The arrival of autumn in New England is heralded each year by a glorious display of fall colors. Stretching all the way from Maine down to Connecticut, the region’s dense forests and rolling hills transform into a riot of orange, red and gold. It’s no wonder that crowds of “leaf peepers” make an informal pilgrimage to New England each year to watch the spectacle unfold.
In the northernmost states the leaves start turning by late September up until mid-October, while states on lower latitudes can have fiery colors on display into November. Whatever your itinerary, these scenic trails are sure to bring you up close and personal to the autumn colors (and the crisp air, pumpkins and apples that round out the full fall experience).
Acadia National Park, located on remote Mount Desert Island, offers bucolic seaside settings and lush forests. Nearby Camden Hills State Park also provides stunning vistas. From a vantage point at the top of Mt. Battie and from the trails on Bald Rock Mountain, you’re promised a spread of scenic forests, as far as the eye can see.
Looking for ultimate fall foliage spotting? You can’t do much better than the view from Mt. Washington. The tallest mountain in New England and the crown of the White Mountains range, it’s a stunning sight in itself. Don’t bother climbing all the way to the summit (unless you’re prepared for a long, strenuous hike!) — it’s decidedly wintery up there in the fall. Amateur climbers can opt for the gentler Mt. Monadnock and still be privy to some gorgeous views.
Folksy, friendly Burlington is a great place to kick off a leaf-peeping tour of Vermont. From a cruise on Lake Champlain, you can admire the town, the surrounding trees and relax on the water. Vermont is one of the only states in the continental U.S. that bans billboards, so even highway driving will offer unspoiled views of the surrounding flora.
A driving tour along the Mohawk Trail in Western Mass is one of the more accessible ways to log some autumnal sightseeing. The designated scenic route winds through classic New England forests before leading up to the rolling Berkshire Hills.
Located in southern New England, Rhode Island’s foliage can last into late autumn. This tiny state packs an extra punch: Stunning ocean views complement Rhode Island’s fall scenery.
Route 169 leads visitors through the landscapes and small towns of rural Connecticut. Filled as it is with orchards, the state is ideal for those looking to go apple picking or pumpkin harvesting as well.
(Main image: Rustic New England © Greg Kushmerek, 2013. Used under license from Shutterstock.com)
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