Our Top 5 Places to Spot Fall Foliage in Vermont
Vermont is known for many things: moose, maple syrup, agriculture, ice cream, skiing, forests, great beer, friendly people and of course, fleece necessities.
There is, however, one incredible phenomena that should not be forgotten: Fall foliage. There are few other places in the world that will provide the breathtaking sights Vermont offers during Autumn. Out-of-towners who come to visit and take in the spectacle are adoringly referred to as "leaf-peepers"!
We've made a top 5 list comprised of the places we love to view Vermont's Fall foliage as "locals" - that's right, you're getting the inside scoop straight from the source.
Before you go out on a hike to see the fall foliage in Vermont, be sure to stock up on these outdoor accessories:
Mount Philo - Charlotte, Vermont
Located in Charlotte Vermont, Mt. Philo State Park is the place to be during the foliage season. The only downside we know of is the fact that the secret is OUT! Mount Philo is a very family-friendly hike that gives you room and time to stop for pictures or admire the woods around you. Expect to pass some impressive and photo-worthy rock features along the way, too! The summit of Mt. Philo offers a stunning view that overlooks Lake Champlain in Shelburne. The deep blues of the lake's water contrast beautifully with the bright and rich colors of the autumnal forest around it. Expect to spend 45 minutes to an hour. A great choice for kids due to the easy-pace of the trail and the fact that it is not very challenging!
The Pinnacle Access Trail - Stowe, Vermont
The Pinnacle Trail is well traveled and loved by all Central Vermonters and visitors alike. Drawn to the breathtaking views offered by Worcester at the summit, the Pinnacle Trail will seem worth the work as you choose your own pace on the well-maintained path. Some people find it to be a great workout as they race to the top, while others take their time and make a morning or afternoon of it. The wooden teepee passed by between 30-45 minutes through your journey marks your halfway point - it's a great photo op. not to be missed! The very last portion of the hike requires some *very* mild "rock climbing" but it's more of a fun challenge then a death-defying feat. (dogs and kids will do just fine!)
Mount Elmore in Mount Elmore State Park
Looking for something a little slower paced? The Mt. Elmore hike could be the perfect choice. With few steep inclines and a wide, established trail, you'll find yourself in conversation all the way to the top if you so choose. The antiquated (but to code!) fire tower at the top has an easy ladder that you'll be eager to scale; from there, you can see for miles and take in every color that autumn in Vermont presents to you.
The Waterbury Reservoir, Waterbury, Vermont
The Waterbury Reservoir is a protected, state-managed site in the heart of Central Vermont. Many tourists find themselves in Waterbury, Vermont for other attractions: Ben & Jerry's, The Alchemist Brewery, and the famous Cider Mill (#trythedonuts). If you're one of those individuals looking to get the most out of your trip, be sure to head over to this beautiful oasis in the foothills of the valley. You'll find there are two entrances to the reservoir, one off of Rte. 2 and the other off of Rte 100. Both offer unique views and incredible opportunities for birding, but only Rte 2 has the waterfront access. The colors of fall foliage explode from the trees, with the autumnal palette reflecting down on the calm and pristine surface of the water below, it looks straight out of a magazine!
Sterling Pond Trail
Venture through what locals call "The Notch" to get to this most beautiful and majestic of hikes. Formally known as Smuggler's Notch, you'll have to first brave this drive on narrow, winding mountain roads before the second round of fun begins! Or take the Long Trail to get from point A to B without the drive (but expect to spend quite a bit more time doing so)! Tucked between Stowe and Jeffersonville (VT) is this pristine slice of nature; and there is only one way to appreciate it- heading up! Not only is the Sterling Pond Trail easy to hike at your own pace, it is full of beautiful natural features - including the rare sight of a pond on a mountain about a mile from the parking area below. With huge rocks to perch on and a stunning view from all angles, this just might be the ultimate place to soak in Fall. Take a beverage and a snack for the QT pond-side.
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