Much of the brilliant red, orange, and gold color is from native sugar maples, which are abundant in Vermont (the flip side of fall foliage is the sugaring season in late winter, when maple sap begins to flow). Plan ahead to see fall foliage in Vermont, because people from around the world flock here. Best option: reserve lodgings in a mountain resort or sweet inn for a romantic getaway and stay awhile.
Click here for useful information about when to visit, how to find color, and what to wear and pack.
Find directions and tips for great views and attractions for at the drive tours described below.
Starting (or ending) in the southwestern Vermont town of Wilmington and traveling north-south up the center of the state to Waterbury Village, Route 100 – sometimes called “Vermont’s Main Street” – skirts the Green Mountains and offers picturesque views of valleys, farm fields and barns, and sweet towns. Route 100 passes many state and local parks, along with the Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo, Killington and Sugarbush ski areas. (Note that lots of activities, including walking, mountain biking, and enjoyment of the foliage, may be happening at ski areas during no-snow seasons.) Towns along the route are pretty and peaceful. Waterbury, the northernmost town on this drive, has been designated one of 23 Vermont towns with a historically significant downtown.
This drive in the southwestern corner of Vermont is not a loop; you will need to double back to return to the start or step off the route where ever you choose. This drive also dips into northwestern Massachusetts to visit the delightful town of Williamstown. The Vermont towns of Manchester and Bennington are cherished for their classic New England beauty structures, and for their fine museums, dining and shopping. Take all or a part of the drive, which includes a very outdoorsy side trip to the pristine Somerset Reservoir. This drive has lots of digressions for dining and wining. Choose and enjoy!
This loop drives starts and ends at the bustling, hippie-period-redux town of Brattleboro, with lots of good dining, fun shops, and a circus school, and travels on and around Route 9, also called the Molly Stark Byway. The drive passes through the Mount Snow ski area, which offers scenic chair life rides on the Bluebird Express daily during foliage season. You will pass through delightful towns like Newfane and Whitingham, and the views all along the way are guaranteed to be spectacular if the weather cooperates.
This drive is actually two intersecting loops, forming a figure eight, so you can shorten or lengthen the entire drive as you see fit. The loops travel around Lake Bomoseen, Birdseye Mountain, and Lake St. Catherine. A neat side trip takes you to Proctor, where you can learn about and marvel at the state’s historic marble quarrying industry. Also, tour a real castle!
This loop is a large north-south oval in east-central Vermont, starting and ending in the beautiful town of Woodstock and passing through the Killington ski area. A small side trip takes you to the dramatic Quechee Gorge, also known as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, with fun souvenir shopping right nearby. You can shorten the drive easily by doing only pieces of the loop.
This north-south oval loop meanders through the Green Mountain National Forest and skims Lake Dunmore, passing through the towns of Middlebury, Ripton, Lincoln, Jerusalem, Irasville, Granville, Hancock, Goshen, Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, and return to Middlebury.
The centerpiece of this beautiful drive is the long, north-south string of the Lake Champlain Islands, where almost every twist and turn of the roads towns reveals both countryside views and vistas across the lake and out toward distant mountains. A unique and impressive mix.
This is Vermont’s remote northeastern corner, a paradise for people who love outdoor summer and winter sports. The major town is St. Johnsbury, with a wonderful art museum. Jay Peak is wonderful ski resort; it has a huge indoor water park that provides a full day of rough-and-tumble water play if you need a break from the car.
This drive starts and ends at Stowe and its world-famous ski mountain, where, in the fall, you can take a gondola sky ride and see the fall foliage from above as you warm up the seat for wintertime skiers coming up next. Also near Stowe are two waterfalls, where adventurous people may hike or take photos or have a picnic. The drive also passes one of the state's parks, with a beautiful mountain lake. Prepare for classic images of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Also, a quick, 6-mile side-trip down Route 100, directly south of Stowe like a tail on this drive loop, is Waterbury Center, a sweet place, partly because of the presence of Cold Hollow Cider Mill.