Scenic drive to admire the Vermont fall foliage

As the kaleidoscope of autumn begins to envelop the Northern Hemisphere, there’s a unique spectacle that unfolds in the heart of the United States, specifically in the idyllic state of Vermont. Every year, Vermont fall foliage bursts into a stunning canvas of oranges, reds, and yellows as the leaves change their hues, painting the landscape with the mesmerizing spectacle of fall foliage. This autumnal display is a sensory feast that stirs the soul, and there’s no better way to experience this enchanting display than embarking on a road trip through the verdant arteries of Central Vermont.

Imagine driving through an endless avenue of trees, each one a beacon of vibrant colors. As the crisp autumn air fills your lungs, you can’t help but gaze in awe at the masterpiece that Mother Nature has unfurled around you. This is not a hasty journey, but rather a leisurely, immersive experience meant to be savored over a weekend. A scenic drive Vermont of approximately 250 kilometers winds its way through the heart of this breathtaking spectacle, promising a visual feast that’s unparalleled in its beauty.

Our journey begins in the charming city of Montpelier, meandering southward on Route 12 to the quaint town of Woodstock. As you drive, the explosion of fall colors is an ever-present companion, draping the roadside with a vibrant tapestry. The real magic, however, lies in the surprises that this road trip offers – the hidden gems, the unexpected vistas, and the charming towns that make up the heart of Vermont.

After Woodstock, the journey heads north, starting with a Vermont Route 100 road trip, followed by 100B, tracing a loop back to Montpelier Vermont. It’s a route that offers a symphony of sights, sounds, and scents, transforming the everyday act of driving into an extraordinary adventure. Along the way, you’ll encounter tranquil towns, tranquil rivers, and picturesque valleys, each one a unique tableau showcasing the glory of Vermont fall foliage.

This road trip is more than a drive; it’s a celebration of the transient beauty of autumn, a journey through a living, breathing masterpiece that unfurls in vivid colors. So, fasten your seatbelt, ready your senses, and prepare to embark on a journey like no other. Let’s experience the magic of Vermont’s fall foliage together, one mile at a time.

montpelier vermont fall foliage
Vermont fall foliage in Montpelier

Getting started: Montpelier

You’re standing in the heart of Montpelier, the charming, small state capital of Vermont, with the crisp autumn air kissing your cheeks. A city nestled on the northern cusp of Central Vermont, it’s the springboard to your adventure — a journey through a 250-kilometer loop of breathtaking fall foliage.

Montpelier, the quintessential New England town, hums with an inviting blend of quaintness and vibrancy. Though diminutive in size, its charm is enormous, and it’s conveniently accessible. Whether you’re embarking on this scenic drive from the bustling streets of Boston, a 293-kilometer drive away, or from Hartford, a shorter 158-kilometer trip, Interstate 89 offers a smooth and direct pathway to our starting point.

With your bags packed, your playlist curated, and a cup of locally brewed coffee in hand, you’ll leave the endearing Montpelier behind, setting your sights southward. As your car eases onto Route 12, you’re not just heading toward Northfield Falls — you’re venturing into a world where nature paints the landscape in vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. Each twist and turn of the road unravels a new picturesque panorama, making your heart flutter with anticipation.

As you embark on this journey, remember: it’s not just about the destination, but about savoring every moment of the ride. So, buckle up and prepare to immerse yourself in the mesmerizing spectacle of Vermont’s fall foliage. This is more than just a road trip; it’s a passage into the heart of autumn’s splendor.

northfield falls covered bridge vermont
Jerrye & Roy Klotz MD [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Journey through Route 12: Northfield Falls

As your car hums along Route 12, tracing the serpentine path that unfurls through the heart of Vermont, you’ll soon find yourself in the enchanting vicinity of Northfield Falls. This isn’t just another Vermont town, but a place where you’ll witness an exquisite anomaly that is as rare as it is charming — two covered bridges that can be seen in a single gaze, one framed by the other. This remarkable sight, unique to all of New England, will make you reach for your camera, eager to encapsulate this moment of unexpected delight in a photograph.

Northfield Falls is a testament to the old-world charm that Vermont is renowned for. As you walk beneath the wooden trusses of the covered bridges, feel the echoes of countless stories that have been woven into their timbers over the years. It’s an experience that will make you pause, appreciating the quaintness enveloping this corner of New England.

new england sunset
Vermont scenery pictures of Bethel on one of the best drives in Vermont

Stop in Bethel on one of the best scenic drives in Vermont

With a heart full of the warmth of Northfield Falls, you’ll continue along Route 12, steering your wheels toward the town of Bethel. This unassuming town is a natural addition to Vermont’s vibrant landscape, but it holds a secret worth discovering — the White River National Fish Hatchery.

Nestled amid the verdant scenery, this hatchery plays a pivotal role in restoring the Atlantic Salmon to the Connecticut River. Imagine the hatchery team diligently working to replenish the waters with these majestic creatures, ensuring the survival of a species and enriching the ecological tapestry of the region. It’s not just a hatchery but a beacon of preservation, embodying Vermont’s dedication to its natural treasures.

The White River National Fish Hatchery is available for visitors every day from 08:00 to 15:00. Its location can be found at Hatchery Entrance Rd, Bethel, VT 05032, United States, and you can reach them at the telephone number +1 802-234-5937.

As you drive from Northfield Falls to Bethel, you’ll realize that this scenic journey is more than a feast for the eyes. It’s a testament to the history, culture, and dedication to nature that imbues Vermont with its enduring allure. This isn’t just a drive; it’s an exploration of the soul of New England.

After leaving Bethel, continue driving on the southern route to Woodstock.

woodstock vermont fall foliage
Woodstock Vermont fall foliage

Woodstock – a picture-perfect Vermont town

Stepping into Woodstock, Vermont is akin to stepping into a postcard-perfect painting. The town, nestled in the heart of the state, boasts a rustic charm that is undeniably captivating. Its quaint atmosphere invites you to wander its streets, take a leisurely stroll, and discover what lies around each bend. But there’s more to Woodstock than meets the eye, it is a town bursting with life, history, and gastronomic delights.

As you meander through the town, the aroma of home-cooked meals wafts from local restaurants, luring you in with promises of comfort food served with a side of Vermont hospitality. A medley of flavors awaits your taste buds – from the sweet, syrupy goodness of pancakes drenched in locally sourced maple syrup to hearty stews that warm you from the inside out. Dining in Woodstock isn’t just about satisfying your hunger, it’s about savoring the essence of Vermont in each bite.

But the town’s allure doesn’t stop at its culinary offerings. Located nearby is Quechee Gorge, fondly referred to as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon. Here, the landscape dramatically transforms into a deep, winding gorge, with trails that invite you to venture closer. As you hike along these paths, the foliage around you erupts into a vibrant display of autumn hues – a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows that mesmerize and inspire. Make sure to venture to the picnic area perched above the falls. Here, you’ll be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the gorge’s grandeur, a sight made even more breathtaking with the autumn colors reflected on the water’s surface. It’s a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss!

Further enriching your Woodstock adventure is the Billings Farm and Museum. Established in 1871, this working farm gives you a glimpse into the agricultural history of Vermont. The farm museum paints a vivid picture of life in the late 1800s, immersing you in an era when farming was not just a livelihood but a way of life. Depending on the season, you might even get the chance to participate in activities that transport you back in time. From milking cows to making butter, these experiences allow you to appreciate the farm beyond its fall foliage display. Their events calendar is always filled with intriguing activities, ensuring that no two visits are alike.

The Billings Farm and Museum operates on a daily basis with different hours depending on the season. From April to October, it is open from 10 am to 5 pm, and from November to February, it is open from 10 am to 4 pm. The admission prices vary, with adult tickets priced at $16.00, while children’s tickets range from $4.00 to $9.00 depending on their age. You can find the establishment at 69 Old River Rd, Woodstock, VT 05091, United States, and contact them at +1 802-457-2355. Additionally, you can refer to their events calendar for more information.

After a day of exploring, continue your journey along Route 4. With about 32 kilometers to Killington, you’re bound to witness more of Vermont’s autumn beauty along the way. However, as you leave Woodstock, you carry with you memories of a town that has woven itself into your heart, a place that perfectly encapsulates the charm and beauty of Vermont.

killington peak vermont autumn
Killington Vermont fall foliage

The peaks of Killington

Nestled amidst the emerald slopes of six majestic mountains lies the hidden gem of Vermont – Killington, a ski area that’s revered by adventure enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. But the allure of Killington extends far beyond its world-class skiing. As autumn graces the landscape, the peaks of Killington are transformed into a canvas of vibrant hues, where Mother Nature wields her brush with masterful strokes.

Imagine standing atop Killington Peak, the highest point of this awe-inspiring mountain cluster, perched at an elevation of 1,010 meters. As you survey the landscape from this vantage point, the breathtaking panorama of Vermont’s fall foliage unfurls before your eyes. It’s a sight that transforms your perspective, where the grandeur of nature is painted in shades of fiery red, vibrant orange, and brilliant gold. These are the moments that etch themselves into memory, where the beauty of our world leaves us in a state of wonder.

But what if the thought of a strenuous uphill hike dampens your spirit? Don’t worry, Killington has got you covered! The K-1 Gondola, a beloved fixture of the area, offers a more leisurely route to the summit. The ride up is an experience in itself, where the anticipation of reaching the top is heightened by the sweeping views that progressively unfold.

During the autumn season, you can access Killington Peak via the K-1 Gondola, which operates daily from 10 am to 5 pm. It is advisable to check their website before planning your visit, as occasional closures may occur due to events. For autumn, roundtrip adult tickets are priced at $20.00 on weekdays and $23.00 on weekends, while children’s tickets cost $16.00 on weekdays and $18.00 on weekends. The address for the K-1 Gondola is Killington, VT 05751, USA, and you can reach them at +1 800-734-9435.

Now, as you descend from the peak, the realization dawns that you’ve crossed the halfway point of your Vermont fall foliage road trip. And while the ride was thrilling, the journey is far from over. If you choose to rest and rejuvenate overnight, a welcoming retreat awaits you in the nearby town of Rutland. But a word of caution – make your accommodation bookings in advance. The allure of autumn’s colors in this region is no secret, and lodgings tend to fill up quickly!

So, whether it’s the exhilarating journey to the summit or the serene ride up the K-1 Gondola, Killington offers a unique encounter with nature’s artistry during the fall season. It’s not just about the destination, but the journey that leaves you with unforgettable impressions and yearning for more. After all, as they say, the joy is in the journey, not just the destination. And in Killington, the journey is as captivating as the final panorama that awaits.

Experience the magic of Killington’s peaks this fall and let the spectacle of nature’s transformations leave you spellbound!

vermont fall foliage scenic drive
Vermont fall foliage drives by the Green Mountain National Forest

By the Green Mountain National Forest

As you bid goodbye to the mighty peaks of Killington, the journey continues with an unforgettable drive that is bound to leave you spellbound. Imagine starting your day with a hearty breakfast, savoring the fresh aroma of coffee, and hitting the road just as the sun is beginning to paint the sky with hues of pink and orange. The journey that lies ahead is nothing short of a dream.

Upon getting into your car, set the GPS to Route 100 Vermont road trip. This path meanders along the enchanting border of the Green Mountain National Forest, a testament to Vermont’s stunning wilderness. As the engine hums to life and the first notes of your travel playlist fill the air, you’re off, cutting through the morning fog, with the anticipation of the treasures that lie ahead.

Journey through the picturesque towns of Pittsfield, Hancock, and Granville, each offering something unique. The real magic of this drive, however, lies in its intimate encounter with nature. Imagine cruising through a scenic route Vermont, flanked by trees exploding with colors of fall. These are not just trees but natural paintings that make every moment of this trip an enchanting spectacle.

Now, as you approach Hancock, keep an eye out for Route 125. A slight detour leads to Texas Falls, a hidden gem amongst the wilderness. This easy hike is a year-round wonder, but it’s during the fall that it truly comes alive. The rustling leaves, the cool breeze, and the thunderous applause of the falls create a symphony that’s hard to forget. As you stand there, with the misty spray on your face and the vibrant foliage reflecting in the water, you realize this is not just a place to photograph Vermont’s fall foliage. It’s a place to experience it.

After capturing these stunning scenes, get ready for the next chapter of this picturesque journey. As you head north of Granville, the larger Moss Glen Falls awaits you. The path there takes you through 11 kilometers of untouched wilderness. The drive may be rough, but every bump on the road is a reminder of the raw beauty that surrounds you. As you navigate through the wilderness, remember to slow down, breathe in the crisp air, and drink in the views of Vermont’s fall foliage in all its glory.

In the midst of these adventures, remember that this journey is not a race, but a leisurely stroll through nature’s gallery. Take your time, let the rhythm of nature guide you, and surrender to the magic of fall in Vermont. This is not just a road trip. It’s a love letter from nature, written in the colors of fall.

vermont fall foliage autumn leaves
Vermont fall foliage drives guide

Wrapping up the journey

As the sun begins to descend and shadows elongate, marking the closure of your Vermont fall foliage expedition, the journey is far from over. Leaving Route 100 behind, steer your way towards Route 100B near the quaint village of Moretown. The cool, crisp air of the late afternoon fills your lungs as you press on northwards, bound for Middlesex. The sights and sounds of nature follow you like a melodious soundtrack, punctuating every mile with the rustling leaves and the chirping of dusk-bound birds.

As you cruise along Route 100B, the golden hues of the setting sun illuminate the autumnal palette of the Vermont wilderness. The fading light accentuates the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall foliage, creating a canvas of warmth against the backdrop of the approaching twilight. This is Vermont’s magic hour, where every leaf seems to glow with an inner fire, and every vista holds a new surprise.

Soon, the familiar sight of Interstate 89 appears, signifying your final stretch back to Montpelier. But don’t let the thought of the journey’s end cloud your excitement. This stretch of road is no less enchanting, offering a multitude of opportunities to capture the Vermont fall foliage in its full splendor. Here, the countryside unfurls like a painted scroll, the rich colors of the leaves contrasted against the deep blue of the early evening sky.

But remember, this isn’t just a journey; it’s an adventure. The main road may guide you, but it’s the detours and smaller roads that often hold the most intimate and unforgettable experiences of Vermont’s autumn. Venture off the beaten path and let curiosity be your compass. Find solace in the solitude of a quiet forest trail, or marvel at the breathtaking beauty of a hidden vista. Let the smaller roads whisper their stories to you, stories that are woven into the very fabric of Vermont’s countryside.

As you wind your way back to Montpelier, reflect on the day’s adventures. The scenic drive, the stunning vistas, the hidden gems discovered along the way – these are the experiences that will remain etched in your memory long after the journey is over. The autumn in Vermont is not just a season; it’s a symphony of colors, a celebration of nature’s bounty, and an invitation to explore, discover, and fall in love with the landscape. And as you capture the last vestiges of Vermont’s fall foliage in your camera and heart, you’ll realize why those who live here wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else in the world.

Additional resources

As we wrap up this unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of Vermont, I’ve got some helpful resources and suggestions to enrich your travel experience even further. Remember, the magic of a road trip lies not just in the destination, but in the journey itself!

First and foremost, for those who are map-oriented explorers, I have curated a downloadable Vermont foliage map and the iconic Route 100 trip. These handy guides will serve as your compass, leading you through the kaleidoscope of colors that Vermont’s autumn has to offer. Use them to navigate the winding roads, identify key landmarks, and plan detours to lesser-known gems that catch your eye.

Now, let’s talk about accommodations and eateries. Vermont’s charm lies not only in its breathtaking vistas but also in its quaint towns, each offering unique lodgings and mouthwatering local cuisine. From cozy B&Bs nestled in the heart of vibrant foliage to rustic inns with roaring fireplaces, you’ll find plenty of options to rest your weary head.

For foodies, Vermont offers a gastronomic adventure as diverse and captivating as its landscapes. Farm-to-table restaurants, charming roadside diners, and artisanal bakeries dot the route. Indulge in Vermont’s famous maple syrup pancakes, warm apple pies, and hearty stews that will fuel your journey.

If our scenic drive has left you yearning for more, fear not. I’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to the best scenic drives in Vermont. Each route is a voyage of discovery, revealing a new facet of Vermont’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a leaf-peeper, a history buff, an adventure enthusiast, or simply a lover of open roads and picturesque towns, these scenic drives Vermont promise to offer a captivating experience.

Remember, the open road is a canvas for creating your own unique adventure. So, embrace the spirit of exploration, take the scenic route, and let Vermont’s autumn splendor leave you spellbound. Safe travels, dear wanderer!

Vermont Route 100 road trip map

The unforgettable journey: a Vermont fall foliage road trip

As our journey through the radiant canvas of Vermont’s autumn comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the unforgettable experiences we’ve shared. A road trip through Vermont in the fall is more than just a sightseeing tour – it’s a dance with nature, a play of colors, and a symphony of experiences that stir the soul and refresh the spirit.

We embarked on an adventure that took us through winding roads, under the canopy of blazing oranges and reds, past shimmering lakes, and rustic-covered bridges. We’ve savored the sweetness of fresh apple pies in charming diners and felt the warmth of cozy fireplaces in quaint beds and breakfasts. We paused to feel the crisp autumn air, listened to the rustle of leaves underfoot, and marveled at the panoramic views from mountain peaks.

And yet, the true beauty of this journey lies in its unexpected detours. The small, less-traveled roads that veer away from the bustling highways have led us to hidden gems and secret vistas, adding a touch of serendipity to our adventure.

In the grandeur of Vermont’s fall, we’ve discovered not just a place, but a feeling. A sense of peace that blankets the landscape, a warmth that infuses the communities, a vibrancy that colors every experience. It’s no wonder why those lucky enough to call this place home wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else in the world.

But don’t just take my word for it. The magic of Vermont’s autumn is something to be experienced firsthand. So, pack your bags, ready your camera, and let the open road guide you. From the stunning foliage of Montpelier to the breathtaking vistas of Killington Peak, a world of natural beauty and captivating experiences awaits you.

Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. And in Vermont, the journey is always worth it. So go ahead, take the scenic route, and let the spirit of exploration lead you on your own unforgettable Vermont fall foliage road trip. Safe travels!

About the author

cristina popescu guest post writer on the travel bunny blog

Venturing into the captivating realm of travel and adventure, Cristina Popescu, a seasoned explorer hailing from Romania, has taken the road less traveled since 2008. With her footprints imprinted across 100+ countries and all the continents, she has garnered an extensive wealth of knowledge about enchanting travel destinations, Vermont’s vibrant fall foliage being one of them. Cristina’s rich tapestry of experiences, coupled with her fearless spirit for exploration, makes her a virtuoso in the world of travel.

The extraordinary charm of her adventurous spirit lies in her motto to try everything at least once in a lifetime. She believes in living life to the fullest, and her experiences speak volumes about her ethos. Cristina is not just a traveler, but a storyteller, passionately sharing her journey with the world and inspiring others to embark on their own adventures. When it comes to exploring Vermont’s majestic fall scenery, Cristina Popescu is your ultimate guide, weaving her personal experiences with practical advice to provide the most comprehensive and authentic information. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her profound knowledge is certain to inspire you to experience the radiant autumn hues on a fantastic Vermont fall vacation.

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