A Guide to Fall Colors in Vermont: Itinerary for Leaf Peepers

Discover Vermont’s stunning fall colors with a guide to the best foliage spots in Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Snow. Perfect for autumn travels!

Fall Scenic Landscape in Vermont

A Guide to Fall Colors in Vermont: Itinerary for Leaf Peepers

Autumn in Vermont unfolds like a storybook filled with pages of vibrant colors and enchanting landscapes. Each year, the Green Mountain State dresses in its spectacular attire–deep reds, fiery oranges, and glimmering golds–drawing travelers into its breathtaking natural gallery. Here’s your ultimate guide to experiencing the fall foliage in Vermont, focusing on picture-perfect towns and notable resorts that dot the landscape here. 

Day 1-3: Stowe - The Quintessential Fall Experience

Start your Vermont fall journey in Stowe, a town synonymous with New England charm and one of the best towns for fall foliage in Vermont. The scenic drive along Route 100 offers breathtaking views of the changing leaves. This route is often referred to as Vermont’s Main Street and provides a perfect backdrop for your autumn adventure. 

Activities and Sightseeing:

  • Stowe Mountain Resort: Begin at Stowe Mountain Resort, where the gondola sky ride to the top of Mount Mansfield - Vermont’s highest peak - offers panoramic views of the sprawling fiery landscape. 
  • Smugglers’ Notch State Park: Drive through the stunning Smugglers’ Notch, a narrow pass through the Green Mountains lined with 1,000-foot cliffs and dense forests. 
  • The Stowe Recreation Path: For those who prefer a leisurely pace, the 5.3-mile path offers a peaceful walk through the woods and meadows with ample opportunities to photograph vibrant foliage.   

Local Flavor: 

Spend your evening exploring Stowe’s quaint downtown. Enjoy local cuisine at farm-to-table restaurants, and don’t miss the homemade ice cream at the local creamery. Visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill for a taste of fresh apple cider, a New England seasonal staple. 

Day 4-6: Okemo - Family Fun and Foliage

Next on your itinerary is Okemo, located in the heart of the Green Mountains. The town of Ludlow, home to Okemo Mountain Resort, is perfect for families and offers a variety of activities that cater to all ages. 

Activities and Sightseeing: 

  • Okemo Mountain Resort: Take advantage of the resort’s fall activities, including a scenic chairlift ride and the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains in their autumnal glory. 
  • Buttermilk Falls: Nearby, Buttermilk Falls provides a picturesque setting for an afternoon hike, with opportunities for picnicking by the waterfalls. 
  • Local Orchards and Farms: Visit local orchards for apple picking, a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to enjoy the local produce.

Local Flavor: 

Ludlow offers cozy cafes and bakeries, like the Eatery, where you can relax with a warm drink and enjoy the local atmosphere. The evening can be spent enjoying Vermont’s craft beers at a local brewery, like Outer Limits or sampling artisan cheeses at a nearby cheese shop like Grafton Village Cheese

Day 7-9: Mount Snow - A Hidden Gem for Autumn Colors

Conclude your trip at Mount Snow in the southern part of Vermont. This area is often less crowded, offering a more secluded and intimate experience of the fall colors. 

Activities and Sightseeing:

  • Mount Snow Resort: Known for its spectacular 360-degree views that can stretch all the way to Mount Washington on a clear day, the Bluebird Express offers an express lift to the summit for leaf-peepers to enjoy the mountain scenery. 
  • Molly Stark State Park: Named after the famous American Revolutionary War figure, the park offers numerous hiking trails that showcase fall colors on full display. 
  • Historic Wilmington: Explore the charming downtown of Wilmington, where you can browse antique shops, bookstores, and art galleries.

Local Flavor: 

Enjoy the fall festivals that take place in the area featuring local crafts, food, and music, such as Mount Snow's Brewers Festival, Oktoberfest events, and the Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival. Dining in Mount Snow means experiencing a blend of traditional American cuisine with a Vermont twist, focusing on locally sourced ingredients. 

Maximizing Your Vermont Fall Foliage Experience 

Timing and preparation are key to ensuring a memorable experience when planning a trip to see the fall colors in Vermont. Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of your getaway. 

  • Best Time to Visit: The foliage season can vary each year, but generally, the best time to visit Vermont for peak colors is from late September to mid-October. Higher elevations near Stowe and Mount Snow tend to change earlier, so plan accordingly if you’re visiting these areas. 
  • Weather Considerations: Autumn weather in Vermont can be quite variable. Days may be warm and sunny, or you could encounter cool, brisk weather with occasional rain. Packing layers is crucial–include a waterproof jacket and comfortable hiking shoes. Mornings can be chilly, so warm hats and gloves are a good idea for early risers. 
  • Accommodation Tips: Book your accommodations early as inns, hotels, and bed and breakfasts can fill up quickly due to the popularity of leaf peeping season. Consider staying in a charming Vermont inn or cottage for an authentic New England experience. 
  • Driving Advice: Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Scenic routes like Route 100 offer stunning landscapes, and having your own transportation allows you to pull over safely to capture photos or simply enjoy the view. Make sure to have a reliable GPS or map, as cell service can be spotty in remote areas. 
  • Photography Tips: For photography enthusiasts, the golden hours early in the morning or late in the afternoon provide the best light for capturing the vibrancy of the fall colors. Bring along extra batteries, memory cards, and portable charging options. 
  • Respect Nature: Preserve the natural beauty of Vermont by staying on marked trails and roads, not littering, and respecting private property. The state prides itself on its pristine environment, and visitors play a role in keeping it that way. 

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy the breathtaking fall scenery that Vermont has to offer. Whether you’re enjoying a scenic hike, capturing stunning photographs, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of autumn, Vermont in the fall is an experience not to be missed.