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Where To See The Foliage In Vermont This Fall

From our vantage point on top of Butternut Mountain, we can ooh and awe at the kaleidoscope of colors that wave across the horizon. Ambers, maroons, rusty oranges and vibrant yellows blend together to create a Northeastern palette. The fall foliage season in New England is widely celebrated and in 2022 it’s expected to be peaking right on time, according to New England Magainze’s most recent report. The forecast assumes a spectacular showcase. To prepare, you should know where to venture in order to peep the best foliage views in the Green Mountain State.

Besides our own backyard, our favorite places to marvel at the changing leaves can be found all over Vermont. From a hike to a paddle to a scenic drive, there’s an abundance of lookout spots for you to soak in the colors of Autumn in New England.

Fun maple tree fact: when it comes to the kicking off the blazing showcase of fall foliage it’s the Red Maple Tree that’s one of the first trees to turn because it occurs in wet sites. The Red Maple’s changing leaves lights up the forest with a beautiful, bright red to a crimson color.

Happy leaf peeping!

On a Hike

Slip into your Danner boots and prepare for a trek up one of Vermont’s renowned peaks. Your reward will be a front row showing of the turning foliage. Arguably the best way to experience autumn in Vermont is to be absorbed into it. Get outside! Stomp on crunchy leaves! Inhale the crisp fall air before winter blows in. While there is an abundance of trails through the state, three popular hikes are guaranteed to strike awe:

Sterling Pond
A popular hike at Smuggler’s Notch, the trip is only a mile to its pond peak. After stomping uphill hikers will be rewarded with a mountain top water feature reflecting the flaming foliage around it. Go Stowe’s guide to the area instructs those who aren’t quite ready to conclude their trip to other viewpoints around the trail’s end.

Camel’s Hump
You may recognize the peak of Camel’s Hump from your drive in. The dramatic hump that hovers over Chittenden and Washington Counties can be climbed to its tippy-top. Being one of Vermont’s highest peaks you can ensure a stunning view below. With points that look out over Lake Champlain, you’ll be stunned by the auburn blanket below you.

Mt. Mansfield
Mt. Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak and the summit does not dissapoint. There are a few routes to the top – or close to the top if you’re not looking to entirely exhaust yourself. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the state with the foliage falling beneath you. 

Don’t forget to pack a hiking snack like these easy Raw Maple Cashew Energy Balls!

Lake Willoughby

A not so hidden gem in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is Lake Willoughby where the surrounding hills slide dramatically, and stunningly, into the lake below. On the way there you’ll weave through small towns and dash through falling leaves on for a cozy and aesthetically rewarding road trip.

Stowe, Vermont

At the foot of Stowe Mountain Resort is the quaint town of Stowe. The main stretch hosts coffee shops, wine bars and gift shops. (Be sure to stroll into Stowe Mercantile to stock up on maple syrups!) Inhale the cool, crisp air while wandering down Stowe’s Recreation Path. This paved, 5.3 mile greenway stretches from the main village to Top Notch Resort.

Shelburne Farms

This sprawling estate will make you gasp. Even just pulling into the parking offers verdant views. Enjoy the 10 miles of trails that guide you past flocks of sheep and gaggles of cows to the formal gardens or the rocky shores of Lake Champlain. Follow your nose to O Bread Bakery where perhaps you’ll luck out and grab a loaf of their Chile Cheese Ciabatta. Being an education non-profit there’s a plethora of programs to join through the season. Take a cheese tour and learn the art behind cheesemaking. Learn more about Abenaki culture around a campfire. Discover how the weeds, cover crops and forests around us provide medicine. One thing you will never do during a visit to Shelburne Farms is yawn.

Woodstock, Vermont

An iconic covered bridge lays steps from town. Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors border the sidewalks. Burnt orange leaves fall over white picket fences. Woodstock, Vermont is a small town with big autumn energy. Just a walk through town, crunching leaves under your fall boots, will fill your fall heart with glee. Visit the Quechee Gorge to get a bird’s eye view of the foliage below.

Smuggler’s Notch Pass

We’re grateful to live in a state where any road feels like the scenic route. But there is nothing like the Smuggler’s Notch Pass highway. Wavy roads tour you through shaded forests bordered by boulders. In the fall you’ll drive under a canopy of amber leaves. It’s a breathtaking journey!

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

Hop on the bikes before the snow dumps! Stretching 93 miles, there is plenty of opportunity to bask in the autumn glow on bike or foot. The trail connects 18 small towns from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, offering plenty of places to pull over to pick up a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, apple cider donuts, or a maple milk! The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail passes through Johnson, where you can visit Marvin’s Country Store and fill your bike’s basket with a pint of maple syrup to commemorate the pedal.