fall foliage in Vermont

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Burlington in the Fall: The Best Ways to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

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The Green Mountain State is known for its lush forests, rolling hills, and scenic lakes. During fall foliage season, Vermont’s landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, making it one of the most beautiful places to visit in October. 

The sugar maple—the Vermont state tree—is known for its beauty in the fall. As forests cover 70 percent of Vermont, Vermont has the country’s highest concentration of maple trees. That means Vermont has the best fall foliage you’ll find anywhere. 

Fall colors start in the higher elevations and northeastern Vermont in late September and emerge in the lower hills and valleys in October. In Burlington and across Northwestern Vermont, fall foliage lasts well into October, making the area a perfect destination.

Places to Visit in the Burlington Area for Fall Foliage

While you’re visiting Vermont in the fall, soak up the foliage on a walk in the 65-acre Centennial Woods Natural Area in Burlington or on the scenic Burlington Bike Path (bike rentals are available at Local Motion at the Burlington Waterfront). 

Peddle north to the 3.5-mile Colchester Causeway, a former rail line on Lake Champlain that opened in 1901 and connected the communities of Colchester and South Hero. Passenger rail ended in 1955, and the last freight train ran in 1961. Today, thousands of people walk or bike the marble-edged Causeway every year. 

If you want to explore outside Burlington, hike the 968-foot Mount Philo in Charlotte for an exceptional view of the Champlain Valley, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondack Mountains. 

Nearby Shelburne Farms, located on Lake Champlain in Shelburne, offers 1,400 acres of pastures, trails, gardens, and historic buildings to explore. The farm is open to visitors for the season until Oct. 22, 2023.

Best Fall Foliage Scenic Drives

Scenic drives are another popular activity during Vermont’s fall foliage season. Route 100—about 20 minutes from Burlington via Exit 10 (Waterbury/Stowe) off Interstate 89—is Vermont’s most storied scenic drive featuring scenic views, farms, restaurants, shops, and classic New England villages. 

Head south on Route 100 to the Mad River Valley towns of Waitsfield, Fayston, and Warren and head up Route 17 to the scenic, winding Appalachian Gap for magnificent views. If you want to explore the outdoors, drive up Lincoln Gap Road, park at the road’s summit and hike Mount Abraham or to the more forgiving Sunset Ledge.

If you decide to follow Route 100 north toward Stowe, drive the legendary Notch road on Route 108, park your car, and hike to Sterling Pond, the highest trout pond in the state. 

To find events and activities in Burlington and beyond, visit helloburlingtonvt.com or vermontvacation.com.

UVM presents the 33rd Annual Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference. This year the conference will be held on October 16-18, 2023, and will focus on the diverse legal issues impacting all aspects of higher education.  

Learn more about the conference and register.