Brilliant shades of orange, red, yellow and gold blanket mountaintops set against quintessential covered bridges, church steeples, and quaint small villages. Vermont during the fall is a picturesque kind of beauty, you can’t truly understand until you have experienced it firsthand. Vermont’s beauty truly shines beginning in September when the gorgeous autumn hues begin to show themselves. A large number of native trees and mountainous terrain draw in numerous amounts of hikers and nature enthusiasts alike to this small, special state.
Hiking is the perfect way to appreciate the Green Mountain State and fully immerse yourself into the beautiful fall foliage. Not to mention the weather in Vermont state during fall is perfect for hiking, ranging from the 60s-70s, you can enjoy your hike without pesky bugs and sweaty temperatures. There are countless hiking trails in Vermont ranging from short and sweet to longer and more challenging. There are so many hikes in Vermont you truly can’t go wrong! Today we’re sharing a roundup of the best hiking trails in Vermont for every kind of leaf peeper and hiker.
We’ve included where to find the trails, approximately how long the hike is and how long you should expect it to take, as well as some of the exciting things you can expect to see along the way. Don’t worry we won’t give too much away, because one of the best parts of hiking is those sweet unexpected surprises on your journey. Enjoy and let us know your favorite hikes in Vermont in the comments below!
15 of the Best Hikes in Vermont
The Pogue and Mount Tom Trail (Woodstock, Vermont)
The Pogue and Mount Tom Trail is a great moderate family-friendly hiking option, a 4.2 mile loop that takes about 2 hours to complete. If you have little ones you can hike around the Pogue and skip the summit trail. The Pogue is gorgeous and during the fall you can capture the reflection of the fall colors mirrored in the pond. If you continue to the top you will witness stunning views of Woodstock’s quintessential town and the colorful forests that surround it. Dogs are welcome on leash.
Mount Ascutney Trail (Weathersfield, Vermont)
Mount Ascutney via Weathersfield Trail is a wonderful day hike option, but be weary it is rated as a difficult hike. This 5.7 mile hike takes about 4 hours roundtrip and includes a beautiful waterfall, lookout tower and summit with sweeping views of fall foliage. You will know you’ve reached one of several peaks when you reach the fire tower. This trail is popular and oftentimes the parking lot is full so we suggest getting an early start. Dogs are welcome on leash.
Mount Mansfield (Chittenden County, Vermont)
The highest mountain in Vermont, Mount Mansfield is a bucket list item for many experienced hikers. The Mount Mansfield Loop runs 7.3 miles and takes about 5 hours to complete. This challenging route is worth it for the gorgeous views of the Green Mountain range and Smuggler’s Notch especially during fall when they peak with brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. In fact, Mt. Mansfield and Camels Hump (see below) are two of three hikes in Vermont where you reach the small portion of alpine tundra that still exists in Vermont. The trail to the summit includes technical climbs with rock climbing and is therefore not recommended during inclement weather or for beginner hikers. Start early to avoid crowds and leashed dogs are welcome! Panoramic views at the top make the difficult climb worth it!
Camels Hump Trail (Waterbury, Vermont)
Camels Hump Trail is a favorite day hike for locals and visitors alike and it gets better every time you do it. Also one of the highest peaks in Vermont, the 360 degree sweeping views at the peak displaying colorful leaves is completely stunning and well worth the difficult climb. This trail runs 6 miles roundtrip and can be done in about 4 1/2 hours. The trail is rated difficult and has some steep, rocky bits that again would not be recommended in inclement weather. The parking lot gets busy here too, so an early start is recommended. Bring your dogs on leash!
Deer Leap Trail (Killington, Vermont)
Deer Leap Trail is a great moderate hike to do in the morning or afternoon, a 2.2 mile loop that takes about 1 hour. This trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail. This trail is very quick and easy but take care on wet, slippery rocks. At the summit you will get stunning views of Killington fall foliage but beware of the cliff drop with young children and dogs. Dogs are welcome on leash!
Mount Pisgah Trail North (Lake Willoughby, Westmore, Vermont)
Mount Pisgah is quite possibly one of the best day hikes in Vermont. This 4.1 mile hike takes about 3 hours and is rated moderate, but does have some steep portions, probably not suitable for young children. This is a highly trafficked trail during fall and therefore the trails are a bit weathered, but it has gorgeous views of Lake Willoughby and the vistas which make it well worth the hike. The dramatic contrast between beautiful Lake Willoughby and the mountain vistas are extraordinary. Leashed dogs are welcome!
Stowe Pinnacle Trail (Stowe, Vermont)
Stowe Pinnacle Trail is a 3.7 mile hike running about 3 hours. This hike is rated hard and has steep portions along the way. The stunning colorful views overlooking Camel’s Hump, Mount Mansfield, the Worcester Range and Sterling Range make this trail well worth the hike! Dogs are welcome on leash!
Lye Brook Falls Trail (Manchester, Vermont)
Lye Brook Falls Trail in the Green Mountain National Forest is a 4.4 mile loop that takes approximately 2 hours. This moderate shady hike ends with gorgeous views of one of Vermont’s largest waterfalls. There is some rocky terrain and a steep portion at the end, well worth the views at the summit! Leashed dogs are welcome.
Sterling Pond Trail (Jeffersonville, Vermont)
Sterling Pond Trail is a moderate 2.3 mile hike that takes about an 1 1/2 hours to complete. Although there aren’t sweeping views the gorgeous pond is a wonderful gift at the top, reflecting brilliant fall hues. This is another pond best to enjoy early in the morning before the crowds. Dogs are welcome on leash!
Haystack Mountain Trail (Wilmington, Vermont)
Haystack Mountain Trail is a moderate 5 mile hike taking an average of 2 1/2 hours round trip. This is a great family friendly hike and dogs are welcome on leash. Be careful of slippery rocks and enjoy the gorgeous colorful summit views!
Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop (Underhill Center, Vermont)
Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop is a difficult 5.9 mile loop that takes about 4 1/2 hours and includes spectacular 360 degree views of Vermont, the Adirondack Mountain range and the White Mountains. Beware of steep climbs and slippery rocks. Dogs are welcome on leash.
Equinox Mountain and Lookout Rock (Manchester, Vermont)
Equinox Mountain and Lookout Rock is a 6.3 mile hike running about 5 hours in southern Vermont. The highest mountain in the Taconic Mountain range, Equinox Mountain is rated a difficult hike for the steep and unrelenting terrain. Worth it for the colorful views of Manchester Village and sweeping mountain ranges. Dogs are welcome (off-leash in some areas).
Killington Peak via Bucklin Trail
Killington Peak via Bucklin Trail is a 7.2 mile loop running just under 5 hours long and rated hard. Beginning with a gradual incline and ending with steep and difficult terrain this hike will make you work for the spectacular seasonal views at the top! Dogs are welcome on leash.