Where to see the best fall foliage in Massachusetts

Spectacular drives to see fall foliage in Massachusetts are abundant, from the south shore of Boston to Cape Cod and the Quabbin Reservoir area of the central region.

However, the most dramatic can be found in the west of the Berkshires and Mount Greylock. Here, the mountains have the ideal scenery and temperatures to reveal its complete splendor.

Nowhere is this more clear than on one of my favorite scenic foliage drives in Massachusetts. A 63-mile stretch from the Massachusetts-New York border to the Millers Falls on the Connecticut River is a stretch of road known as the Mohawk Trail. It offers one of the most beloved and popular autumn drives to admire the best fall foliage in Massachusetts.

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autumn foliage in massachusetts
Lovely fall foliage spotted on my scenic drive in Massachusetts

Fall foliage in Massachusetts along the Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail attractions include Mount Greylock, Bridge of Flowers, Glacial Potholes, a natural marble bridge created by erosion, state parks, old Indian hiking trails, and a plethora of country inns, gift shops, arts and craft attractions, and some of the prettiest fall foliage villages in Massachusetts.

The trail follows more or less the path of trade and travel used by the inhabitants in this part of the northeast since the postglacial period. The route was well-trodden and used to travel between the valleys of the Hudson and the Connecticut River.

Driving along this route through the northern section of the Berkshire Hills is soothing and inspiring at any time of the year, but particularly during autumn, when the fall foliage in Massachusetts cloaks and carpets everything in vivid fall colors.

This scenic drive to see fall foliage in Massachusetts includes most of the major attractions, with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the view or pick up an antique or two. The drive is roughly 65 miles long, so you’ll have time to enjoy all the best places to see and things to do en route in a slow and carefree manner.

mount greylock fall foliage in massachusetts
Fall foliage in Massachusetts on Mount Greylock. Photo by Protophobic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Mount Greylock & a view over 5 states in autumn

Start off at Route 7 in Lanesborough, just south of Route 2. Follow Lanesborough a mile north to Rockwell Road on the right. This path leads to the summit of Mount Greylock – the highest peak in Massachusetts and one of the highest in the Taconic Mountains.

The ride to the summit provides a spectacular view of the valleys and other peaks in the area. A few miles away on Rockwell Road is the visitor center of Mount Greylock. Here you can find trail maps and general information about the region. If you have the time, some easy walking trails lead down and around the summit and offer some great views to admire fall foliage in Massachusetts.

The War Memorial Tower is at the summit. The climb to the top of the 92-foot tower at the top of the summit provides beautiful foliage views of the five states, so it’s well worth the climb. Once you’ve taken in the sights from the top of the mountain, continue your scenic drive in Massachusetts along the Notch Road down to the Mohawk Trail on Route 2 in North Adams.

north adams fall foliage in massachusetts
North Adams: A wonderful spot to admire fall foliage in Massachusetts. Photo by ToddC4176, CC BY-SA 3.0

2. North Adams, the Fall Foliage Festival & Parade

North Adams is home to the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, which includes an exhibition on the design of the Hoosac Tunnel. Close to the east of North Adams off Route 2 and 8 is the Natural Bridge State Park, where the remnants of rock fractures and erosion have created a natural bridge shape.

North Adams welcomes the fall foliage season with the North Adams Fall Foliage Festival and Parade. This typically takes place on the last weekend of September or the first weekend of October. The whole New England town comes alive and it makes for a great stop on your scenic drive in Massachusetts!

mohawk trail massachusetts scenic drive
The Hairpin Turn on the Mohawk Trail, something you’ll definitely spot on your scenic drive in Massachusetts

3. The Hoosac Mountain Range & Charlemont

Follow Route 2 east from North Adams, climbing the Hoosac Mountain Range to the Hairpin Turn and then to the Western Summit. Here you can take a break from your scenic drive in Massachusetts and enjoy the views of Mount Greylock, Vermont’s Green Mountains, and the valley below.

How fast or slow you move on to the next part of your journey to see fall foliage in Massachusetts depends on your time. Continuing along Route 2 East, you’ll get to Charlemont, where the famous “Hail to the Sunrise” statue stands in Memorial Park.

fall foliage in massachusetts shelburne falls
The Glacial Potholes of Shelburne Falls: One of our stops to admire fall foliage in Massachusetts

4. Shelburne Falls & The Glacial Potholes

The east end of this scenic drive in Massachusetts along the Mohawk Trail on Route 2 will take you to Shelburne Falls, where you will see the Bridge of Flowers – a converted trolley bridge – and the Glacial Potholes below the Salmon Falls, where time has created rare geological pools.

State parks, walks along ancient trails, scenic views and, of course, specialty shopping and dining opportunities are scattered throughout the area. So as you wind your way on this scenic drive in Massachusetts, take the time to enjoy a glimpse into the heritage areas of this region.

In short, the Mohawk Trail is the best place to admire fall foliage in Massachusetts. Combine this drive with a weekend getaway in the Berkshires and several other attractions in the area, and you’ve got a fall foliage destination package to make memories for many of the falls to come!

About the author

cristina popescu guest post writer on the travel bunny blog

Cristina Popescu is a Romanian blogger who has been traveling since 2008. She has visited 100+ countries across all the continents and accumulated firsthand knowledge about beautiful travel destinations. There is nothing she won’t try at least once in a lifetime and she wishes to encourage others to get out and see the world, too.

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