We are beginning to see some real color now. After a hot early September, temperatures are more appropriate to the season and nights are delightfully cool. Fall festivals are in full swing and there is so much to do. Visitors will enjoy the full Vermont experience at this time of year -- hiking or biking, fairs and festivals, shopping and sightseeing -- all with a backdrop of magnificent color. Here's what our Leaf Squad is reporting from around the state.
If you can't wait to see nature's magnificent display, head to our Autumn Photo Gallery for a glimpse into years past. And, remember – it’s never too early to plan a fall vacation. Fall is also Festival season in Vermont so there's lots to do while soaking in the beauty around you.
The "Current Conditions" map provides an approximate view of the current foliage color in Vermont, based on the reports we receive.
Foliage color generally starts to change in the higher, cooler areas of the Green Mountains, spreading down into the Lake Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley, and moving from north to south across the state. The exact timing of the color change varies from year to year, based on the weather.
The Vermont.com Foliage Reports are provided thanks to the Vermont Department of Tourism, and by volunteer members of our Leaf Squad from around the state. You can send us YOUR report with a photo of the location you are reporting from, and the date of when the photo was taken.
For more info on current conditions, call Vermont's Seasonal Hotline at (802)828-3239 ... and tell them Vermont.com sent you!
"Cooler nighttime temperatures at Smugglers' Notch have lead to some nice progress in this season's color spectrum. There's still lots of green that's yet to turn, but in the cooler pockets, change is certainly imminent. Next week's AppleFest from Wednesday, September 26 - Sunday, September 30 should feature a nice spread of color, tastes, and smells, setting a perfect autumn scene!"
"There still aren't very many pops of color here at Common Ground Center in Starksboro, but the greens are starting to look a little "rustier" and some of the leaves that change from green to brown (instead of yellow, orange, red) are losing their leaves. "
"Fresher, cooler air makes its way into the Killington region this week and into the weekend, bringing more color by the day. Patches of orange and yellow are now visible in the higher elevations of Route 4 toward Killington, and color is scattered throughout the valleys from the inn's tucked-away location on Woodward Road, named after one of its first farm homesteaders, General Woodward and his family. The Inn, built in 1849, is seeing its 170th year of turning leaves this year on Woodward Road. Here at the Inn, leaf-peeping and farm-fresh food are in our nature!"
"Feast your eyes on Ma Nature's transition into Autumn as the warm colors spread through the valley. Spend the day (or a few hours) at Bromley, Vermont's Summer Adventure and enjoy the wind flying through your face as you ride, slide and zip down the mountain, or take a relaxing chairlift ride up to the summit and experience breathtaking 360-degree views of the Green Mountains."
"As you can see, the apples are ripening on the trees and the leaves are beginning to turn. There's a crispness in the air in the mornings - a hint of cooloer weather just around the corner. Fall is here is Woodford at the top of the mountain!"
While you're enjoying the fall foliage, plan to take in one of Vermont's many Fall Festivals. For comprehensive listing, refer to our Fall Festivals page.
Best Bets: During the earliest part of foliage season, viewing is more about elevation than location. Your best chances for spotting color are to 'get high' or 'get low.' Higher elevations with panoramic views will allow you to spot smatterings of color in the valleys below. Alternatively, you can 'get low' - marshy areas near bodies of water typically offer the first areas of foliage change and also offer a wide variety of tree species which enlarges the palette of early season colors.
Helpful Tip: Plan Ahead!
Foliage season is a very popular time to visit Vermont, so if you want to stay in a particular place on a particular weekend, call in advance to make sure rooms are available. Having your lodging plans made in advance will avoid unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy your foliage season odyssey. Also too, it is a good idea to make dining reservations as early as possible in the day or even the night before.
When To Come For 'Peak' Foliage:
There is no one 'perfect' time to visit Vermont to see peak foliage. Color change begins in mid-September and runs through the first two to three weeks in October and varies by elevation, progressing from north to south and higher to lower elevations during the course of the season. As such, there are many 'peaks' so that you can make your plans based on the timing and location that works for you.
Science Behind the Leaves Changing Colors:
During the short summer months, broad-leafed trees such as maples, oaks and birches produce food to nourish themselves for growth. They do this through a process known as photosynthesis, using the energy of the sun to produce food. As the days grow shorter in early fall, the increasing periods of darkness trigger leafy plants to slow down photosynthesis and stop growing. A pigment in the leaves called chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color) is used in photosynthesis, so the slowing of this process means there is less green pigment. But leaves contain pigments other than green, called carotenoids and anthocyanins. Once the greens fade, carotenoids are revealed (yellow, orange, and brown colors), anthocyanins and are produced (red and purple colors).
Certain colors are characteristic of particular plant species. Red maples live up to their name by turning scarlet, while most sugar maples glow a warm orange. Aspen and birches display sunny yellows, while oak and beech leaves turn bronze and gold. Most of Vermont's fall foliage color is provided by red and sugar maples, two resilient tree species that constitute more than 50 percent of our forest's trees. You can find even more details on leaves and their changing colors, courtesy of the US Forest Service: Why Leaves Change Colors
"Top 25 Foliage Towns in New England" - Yankee Magazine (2010):
Find more info about Fall Foliage in New England,
from photographer Jeff "Foliage" Folger.