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There are four seasons of fun in Vermont, but autumn may be the most wonderful. Fall in Vermont is cozy, beautiful, exciting, and memorable. With countless things to do, places to visit, foods to enjoy, and sites to see, you’ll have a full calendar here, whether you’re a local or just visiting.
Fall is the perfect time of year. You need to go to a place where the fall leaves are guaranteed to turn vibrant shades of gold, orange, and red. The answer? Vermont. The Vermont fall foliage will not disappoint.
Though some years are more vibrant than others (conditions change depending on the year’s weather), you are pretty much assured strong pops of color and a chilly autumn atmosphere. Here’s a few photos to get you feeling those Vermont fall vibes:
FAQ About Vermont’s Fall Foliage
Where are the best places to see fall foliage in Vermont?
There are few places in this gorgeous state where you won’t get to experience the magic and splendor of fall, but the season does look particularly nice in certain spots: impressive mountain peaks, postcard villages, waterfalls, winding roads. The road trips below cover all of those destinations.
When is the best time for fall foliage in Vermont?
Fall foliage generally peaks (hits its brightest point) around early October. Peak lasts for several days to a week, and then the leaves begin to quickly fade. While peak is the best time to see fall foliage in New England, the weeks leading up to that point are also stunning. If you want to see leaves, aim to come before peak or as close to it as possible. In Vermont, mid-October is cutting it close.
Feeling ready to enjoy a Vermont fall? Let’s get reading. There is so much going on throughout the state in this season, that every region offers something worth checking out. I can’t possibly include every fall event or activity in this post, so I’ve narrowed it down: 25 essential places to go and things to do in the fall in Vermont.
Attend a classic fall fair
Can’t you just smell the kettle corn? Vermont has dozens of fair and festivals of all sizes. September is a particularly popular month for these. Some have carnival rides and games, while others are simpler, with crafts, baked goods, and live music. Check out the Peru Fair for a great, old-fashioned country fair.
Hop in the car and go leaf peeping
Fall’s main attraction are its sensational leaves. The colors are so vibrant in New England and in Vermont, in particular, the fall foliage is spectacular. Your best bet is to visit during the peak of fall foliage in Vermont. This is typically early to mid-October, but varies depending on conditions each year. Check out this map to get a general overview of how the leaves change in Vermont.
Stay in a cozy cabin
Grab your partner, family, or friends and book a classic cabin for the perfect fall weekend. You’ll definitely feel rejuvenated after relaxing in the calming Vermont nature.
Eat your fill of cider donuts
Fall’s #1 food—and likely the cause of my annual fall weight gain—is the apple cider donut. I had never had these before moving to Vermont, but let me tell you, they are incredible.
There are spots all over Vermont where you can find the best cider donuts, but one of my favorite places to get them is the Sugar Shack in Arlington.
Get lost in The Great Vermont Corn Maze
When the corn is done being harvested each year, many farmers turn their fields into intricate corn mazes for guests to wander through. This traditional fall activity gets even better when you tackle the biggest corn maze in New England, located in Danville, VT.
Experience Dead North: Farmland of Terror
Come back at night and you’ll find a different experience on the corn maze property. If you like to get spooked, you can sign up for this unique October event. Check out Dead North.
Visit the possibly haunted Emily’s Bridge
Maybe you don’t like haunted houses and haunted corn mazes but you’re interested in real, potentially haunted spots? As you might imagine, Vermont (and New England) is full of them. One of my favorite local legends is Emily’s Bridge. At this spot in Stowe, VT, you can see a lovely covered bridge and perhaps have a supernatural experience as well.
Drive up a mountain
Want to reach the top of a mountain without hiking up? You might like Equinox Skyline Drive in Manchester, which takes you up a winding road to the top of Mt. Equinox. You’ll be surrounded by incredible Vermont fall foliage in this magical spot.
Wander through a pumpkin patch
I don’t think there’s anything more fall-like than a real pumpkin patch. Go pick out a few pumps to carve into jack-o-lanterns tonight. SpoooOOoOooOky!
Stay on a real working farm
A quintessential Vermont experience involves staying—and helping out on— an actual Vermont farm. My husband and I found an awesome place to do this near Woodstock, on the Fat Sheep Farm! Read about our experience there here.
Go apple picking
In between eating cider donuts and carving pumpkins, many Vermont farms have apple orchards where you can pick your own harvest. Here are 8 of my favorite places to go apple picking.
Hike Owl’s Head
Any hike will do on a pristine autumn day, but if you want more bang for your buck (in other words, awesome views as your hiking payoff), you have to check out Owl’s Head in Groton State Forest. Beautiful views over a lake and distant mountains.
Take a Route 100 road trip
Route 100 snakes its way from south to north in Vermont, and passes through a great many fun destinations. Plus, the drive itself is a good time and offers perfect foliage viewing opportunities.
Check out the Cold Hollow Cider Mill
If you are in love with all things APPLE, you’ll FALL for the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, VT. This is a place I’ve been going to for years, where the moment you walk in it smells and feels like heaven.
Enjoy their delicious cold-pressed apple cider, apple cider donuts, and plenty of other treats. They’ve also got hard cider and a tasty lunch restaurant, boasting local Vermont foods. You will not leave this place hungry.
Take a scenic fall foliage paddle
Autumn foliage looks even more vibrant from the water. Rent a kayak or canoe and head to a nearby lake for a serene fall afternoon.
Cycle along the Burlington Bike Path
A fall bike ride sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? There are many places for experienced and beginning cyclists to ride in the state, but one of the most popular is the Burlington Bike Path. This paved lakeside pathway follows the Lake Champlain shoreline all along the Burlington waterfront, but also transforms into the Island Line Trail, and winds all the way up into the Champlain Islands.
Take in the views over Quechee Gorge
Quechee Gorge is impressive in every season, but in fall it is colorful magic. Stop here on a Vermont road trip, or while visiting the charming town of Woodstock nearby.
Drive (slowly!) up the winding Notch Road in Stowe
Stowe is one of the prettiest places in Vermont (if not all of New England). One of the nicest spots to check out in the fall is the Notch Road that leads from Stowe up to Smuggler’s Notch. In the winter, this road is closed, as it becomes too dangerous and impassable. But it’s typically still open in the fall, giving you a great excuse to see vibrant foliage at a higher elevation.
Make sure to pay this area a visit. There are trail heads for many of the best local hikes along this road, too. PS: Drive slowly and carefully; this road is incredibly winding and very narrow in some spots.
Ride the Gondola up Mt. Mansfield
While you’re in Stowe, visit the tallest mountain in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield. In winter, this is a great spot for skiers, but during the rest of the year, you can ride the bright red gondolas up to the summit. A really unique way to see the foliage from a different perspective!
Attend a fall festival
Celebrate fall at an event designed to celebrate fall!
Do some fall camping (or glamping!)
Vermont does start to get chilly in the fall, but if you’ve got the right gear (namely, a warm sleeping bag) you can make the most of these crisp days and chilly nights.
Sip a sampler of seasonal brews
Enjoying craft beer is one of my top 50 things to do in Vermont. With more than 60 breweries (accurate as of 2020), Vermont is a bucket list destination for craft beer lovers, In the fall, relish the flavors of the season by seeking out pumpkin ales, autumnal IPAs, and more.
Explore Vermont’s most charming small towns
Vermont’s villages look even more picturesque at this time of year. Framed by rich leaves and decorated with pumpkins, they are Instagram-worthy destinations. Make sure to head off the beaten path and find some of these smaller, local gems to explore.
Hop aboard a fall foliage train ride
You can board a train from Chester, VT that will take you on a lovely ride through the mountains. What a nice way to see Vermont’s foliage!
Cheer Oktoberfest at Mount Snow
Finally, raise your glass at Mount Snow’s annual Oktoberfest, which has been around for more than 20 years.
Read these next:
- Fall in New England: The Best Towns, Orchards, Farms, Foliage, & Festivals
- The Best New England Fall Foliage Tours Worth Your Money
- Fall in New Hampshire: Essential Places to Go and Things to Do
- 6 Charming New England Towns to Visit in the Fall
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband and cats, & drinking a maple latte.