best places to see vermont fall foliage photo

10 Best Places to See Vermont Fall Foliage in 2023

Although finding amazing places to see Vermont fall foliage is pretty easy (it’s basically everywhere in the state), I want to share with you 10 locations where you can find some of the best views of it and that includes parks, hikes, towns, lakes and even an amazing train ride.

Out of all the states I’ve seen fall foliage in, Vermont is arguably one of the top 3 ones and if you’ve been wanting to plan a day or weekend trip to this state, I’ll also be listing when the best times to see fall foliage in each area is. 

Here are the 10 best places to see fall foliage in Vermont in 2023:

best places to see vermont fall foliage photo

  1. Lake Willoughby.
  2. Stowe.
  3. Waterbury Center State Park.
  4. Camel’s Hump Peak.
  5. Smugglers Notch.
  6. Lake Champlain.
  7. Jay Peak.
  8. Killington Peak.
  9. Lake Groton.
  10. Green Mountain Railroad.

Note: The peak times for fall foliage in these places differs because of it’s location. If you divide Vermont into a north and south section, then any places above that are in the northern part typically see peak fall foliage during the first 2 weeks of October, while the southern areas on the list typically see it during the latter half of October.

1) Lake Willoughby:

vermont fall foliage lake willoughby 01

Location and details:

Lake Willoughby is located in north central Vermont (30 minutes from Newport) and it’s one of the most scenic spots on the whole list for the best Vermont fall foliage spots. At the same time, because fall foliage in Vermont is so popular and it gets crowded in many places (some of which are listed here), Lake Willoughby is likely to be far less crowded because of it’s remote location in the state.

Besides seeing the fall colors here, there’s other areas to check out like the Willoughby State Forest and trails there (Wheeler Mountain is the most popular there) and you can also kayak on this lake as well (you can find rentals at the south beach region of Lake Willoghby).

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Lake Willoughby Vermont:

Typically the first 2 weeks of October. 

2) Stowe:

vermont fall foliage stowe 02

Location and details:

Stowe is located about 1 hour east from Burlington Vermont and it’s likely one of the most popular places in the state for fall foliage views. I’ve personally stayed in Stowe several times throughout most seasons including autumn and besides the views, the town itself is amazing with awesome restaurants, great hotels and hikes in the area. Just walking or driving through Stowe during fall season is an amazing experience too and I highly recommend it. Also a highly recommended peak and drive you can do is to Mount Mansfield which will give you more fall foliage views.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Stowe Vermont:

In my experience it’s usually the first or second week of October.

3) Waterbury Center State Park:

waterbury state park vermont fall foliage 05

Location and details:

Waterbury Center Park is actually pretty close to Stowe but what makes it an amazing destination to visit during fall foliage is the lake (it’s actually a reservoir) and the views itself. You can also go boating around this lake and though it isn’t as large as Lake Willoughby that I mentioned earlier, because of the amazing views and the fact that it’s already close to Stowe and the next destination on this list, you can easily visit it alongside the 2 other spots to get even more amazing views of the fall colors.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Waterbury Center State Park Vermont:

Same as with Stowe, the first 2 weeks of October is when I’d come here for fall foliage.

4) Camel’s Hump Trail:

camels hump park vermont fall foliage 06

Location and details:

This is a very popular hike in a place called Camel’s Hump State Park. Although it’s about 6 miles in and out and difficult (see Alltrails map details), if you do it in the fall, not only will the experience of hiking it be incredible for the views, but the actual peak of Camel’s Hump which you’ll reach at the end is where you’ll see one of the best overlooks in the state and just as well some of the best Vermont fall foliage in addition to that.  

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Camel’s Hump Peak Vermont:

Also the 1st or 2nd week in October. Don’t forget that Stowe and Waterbury Park are very close to this area.

5) Smugglers Notch:

vermont fall foliage smugglers notch area 03

Location and details:

Smugglers Notch is a famous driveway and hiking area right by Stowe and after going there at least 7 times (including during autumn) I cannot say enough good things about how amazing this place is and while I have an article on Smugglers Notch Vermont to check out, what I will say about this place in this post is that it’s a combination of an incredibly beautiful scenic drive, several great hikes to high Vermont peaks and of course the fall foliage in Smugglers Notch is 5 out of 5.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Smugglers Notch Vermont:

It usually varies between the first 2 weeks of October (I would aim to visit the area during the 1st week if possible).

6) Lake Champlain:

vermont fall foliage lake champlain 04

Location and details:

Lake Champlain is basically located all throughout the west end of Vermont and because its so long, there isn’t any one best spot on it that I can recommend to see fall foliage, so I’m just going to recommend you see as much of this area as possible during autumn season and here are some specific areas and roads where you can do that:

  1. Road 2 from the north western tip of Vermont to Sand Bar State Park.
  2. Causeway Park.
  3. Shelburne Farms.
  4. And I also have a post on Lake Champlain where I include more recommendations of spots to see as well as some in the New York park of it.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Lake Champlain Vermont:

For most of the recommended areas above, visit them during the first 2 weeks of October.

7) Jay’s Peak:

jays peak vermont fall foliage 07

Location and details:

Jay’s Peak is a popular mountain and ski resort in the northern middle end of Vermont and when it comes to fall foliage, it’s also a great spot to spend time at. There’s a bunch of great hikes like the Long Trail there (the greater forest there is called Jay’s State Forest) and ski lifts you can use to get to the top sections of the mountain. At the same time the resort in the area is a great place to stay at for a few days or just one if you plan to visit some of the other spots on this list.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Jay’s Peak Vermont:

I would recommend going the 1st week of October.

8) Killington Peak:

vermont fall foliage killington peak 08

Location and details:

Killington Peak is another popular ski spot in Vermont, but it’s further southwest of Jay’s Peak. But it doesn’t change that the fall foliage views here are equally incredible and worth checking out. Other than checking out the ski resort and area as a whole (there’s at least 3 lodges to stay at), there is a popular hike here known as the Bucklin Trail which takes you to the top of Killington Peak for a great overlook area, but that hike is over 7 miles long.

I will also add that further south and north of this area is the amazing Green Mountain National Forest which as a whole is highly recommended to check out not just in autumn but during the other seasons.

Best time to see peak fall foliage in Killington Peak Vermont:

Typically the 2nd or 3rd week of October.

9) Lake Elmore:

vermont fall foliage lake elmore 09

Location and details:

Lake Elmore is located not too far from Stowe and the Waterbury Park area (it’s east of those locations) and just like the other lake locations on this list, it’s worth coming to this spot to see fall foliage in Vermont but the great news is that it’s a pretty small area so it’s usually not that crowded during the peak fall season, but at the same time it’s easy to make a quick stop here so you can have more time to see the others in the area (in this case Stowe, Waterbury and Camel’s Hump).

Best time to see fall foliage in Lake Groton Vermont:

I would recommend coming here during the first 2 weeks of October.

10) Green Mountain Railroad:

vermont fall foliage green mountain railroad 01

Location and details:

Green Mountain Railroad is a scenic train ride that has several options for attractions, including a dinnfer train ride and also an option to see fall foliage in Vermont. The station area is located in Burlington Vermont and you can also get tickets for it online. The train attraction is is about 3 hours long and highly recommended for anyone who doesn’t want to drive anywhere or explore places outside too much, but rather just stay in a train, have good food options and enjoy the ride and fall views. It’s also one of many scenic train rides in the state.

Best time to see fall foliage on the Green Mountain Railroad:

I would recommend doing this train ride during the 1st or 2nd week in October.

Other questions about Vermont fall foliage:

What is the best time to see fall foliage in Vermont?

The 1st through 3rd week of October is usually the best to see fall foliage in Vermont.

Does Vermont have the best fall foliage?

Vermont is definitely one of the top states to see fall foliage but you should also consider visiting Maine or New Hampshire for that too.

Is Vermont or New Hampshire better for fall colors?

I personally believe both New Hampshire and Vermont have equally good fall colors to check out.

Here’s a Vermont fall foliage map of all the locations:

vermont fall foliage map new 01

You can also see a New England Fall foliage map here in 2023 or any year to see the peak times.

Related places to see amazing fall foliage in:

Things to keep in mind before you plan a Vermont fall foliage trip:

Keep in mind that tourism is massive during fall foliage in Vermont so if you wish to stay in hotels that are anywhere near the spots listed above, know that it will be pretty expensive, but if you’re ready to go then you’ll want to reserve them at least 2-3 months beforehand (this is the case every single year).

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  1. My wife and I were there from 10-8-23 thru 1-22-23. All over Vermont and New Hampshire. Not near as pretty this year. Something about the spring flooding caused some sore of leaf disease. Not sure. Upper New York State and Pocono mountains were much much prettier this year.

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