Ready for a Vermont Fall foliage roadtrip?
You’ve seen it on Instagram posts, while scrolling through Pinterest and flipping through magazines… Every year, when Fall rolls around, New England’s precious sceneries are on display for the world to see. But, for as many people who have flocked to New England to go leaf peeping, there are even more people who haven’t. Then, you have people like me who can’t resist coming back for more. Guess that’s how this Cali girl became a New Englander over a decade ago. 😉
This Fall, get a front row seat to nature’s finest viewing party in Vermont where Fall is as as charming as it gets. You’ll experience everything the Green Mountain state has to offer from historic Vermont covered bridges, colorful trees, outdoor adventures and scenic drives a plenty.
But, don’t take my word for it… Take a Vermont Fall foliage roadtrip and see for yourself! For the ultimate leaf peeping experience, don’t forget a pumpkin spice latte and apple cider donut for the drive.
Next stop… Vermont. But wait! Where to take those Instagram worthy drives? Read on as I share places to explore on your Fall roadtrip.
When is the Best Time to See Fall Foliage in Vermont?
Many people will argue when Fall’s foliage in Vermont is. The truth is, mother nature has a mind of her own so we can’t ever predict when she’ll come out or hide away. Generally, it’s fair to say that Fall in Vermont is from mid-September to mid October, although I’ve also seen foliage as soon as early September and even into late October.
What to Know Before You Get on the Road
While you could theoretically just jump in the car and start driving, it’s good to have a general idea of the area want to be in. It’ll make your experience in Vermont in the Fall much more enjoyable. Start by choosing a region first – Northern, Central, Southern Vermont. I share scenic routes and roadtrip stops in each region below.
Pro Tip: Have a few essentials upfront with you so you don’t have to stop to get into the trunk. I always like to keep sunglasses, a hat, headphones and wear something comfy and warm when you and the driver can’t agree on the temperature. 😉 It’s always good to have cozy flats for the ride and then change into your hiking boots.
DO NOT STOP RANDOMLY ON THE ROAD.
Most covered bridges have a pull out either a bit up the road or before you get to it. Do not impede traffic. Respecting locals and keeping the roads safe will help everyone have a great time.
Vermont Fall Foliage Roadtrip Adventures
Vermont is a stunning state so, there is no shortage of places to take see Vermont’s brilliant colors.
Take a Scenic Drive in Vermont to See Fall Foliage
Best Scenic Drives in Southern Vermont
If you are short on time, I have a loop route that is packed with everything Vermont is known for. It’s fantastic for a short day or overnight trip.
Starting in the town of Bennington, this roadtrip will briefly include famed Route 100. Go a little further and you’ll hit cute towns like Weston, Peru and Londonderry.
You can also take route 7A with stops in Shaftsbury and Manchester where President Abe Lincoln’s son’s property Hilden estate is with a farm, garden and mansion. If you follow Rte 7A further North, you’ll be taken to the Shires of Vermont Byway which is a truly quintessential Vermont experience leading you to charming historic villages, farmlands and the Green Mountain National Forest.
You can drive the road for as long or little as you’d like to make fun stops. Bennington has a few of my absolute favorite Vermont covered bridges, Paper Mill and Silk Road Bridge. As well as the Robert Frost House. Eat at Pangea which serves good food and has a charming pond and beautiful trees all around.
Read my Vermont Fall guide for restaurants, hotels and more activities in this area.
If you have time to take a hike before you drive, this is the place. Vermont’s Long Trail is spectacular and is the first long hiking trail in the United States covering 272 miles which starts at the Vermont/Massachusetts border, going along the ridge of the Green Mountains and up to the Canadian Border.
You’ll then cut over to Route 30 towards Bromely Mountain Ski Resort and continue on to Winhall and Jamaica State Park. Along this stretch of road, there is no shortage of antique stores, local restaurants and shops in the small villages. Just enough to make you want to get out and walk again. That is the perfect excuse to stop at Jamaica State Park, with its 727 acres to explore.
Hopping onto Route 100, you’ll head towards Wardsboro and Mount Snow Resort and finally Wilmington.
After you wrap up your time exploring Wilmington, you’ll get onto Route 9 and head back towards Bennington with stops in Woodford.
If you find yourself in the town of Brattleboro, go to Whetstone Brewing Co. Not even for just the beer, the positioning of their building overlooking the Connecticut River makes for incredible views. Take a walk on the outskirts of Brattleboro Bridge East for nice pictures.
Is your Vermont Fall Foliage Roadtrip on a Budget?
Calculate the cost of gas for your trip with this calculator.
Best Scenic Drives in Central Vermont
This is probably one of the most popular routes as it is over 140 miles long and is a perfect long weekend getaway trip.
Now I won’t give you a day by day itinerary, as I personally like to make my reservations for hotels and play everything else off the cuff, but I’ll give you some ideas for things to do along the drive.
You can start your trip in Wilmington going through towns like West Dover, Ludlow, Waitsville and Granville. You’ll also stop along some well known towns like Waterbury, home of the original Ben & Jerrys and now a factory. Definitely take a tour and enjoy some samples. Stowe is another must stop town in Northern-Central Vermont. We’ll save that for another blog!
Route 100 will take you on the edge of the Green Mountains where you’ll drive by working farms and rural towns. You might take note along this route to return during the winter as you’ll be in the vicinity of some of New England’s top rated ski resorts like Stowe (“ski capital of the East”), Killintgon, Okemo, Stratton and Mount Snow.
There are also two beautiful covered bridges on this route which I share later in this blog.
Pro Tip: There are so many places that you will want to pull off at to get a better look at the foliage. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it than with a Fall picnic. Moss Glenn Falls is totally picnic & picture worthy.
Best Scenic Drives in North Eastern Vermont
This drive is a thing of beauty, taking you to an area known as “The Quiet Corner“, otherwise known as “Northeast Kingdom Loop” with adorable towns like St. Johnsbury. Starting on the 91 in White River Vermont, you’ll follow Route 14 taking you up to reconnect to the 91 in Orleans, Vermont. The total drive is about 150 miles but is well worth it.
White River (like much of Vermont), is home to antique stores, restaurants and shops all set in an idyllic New England village, this is a great place to grab a bite to eat before you get on your journey.
Strafford… don’t blink or you might miss one of the cutest towns. Stop here to stock up on local farm goodies and visit Old City Falls, a spectacular waterfall with a 45 foot drop.
Another gem of a town you don’t want to miss is Woodstock. Stroll the quaint streets of Woodstock Village, grab some goodies at Woodstock Farmers Market, drive to Vermont covered bridges like Middle, Taftsville and Lincoln. Or, hit a Fall festival, adult or family event at Billings Farm & Museum.
Barre is the largest city in this area of Vermont with several museums and plenty to see. The Rock of Ages Quarry and Visitors Center is something to add to your to-do list.. as is the Granite Museum down the street. So, make sure to give yourself some time on this stretch of road.
As you get back onto Route 14, you’ll want to get your camera ready for The Northeast Kingdom, more commonly known as “Craftsbury Common“. There again, you will find several family owned farm stands where you can sample local fruits, veggies and baked goods. Then, head up to Green River Reservoir State Park to watch the leaves’ colors in the reflections of this pristine area.
For Northwestern Vermont scenic destinations near Lake Champlain like Burlington and Shelburne check out my Fall Vermont guide where I share restaurants, hotels and fun activities,.
Vermont has more covered bridges per sq. mile than any other US state, 100 of which are still standing.
Vermont Covered Bridges
It wouldn’t be a Vermont Fall roadtrip without a stop at some Vermont covered bridges. Even though I’m not a purist because technically, I love all bridges (not just historic ones), the covered bridges in Vermont definitely have my heart.
There’s something incredibly charming about witnessing a historic wooden covered bridge with beautiful architecture surrounded by lush landscapes and sometimes even over water. Fall is the perfect time to take a take a drive out to explore them.
Below, I’ll list some of my favorites. You can find them by typing them into Google Maps or GPS.
- Creamery Covered Bridge | West Battleboro, VT
Built in 1879, this lattice truss bridge is a picture perfect addition to any Instagram feed.
- Stoughton or Titcomb Covered Bridge | Weathersfield, VT
- Bowers Covered Bridge | West Windsor, VT
- Willard Covered Bridge | Hartland, VT
- Henry Covered Bridge | North Bennington, VT
Technically, it’s the oldest covered bridge in this area after having been given a complete makeover in 1989. Who among us hasn’t had a little work done? 😉 She’s still a beauty. Show her some love.
- Paper Mill Covered Bridge (also called Bennington Falls Covered Bridge) | North Bennington, VT
Built in 1889, this bridge crosses Wallomsac River.
- Silk Road Covered Bridge | Bennington, VT
Built in 1840, this is one of three bridges that lays over the Walloomsac River.
- Hermitage Covered Bridge | West Dover, VT
Technically, it’s barely a decade old but its vintage style begs to be noticed. One day it will be in the same league as Vermont’s historic covered bridges. 🙂
- Taftsville Covered Bridge | Woodstock, VT
Built in 1836, it spans the Ottauquechee River, you can park and walk down to the rivers’ edge for a great photo from a different perspective.
- Quechee Covered Bridge | Quechee, VT
- Dummerston Covered Bridge | Dummerston, VT
Built in 1870, this is the longest bridge in the state that is entirely in Vermont, at 280 feet.
Check out Rice Farm Road Bridge in Dummerston over West River. It’s another great spot to check out Fall foliage.
Fall Foliage Hikes in Vermont
Time to get out of the car and stretch those legs! What better way to admire Fall’s foliage in Vermont than with a beautiful hike? 🏞 Vermont isn’t called the “Mountain State” for nothin.
- Quechee Gorge (“Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon”) | Quechee, VT
- Quechee Gorge Bridge viewed from Route 4
- Quechee Gorge Trail (2.7 mi roundtrip)
- Shelburne Farm Hiking Trail | Shelburne, VT
Not just a farm, you can explore the 3,800 acre property and hike the trails while taking in all the foliage surroundings. Grab some cheese while you’re there. 😉
- Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park | Woodstock, VT
- Green Mountain National Forest | Wilmington, VT
- Seven Springs Garden & Sculpture Park | Manchester, VT
The property is perfect for a stroll while admiring the art which has a backdrop of Fall’s gorgeous colors all around.
After traveling the last 170+ days/ yr. the last several years, I can honestly tell you, there’s nothing like traveling prepared, even with a chronic illness.
That’s a Wrap!
I hope you got some ideas for a fun Vermont Fall foliage roadtrip! Where would you stop? Any favorite places in Vermont you’ve already been to? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you so much for being apart of this journey with me! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.
Until next time… keep it real.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like…
At Real Girl Review, we value truth and always strive for accuracy. Posts are updated regularly. If you read something that still doesn’t sound right, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary.