Best Vermont Foliage Drives and Scenic Stops to Enjoy

Last Updated on November 8, 2019 by Ellen Christian

It’s almost one of my favorite times of the year – fall! Fall in Vermont is gorgeous because of the changing leaves. I’ve lived in the North East for most of my life, so the changing colors of the leaves are something I’m used to.  There are certain areas of Vermont that have a more stunning color display than others. They’re known for being the best Vermont foliage drives and are frequented by tourists. 

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Best Vermont Foliage Drives - Smugglers' Notch

Best Vermont Foliage Drives

What belongs on the list of the best Vermont foliage drives is a matter of opinion. Your choice will depend on whether you want to take a hike through the mountains or a long drive in the country. Many spots have places that tourists can stop and enjoy lunch or visit local attractions. Others have farm stands or country stores where you can sample local jellies, homemade bread, and pick up some maple syrup.

A calm lake surrounded by fall leaves

What is the best time to see foliage in Vermont?

The best time to see foliage in Vermont depends on the weather each year and what part of Vermont you want to visit. The leaves will change more quickly to the north than the south because they change based on the weather. It’s safe to say that the month of October is usually the time of year when the leaves are the most vibrant.

Where is the best foliage in New England?

Of course, I’m biased, but I tend to think Vermont has the best foliage drives. But, almost any New England state will have pretty foliage including New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.

a road curving through trees with orange leaves

Where should I stay in Vermont for fall foliage?

Smugglers’ Notch has a lot of places that you can stay while visiting and enjoying the foliage. Mount Mansfield is absolutely stunning during the fall. But, you can also stay at one of the spots near Lake Bomoseen or Lake Saint Catherine if you’d rather follow the Stone Valley Scenic Byway.

Best Vermont Foliage Drives and Scenic Stops to Enjoy

If you’re looking for Vermont scenic drives with covered bridges, you can follow Waitsfield to Smuggler’s Notch and continue through to see Jeffersonville, Montpelier, and then finish up again in Waitsfield. There are many covered bridges in this area that you can see. You can also stop to visit the Vermont Statehouse and Cabot Creamery. The best Vermont foliage drives should always include covered bridges. 

Best Vermont Foliage Drives and Scenic Stops to Enjoy

And, for those that are traveling by motorcycle, you’ll definitely want to include the Route 100 Vermont motorcycle tour. That will take you from Wilmington Vermont to Killington Vermont. The views are absolutely stunning.  You can travel the whole length of the state. Get the full details here.

Best Vermont Foliage Drives

List of best Vermont foliage drives

  • Smugglers’ Notch – Smugglers’ Notch is located in Lamoille County, Vermont. It separates Mount Mansfield which is the highest peak of the Green Mountains, from Spruce Peak and the Sterling Range. Smugglers used to use it to get illegal goods from Vermont into Canada.
  • The Green Mountain Byway – The Green Mountain Byway begins in Waterbury on Route 100 and continues north to Stowe.  Make sure you visit the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe while you’re there.
  • Crossroads of Vermont Byway – One of my favorite foliage drives is the Crossroads of Vermont Byway follows Route 4 from White River Junction to West Rutland. This Byway includes Quechee, Woodstock, Killington, and Mendon. If you’re near Proctor, make sure you visit the Vermont Marble Museum.
  • Stone Valley Scenic Byway – We’ve traveled this byway several times since it includes the town where I live. The Stone Valley Scenic Byway starts in Manchester on Route 30 and continues to Dorset, then Lake St. Catherine and finally to Castleton. There are many marble quarries to visit while you’re in this area.

Wilson Castle Vermont

Other places to visit

If you’re looking spots to visit while you’re in Vermont, I recommend Queeche Gorge, the Shelburne Museum, and Wilson Castle.  Be certain to stop by one of the small country stores you’ll find while traveling and walk across a covered bridge or two. Many covered bridges are closed to car traffic but most still let you walk across them.

Finally, here are a few Vermont fall activities for families you can enjoy while you’re visiting.

Have you ever been to Vermont during foliage season? Have you thought about snowboarding in Vermont?

8 thoughts on “Best Vermont Foliage Drives and Scenic Stops to Enjoy”

  1. I love living in Florida, but fall is the time of year when I always wish we had some color changes. New England has the best fall foliage in the country. 
  2. It took my a while to figure out what you meant be a 'drive'- but I take it it's a literal path or route you drive to view and enjoy the foliage. This is something I'd love to do when visiting Vermont. What's the best time this time of year to go for a drive like this?
    • Definitely, Jenna. They are loads of fun. The leaves are already changing here but I would say that October is probably the best time.

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