There is nothing better than timing your trip perfectly to capture Vermont foliage at its peak. It is a truly magical experience and unlike anything you will ever witness. If you aren’t a New Englander, then experiencing foliage in Vermont is probably at the top of your list. Leaf peepers come from all over the world to see the brilliant fall colors each year. The spread of oranges, yellows and reds across Vermont’s Green Mountains and along old country roads is glorious even for us locals.
Vermont foliage is unique because of the large number of sugar maples and protected forests in the state which turn bright brilliant colors each fall. Vermont is also known for its beautiful small towns, country stores, covered bridges, maple creemees, hiking and biking paths and trails, farms, restaurants and breweries. There is so much to do and explore in Vermont and fall foliage is one of the best times to do it!
When Is The Best Time To See Foliage In Vermont?
September through mid October is the most popular time to visit Vermont during fall foliage, but peak foliage depends on the year.
Based on rainfall, average temperatures and whether or not we had a dry or wet and hot or cool summer are all factors that affect when peak foliage happens and how vivid and bright it is. Usually peak foliage happens during the end of September-mid October. Some years truly pop and display epic mountain scapes and scenic views, it is always wonderful and gorgeous in Vermont in the fall, including the weather. The humidity from the summer has subsided, temperatures during the day range from 50-70 degrees, perfect for hiking and adventuring outdoors and the nights are cool and crisp, perfect for a fire and Vermont flannel or hoodie.
It is also important to know that peak foliage is not succinct across the state.
Oftentimes, the more south you are in Vermont the later peak foliage will be. The farther north, in places like Lake Champlain and the Northeast Kingdom, the earlier peak foliage will be. And some years, Northern Vermont has more epic foliage, while other years Southern Vermont’s colors are more bright and vivid. It’s truly mother nature’s display. In addition, leaves often change sooner at higher elevation as well. So if you are hiking Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield, you may want to plan for a trip earlier in the foliage season to see it reach peak color.
This Fall Foliage Forecaster from Vermont.com is a helpful foliage report tool to get a good idea of when leaves will be at their peak in order for you to plan your Vermont getaway. This forecaster provides a map of Vermont. You can click each region to see the predicted time for peak foliage. Remember this is not exact and in the end mother nature is in charge. This is a fairly accurate prediction but there is no way to predict the exact day the leaves will make their fabulous debut. Usually if you plan your travel within a week or so of the predicted peak foliage you will have a wonderful view of the leaves.
Also understand that the leaves do not hit peak instantly one day and immediately fall off the trees the next. It takes weeks and the transformation is miraculous and gorgeous! It’s a slow progression which means you will have a couple of weeks to enjoy it. Here is another forecaster map you can check for estimated peak foliage in Vermont!
There are so many things you can do to enjoy peak foliage while in Vermont!
Classic fall activities include apple picking, visiting general stores, going to corn mazes, hiking, biking, camping, visiting covered bridges and other historic landmarks. The opportunities are endless! Some of our favorite places to visit in Vermont during fall foliage are: Woodstock, Quechee, Killington, Manchester, Brattleboro, Bennington, The Northeast Kingdom, Burlington, Stowe, Lake Champlain and the Lake Champlain Islands. Check out our site for more ideas on what to do and where to visit during foliage season in Vermont!
Know that whether you plan your Vermont getaway perfectly with peak foliage or maybe you are off by a week or two, you will see gorgeous views and changing leaves regardless if you come during the September-October time frame. Vermont is always a beautiful place to visit and offers so much in each of its 4 seasons (or 5 if you count mud season). Beautiful stays in small towns, with historic covered bridges and old country stores– you will love every second of it! We hope you enjoy your foliage vacation and see some gorgeous displays of flora and fauna while leaf peeping in Vermont!