What’s the first state that comes to mind when thinking of fall foliage? It’s probably Vermont or another northern state! Vermont provides one of the most spectacular fall foliage displays in the United States due to its mostly forested land. For this reason, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit and experience Vermont fall foliage in person!
If you’re ready to welcome the fall season, here are some stunning leaf-peeping places to visit in Vermont!
When is the Peak of Vermont Fall Foliage?
About 78% of the state of Vermont is forest. That’s a lot of trees! And that means there’s definitely an abundance of fall foliage to see.
Vermont is usually one of the first places in the country to display its colorful foliage. The leaves begin showing color changes in September. But the peak of Vermont fall foliage doesn’t start until the end of September. From here, the peak will last until the beginning of October, and then the leaves will start falling rapidly. So, you have a few weeks to see this colorful show!
Places to View Fall Foliage in Northern Vermont
1. Shelburne Orchards
Apple picking is an excellent and delicious fall activity to do. And luckily, you can do this along with some Vermont fall foliage leaf-peeping at Shelburne Orchards!
The property isn’t far from Lake Champlain, offering water views through the gaps between the trees. You’ll find rows and rows of various apple trees to pick fruits from. And they also offer a distillery where you can taste their orchard-made, apple-flavored spirits!
Along with the apple trees, many deciduous trees line the property, providing a colorful foliage wonderland. They act as a bright border, which is an excellent compliment to the apples growing within the orchards. Be sure to snap some pictures and take a basket of apples home for a delicious pie!
2. Mount Mansfield State Forest
There is no shortage of forests and hiking trails in Vermont. And one of the best-forested areas to visit for Vermont fall foliage is Mount Mansfield State Forest! The park gets its name from Vermont’s tallest mountain, called Mount Mansfield. It has over 40,000 acres of land and contains multiple state parks within it. The majority of the trees inside the forest are deciduous, offering plenty of social media-worthy color.
You can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and picnicking spots during your leaf-peeping adventure in this forest. Boredom will be non-existent, as there is so much to do and many trees to see!
3. Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge
The Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge is a place filled with animals and plenty of colorful leaves. It has 6,729 acres of forest and wetlands, where you’ll see a variety of birds, turtles, and bugs. The refuge is mostly for migratory birds to ensure they stay protected during their visit. But if you’re looking specifically for Vermont fall foliage, there are five walking trails to take advantage of. There’s also a Jeep trail to explore!
Fishing, photography, wildlife watching, and hunting in specific areas are all activities you can partake in. All the paths are four miles or less, offering a trail length for everyone’s preference! And trees surround all the paths, providing plenty of picture-taking opportunities and mesmerizing views.
4. Green River Reservoir State Park
The Green River Reservoir State Park surrounds a 653-acre body of water, where the park gets its name from. It’s a beautiful forested area that has about 19 miles of reservoir shoreline.
All the trees provide a beautiful sight when they change colors as they reflect in the reservoir below. But inside, the park is just as stunning as it looks untouched. The park has camping, but you can’t even get to the sites unless you travel by boat!
Your visit will be a very primitive yet beautiful experience. This rural park will help you immerse yourself in the colorful surroundings of Vermont’s fall foliage.
5. Smugglers’ Notch Mountain Pass/Smugglers’ Notch State Park
If you’re not keen on hiking, taking a trip through Smugglers’ Notch mountain pass might be more your speed! It’s a stunning, winding road that sits near Smugglers’ Notch State Park. Towering cliffs and forested areas surround the famous road, providing one of the most picturesque areas for Vermont fall foliage.
Red, orange, and yellow litter the road in the fall, and the surrounding area looks like a sea of color. It’s a very unique mountain-side road. And it needs to be on your Vermont bucket list so you can get the full fall foliage experience.
Places to View Fall Foliage in Central Vermont
6. Quechee State Park
Vermont’s Quechee State Park is a popular tourist attraction due to the Quechee Gorge. This gorge is thousands of years old and looks down upon the flowing Ottauquechee River. This view is breathtaking and picture-worthy on its own. But the Vermont fall foliage makes it so much better!
Deciduous trees line the gorge and river, setting the scene for the perfect picture. Water and fall foliage are always a beautiful sight! Enjoy the fall view by simply hiking through the park, fishing, picnicking, or even camping. What’s better than camping in a nature-made maze of color?
7. Billings Farm and Museum
If rural culture interests you, a great place to view Vermont fall foliage is at the Billings Farm and Museum! The property consists of farmland, a tourable mansion, and plenty of trees as it borders Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. You’ll also notice that the farm is a working dairy farm. So you can grab some delicious fresh cheese and ice cream after viewing the leaves!
The barns and farm animals make stunning focal points with the surrounding colorful fall foliage. It’s the perfect rural fall scene. So be sure to snap a couple of pictures!
8. Texas Falls
Do you like the serene sound of waterfalls? Well, Texas Falls should be a stop on your Vermont fall foliage trip! This waterfall sits within a gorge inside the Texas Falls Recreation Area and offers stunning views of the surrounding trees.
You’ll find a few riverside picnicking areas to listen to the falls, eat lunch, and admire the leaves. And there are two trails to hike if you want to further immerse yourself in the bright fall colors. An observation site gives a full view of the falls and cascades through the gorge, providing the best picture-taking opportunity.
9. Pine Brook Bridge
Covered bridges always make beautiful focal points for Vermont fall foliage photos. And luckily, Vermont has about 100 of them, including Pine Brook Bridge! This 1855 bridge is in its original form and is still operational to this day. It crosses over Pine Brook and offers visitors a look into historical bridge architecture.
The bridge itself is fascinating and picture-worthy. But the fall foliage steps it up a notch and creates bursts of color on both sides. It’s the perfect representation of a New England fall scene! While the bridge may be small, there is no shortage of beauty.
Places to View Fall Foliage in Southern Vermont
10. Molly Stark State Park
The Molly Stark State Park was originally farmland, which was then converted into a park in the 1950s. It provides a list of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping. The park sits in a largely forested area, offering many leaf-peeping opportunities!
Take the almost two-mile loop to the Mount Olga lookout tower for some exercise and the best fall view. Once you reach the top, it’s like a sea of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s truly mesmerizing and is one of the best places to admire Vermont’s fall foliage. The view is definitely worth the extra flight of stairs to the top!
11. Lake Shaftsbury State Park
You can find Lake Shaftsbury State Park surrounding a 26-acre lake by the same name. Forests, picnicking areas, and campsites border the lake, which allows you plenty of vantage points for fall pictures. It’s a very serene area where you can swim, hike, fish, camp, and paddleboard.
There’s a gorgeous trail called the Healing Springs Nature Trail, which takes you on an easy hike through the park. This is by far the best way to view the Vermont fall foliage that the park has to offer. You’ll weave through the forest and the park grounds and walk along the entire lake. The colorful treeline and water reflections are a natural masterpiece.
12. Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center
The Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center sits right in the middle of a heavily forested area. It offers almost any outdoor sport you can think of, including hiking, biking, swimming, skiing in the winter, and more! This place is the epitome of outdoor fun and beautiful views.
Take a walk by the ponds, bike through the woods, or simply sit and enjoy the view. Colorful leaves surround the entire recreation area, giving you 360-degree views of Vermont fall foliage. It’ll feel like a woodsy fall oasis.
Visit the Green Mountain State and View Some Beautiful Vermont Fall Foliage!
Vermont is the place to be when you want to see a dramatic display of color-changing leaves in the fall. The forests form a blanket of color that’s viewable from almost anywhere in the state. But it can be challenging to find the perfect vantage point, as much of the state contains unoccupied land. Hopefully, this guide gave you some ideas for planning your Vermont fall foliage trip!
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Ashley Masiello is a home gardener, outdoor lover, video editor, artist, general freelance writer, and a writer for Minnetonka Orchards. She has a bachelor’s degree in film/media and two minors in writing and art.
She loves to tend to her plants, participate in all kinds of outdoor projects, and looks forward to planting a beautiful garden every spring.
Ashley loves sharing her knowledge about planting and fun outdoor DIY projects!
Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.