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12 Best Places for Fall Foliage in Vermont

Vermont is one of the world’s best destinations for fall foliage viewing, with three-quarters of the state covered in forests. They’re home to the highest concentration of sugar maples in the U.S., show-stoppers when it comes to colors, with their leaves turning vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, not to mention the serene farms with red barns and charming villages that create scenes that look like they were made for postcards. The color begins in early September in the northernmost areas and higher elevations before moving over the next several weeks into the valleys and valley towns from north to south, hanging around as late as the end of October, with these destinations being some of the best for enjoying it.

Woodstock Woodstock, Vermont
Credit: Woodstock, Vermont by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Woodstock

In late September in Woodstock, not only will you enjoy the beautiful scenery of this romantic Vermont getaway destination, including its brilliant foliage, but you can take part in the Woodstock Pumpkin & Apple Festival hosted at Billings Farm & Museum. It includes the chance to use a cider press, enjoy wagon rides, and all sorts of other old-fashioned fall activities, along with tasty treats like pumpkin and apple ice cream. The color can typically be enjoyed through the third week of October if you can’t make it for the festivities. A scenic trip to the summit of Suicide Six by chairlift offers a bird’s-eye view over all of it.

Waits River Waits River, Vermont
Credit: Waits River, Vermont by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Waits River

The village of Waits River, which sits along the river of the same name between West Topsham to the north and Corinth to the south, is home to one of the most iconic fall foliage scenes in the northeast. The winding lane lined with rustic barns and the iconic Waits River Church has graced the cover of many Vermont magazines. Route 25 will take you right by the church, but the only way to see this view is to turn and travel away from it. The view is the most dazzling in the area, but the back roads around Waits River also offer plenty of picturesque views with hills covered in fall color. Within a 25-minute drive are Seyon Lodge State Park and Stillwater State Park if you’re up for a hike.

Stowe Stowe, Vermont
Credit: Stowe, Vermont by © Snehitdesign | Dreamstime.com

Stowe

One of the best places to visit in Vermont, Stowe exemplifies the best of fall color in New England, with covered bridges and soaring church steeples framed with vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds from about late September through most of October. There are miles and miles of trails that can be enjoyed on and around Mount Mansfield, and afterward, you can come back to enjoy made-in-Vermont items like apple cider donuts and maple syrup. If you’re here on the 1st of October, be sure to join in the festivities at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, which hosts the Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival with a pumpkin chuckin’ trebuchet contest, a chili cookout, live music, and activities for the kids.

Weston The old Mill Museum, water wheel, millpond and waterfall in Weston Village in Vermont
Credit: The old Mill Museum, water wheel, millpond and waterfall in Weston Village in Vermont by © Ann Moore | Dreamstime.com

Weston

The small, quaint town of Weston, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, provides veritable looking glass back to 1799, the year it was incorporated, and in the fall, it’s even more magnificent with all the glorious colors. The Vermont Mill Museum is a fabulous photo opp, overlooking a pretty waterfall and mill pond. It was built as a sawmill in 1785 before becoming a grist mill, and today, visitors can view a collection of early trade tools and products like equipment used for cheesemaking, farming, weaving and spinning, blacksmithing, and more. The Vermont Country Store is a destination in and of itself, and you’ll find a playhouse and several antique stores, too.

Peacham Peacham, Vermont
Credit: Peacham, Vermont by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Peacham

A sleepy little town just 26 miles east of Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, Peacham boasts a church with a classic piercing white spire framed by rolling hills with lush greens contrasted by autumn’s brilliant color. While there’s no downtown, there is a cafe and a couple of stores, although the main reason to visit is for the photo ops. It’s so aesthetically pleasing that Hollywood has been lured in by its charms. It was featured in films like “A Return to Salem’s Lot,” where it served as the quiet vampire-populated town. You’ll find many back roads to explore, with picture-perfect fall views everywhere.

Burlington Downtown Burlington, Vermont
Credit: Downtown Burlington, Vermont by © Juliedeshaies | Dreamstime.com

Burlington

Burlington is one of the larger cities in Vermont, but it offers plenty of small-town charms. The lakeside city is surrounded by some of the northeast’s best foliage, and there are many paths that will immerse you in all the colors, including the Burlington Greenway that runs right along the shores of Lake Champlain. You’ll enjoy it while strolling pedestrianized Church Street, too, and you can take in more memorable views of the colorful display from the water by joining a boat tour.

Elmore Elmore State Park, Vermont
Credit: Elmore State Park, Vermont by © Kan1234 | Dreamstime.com

Elmore

The tiny town of Elmore in southeastern Lamoille County bills itself “The Beauty Spot of Vermont,” and you’re likely to agree with Lake Elmore and Elmore Mountain’s prominent features. Lake Elmore, part of Elmore State Park, is lined with small, charming cottages nestled in the woods that are filled with breathtaking hues in the fall, providing a photographer’s dream that can include the color reflected in the water. There are pretty spots for picnicking while enjoying the views, and if you’re up for a hike, a 1.5-mile trail leads to the summit of 2,608-foot-high Elmore Mountain, which has a fire tower that can be climbed. From here, gaze out at a jaw-dropping vista of the Green Mountains to the west and the Presidential Range to the east in New Hampshire.

Waitsfield Mad River in Waitsfield, Vermont
Credit: Mad River in Waitsfield, Vermont by © Philip Bobrow | Dreamstime.com

Waitsfield

Nestled in the Mad River Valley, Waitsfield is one of Vermont’s most charming towns with rolling hills, small farms, and the historic Great Eddy Covered Bridge, a wooden covered bridge that crosses the Mad River. Nestled between the Northfield and Green Mountains, it’s surrounded by awe-inspiring views and offers scenic drives along the main road, Vermont Route 100. As a bonus, just nine miles south is the town of Warren, which has a waterfall and another historic covered bridge.

Grafton Grafton, Vermont
Credit: Grafton, Vermont by © Steve Callahan | Dreamstime.com

Grafton

The small village of Grafton, tucked among the rolling hills of southern Vermont, is particularly enchanting in the fall with a golden canopy of leaves spread across. Many of the buildings lining the main street have been painstakingly restored, making it look as if the town was constructed for a film set. Enjoy the beauty by visiting the 2,000 acres at the Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center and the Nature Museum which includes gardens and a park with trails that wind through the woods. Even if you don’t stay, the Grafton Inn is worth a spot with a rich history, gorgeous antiques, and an award-winning eatery.

Manchester Fall in Manchester, Vermont
Credit: Fall in Manchester, Vermont by LRJanzen13 via Flickr.com

Manchester

Located at the base of Mount Equinox in the Battenkill River Valley, Manchester is a charming town with lots to see and do, including trails that wind through the Taconic and Green Mountains featuring spectacular views of autumn color. It also hosts the Manchester Riverwalk for a stroll alongside the Battenkill River, bringing more picturesque views. Visit the historic home of Hilden Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln, and enjoy the garden, farm, and 12 miles of walking trails with breathtaking views of the Green Mountains.

Brattleboro Brattleboro, Vermont
Credit: Brattleboro, Vermont by © Jon Bilous | Dreamstime.com

Brattleboro

One of the best vacation destinations on the East Coast, Brattleboro has lots to offer, including a fabulous farmer’s market and a picturesque covered wooden bridge, the region’s only surviving bridge of its kind. It’s also surrounded by nature, with the Wantastiquet Mountain Natural Area and Fort Dummer State Park, two of the top spots for viewing a blaze of red, orange, and yellow. Even downtown, you’ll enjoy the color with the hillsides that surround it blanketed in vibrant hues. If you’re looking for a scenic drive, take the 17-mile tour on Route 30 to Townshend. Afterward, you’ll find a wide range of food and drink, live music, and local theater to enjoy in town.

Middlebury Middlebury, Vermont
Credit: Middlebury, Vermont by © Jim Lawrence | Dreamstime.com

Middlebury

A vibrant college town, Middlebury offers fall foliage that complements the cascading falls in Otter Creek downtown, which feature classic brick buildings that house eclectic shops and restaurants. The 16-mile TAM (Trail Around Middlebury) provides the perfect walking route for enjoying the beauty. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the farmer’s market offers locally made cheeses, Vermont crafts, fresh produce, and more. The Stone Mill Outdoor Public Market provides the chance to enjoy more on Saturday afternoons, with artists, farmers, and more on its outdoor deck. There are also pumpkin patches and orchards and nearly an endless array of scenic drives for enjoying Mother Nature’s magnificent show.

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