with delicious local food, fun encounters with farm animals, and pumpkin picking. You can consider booking a room at Hill Farm Inn in Sunderland, The Inn at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, the Meadowood Farm in Shaftsbury or any other of the beautiful farms in Vermont.
Hike on the many routes that take adventurers on routes adorned with superb fall foliage and breathtaking views. One of the most beautiful hiking areas is the one around Lake Willoughby in Westmore, where the two mountains that guard each side of the lake create a splendid backdrop for lovely hikes and magnificent views. Admire the beautiful Lake Champlain Valley from above following the one-mile hike to Sunset Lodge that will take you from the towns of Warren to Lincoln.
Biking is particularly sensational along the West Branch River where you’ll discover the Stowe Recreation Path and scenic views of Mount Mansfield. The Burlington Bike Path too makes for a great destination for bikers, especially at sunset when the delicate light blends harmoniously with the leaves’ nostalgic colors. If you’re up for an adventure, hop on a mountain bike and admire the fantastic Vermont foliage while biking down the slopes of Mount Snow.
And of course, there’s no visiting Vermont without visiting a sugarhouse or two to learn more about maple syrup and buying a few bottles for your loved ones back at home.
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