By popular demand - these are our favorite leaf-peeping spots in New England!
Dylan and I have lived in New England for almost ten years!
And as avid travelers and hikers, we've discovered some all-time favorite spots for fall foliage.
This guide will walk you through our go-to leaf-peeping spots in New England in the fall - specifically, Vermont and New Hampshire, since those are the places we frequent most. It will offer tips on places to go, how to avoid crowds, and how to make sure you get the leaves in their peak beautiful colors!
So grab your flannel, your PSL, and some boots as we dive into New England's most beautiful season with these beautiful leaf-peeping spots!
Fall Leaf-Peeping in New England: Our Favorite Spots
- Fall Leaf-Peeping in New England: Our Favorite Spots
- Leaf Peeping & Fall Foliage Tracker
- New Hampshire
- Secret Favorite Spot!
- Final Thoughts on Leaf-Peeping Spots in New England
Leaf Peeping & Fall Foliage Tracker
Leaf peeping, as basic as it sounds, is very popular in this region. But you've got to time it right.
If you go too early, the leaves won't be as colorful.
If you go too late, they may already have fallen off the trees.
The only thing to consider is how to best avoid the crowds. Because there will be TONS of people.
People love the fall, and they flock to this area to enjoy the nostalgia and change of seasons.
Here's how to avoid it:
- Try to avoid really busy weekends, like Columbus Day/Indigenous People's Day. This is extremely busy and the trails are usually packed.
- Go early in the morning. The earlier the better- you'll have less people, better parking, and less traffic, too!
- Adventure off the beaten path and discover hikes that aren't as "popular". There's so much beauty in these regions!
- Go during a weekday, if possible. I know that isn't realistic for everyone, but it's honestly how you'll be able to enjoy it without throngs of people.
Vermont holds a special place in my heart. Dylan and his family are from here, we got engaged here, AND we got married here! Vermont is such a funky and cool place to visit, and the scenery is breathtaking year-round. Well, except March/April (mud season). You can skip it then!
Here are some of our go-to spots for leaf-peeping in Vermont:
Stowe & Mount Mansfield
Stowe is picturesque New England. It's an adorable town to explore, with festivals, restaurants, farmer's markets, and more. You can take the chairlift up to the top of Mount Mansfield, or hike it yourself (what we recommend and have done multiple times). Learn more about Stowe right here.
Scenic Drive Through Smuggler's Notch
Also in Stowe, take a scenic drive through Smuggler's Notch. There are lots of switchbacks but the foliage creates a canopy and is beautiful to behold. This is a very narrow pass through the Green Mountains that is a very enjoyable ride in the fall months! Learn more about Smuggler's Notch here.
Lake Champlain & Church Street
Burlington, how we love thee! Since Dylan grew up just outside of Burlington, this has been our go-to weekend getaway for almost a decade. Lots of fun stuff happens in Burlington. Church Street has restaurants, shops, and very nice colors in the fall. Grab a cider from Citizen Cider while you're there (gluten-free!)
For more information about Vermont, check out our favorite outdoor activities here.
For my gluten-free guide to Burlington & beyond, click here.
New Hampshire and the White Mountains are the places we most often visit for hiking and leaf-peeping. Since it's so easy to get to from the Boston area, we've spent a lot of time here. Some of our favorite hikes for spring/summer can be found in this post, but for now, I'll focus on where we go in the fall!
Scenic Drive on the Kancamagus
The Kancamagus (called the Kanc - (Kay-nk) for short) - is a 34-mile long scenic byway along Route 112 in New Hampshire. It's famous for numerous scenic overlooks, trailheads, and short hikes along the way. It's been designated as an American Scenic Byway too.
There's no real civilization along the Kanc - just forest. So make sure you have gas! This is a lovely scenic drive in the fall. More information on the Kanc can be found here.
In Woodstock, New Hampshire, you can find Russell Pond. It's also a campground! There's no hiking required, and you can park right next to the lake to explore and take in the scenery. Learn more about Russell Pond here.
Rocky Gorge Scenic Area
This is a spot just off the Kanc and with minimum walking involved that leads to a bridge, overlook, and small waterfall. You can climb along the rocks and admire the fall foliage peeking through. It's also a fun place to visit in the summer months! More information about Rocky Gorge can be found here.
Lonesome Lake is located in the Franconia Notch region of New Hampshire. While many people might be hiking the larger Canon Mountain nearby (we've done it before too), the hike to Lonesome Lake is one we do more frequently because it's much shorter! This is a 3-mile loop hike (steep in some parts) that brings you to Lonesome Lake. While it was a foggy day when I captured this photo, you can usually get a great view across the way of the Franconia Notch - Mount Lafayette, Lincoln, and Little Haystack. Learn more about it here.
Omni Mount Washington Resort Overlook
The Omni Mount Washington Resort is a historic hotel, aptly named for the peak of Mount Washington behind it. Located in Breton Woods off Route 302, you can park across the street in a small parking lot for views like this! We've also stayed at the Omni during the holidays which is a beautiful site. For more information about Omni, click here.
Up in the Crawford Notch State Park (farther north than Franconia) and not far from the Omni Resort is Silver Cascade, a gorgeous waterfall tucked into the mountains! It's really a gorgeous site to see the colors along the water and rocks. You can park across the street and walk over to explore this area. More information about this waterfall can be found here.
Secret Favorite Spot!
Tripoli Road to Waterville Valley
Take Exit 31 off Route 93 and follow the signs for Tripoli Road. This is closed in the winter months, but we discovered its beauty after hiking Mount Osceola years ago. The road will vary between paved and unpaved, but the trees are magical. You can take all the way through to Waterville Valley on the other side. When we were here this year, there was a light breeze blowing the leaves all around. It was magical!
Final Thoughts on Leaf-Peeping Spots in New England
There are LOADS of other spots for leaf-peeping in New England, but these are our go-to spots!
I hope you find something new to discover leaf-peeping in the fall season!
What are your favorite spots?
Let me know in the comments!