The Best Places to View Fall Foliage
Forests cover three-quarters of the state of Vermont, and those forests are home to the highest concentration of sugar maples in the country, giving our fall foliage plenty of pop.
Fall is one of the most popular times of year to visit Vermont, drawing in crowds from around the world to marvel at the bright, changing colors of our foliage season.
Nobody knows where to find the best leaf-peeping in the state like Vermonters, though. Vermont’s 251 Club aims to visit all 251 towns and cities in the state, giving its members plenty of experience on which to draw when recommending fall foliage stops.
Member Lori Brunelle of South Burlington likes to stick to the northern parts of the state when she ventures out to take in the scenic vistas of a Vermont fall.
“I like Hazen's Notch because it is a quiet peaceful drive through the multicolored trees,” Brunelle said. She also recommends stopping at Taylor Park in St. Albans, and enjoying the city’s dining options.
“You can never go wrong with a drive anywhere on Route 100,” said member Edwin Loveland of Rutland. He says his “favorite place on earth” is Mount Horrid, which is “an amazing place. The Appalachian and Long Trail meet here, and the peregrine falcons have been successfully re-nested,” Loveland said.
Loveland, who’s 65, says he made the hike to the Great Cliffs in the dark and highly recommends it to those who are able, marveling at the panoramic views it affords.
Pamela Simmons of Putney agreed with Loveland – Route 100 is her pick.
“One of our favorite rides is following Route 100 past Ludlow towards Killington; there is a group of bodies of water excellent for photography,” Simmons said.
Richard Thorngren lives in Manchester, N.H., but is chipping away at the 251 towns and cities in Vermont. He recommends Pleasant Valley Road in Underhill and Cambridge for leaf-peeping.
“In either direction, you’re on a beautiful country road at the base of Mount Mansfield. You can see where Underhill gets its name: around each bend in the road the mountain looks different, and the foliage is always spectacular. It’s a Vermont road that never disappoints, but especially in the fall; it’s spectacular,” Thorngren said.
Member Sheila Tarbox of Morrisville highlighted her own hometown.
“I’m so lucky to live in this town,” Tarbox said, noting Cote Hill Road in particular. “A few huge fields are there with mountain views. It’s just an awesome road to take pictures. It’s a dead end road with plenty of room to turn around at the end.”
Kristen Jarvi of West Rutland says the views toward Killington are her favorites.
“All routes are good foliage routes in Vermont,” said 251 Club board member Brenda Greika of Montpelier. “Many are more popular than others and are well known. Routes 2, 4, 5, 100, 12 and 14 are always winners! I like the roads less traveled.
“I have discovered a really good method for foliage viewing. The interstates and main routes have some great overall views. I, however, prefer taking the backroads.”
Greika has devised a system to ensure she never misses a great Vermont fall foliage view.
“Most roads are named for a reason. As I drive along I’ll find roads named ‘Mountain View’ or ‘________ Mountain Road.’ Any sign big enough to mention the name of the hill in it, usually takes you to the top of a pretty big hill!
“Roads with Mill in the name usually lead to lovely rivers. Mills needed hydropower when some of these roads were built and named. Pond named roads are also good. Many of these roads were named long ago and were named for a reason. They were used as a method of location. I have used this method with good results.”