It won't be long before the leaves in Vermont will start their annual display of beautiful color. The best time to see the fall foliage in Vermont is typically around mid-September to late October, but sometimes you can start to see isolated trees with a little color change as early as mid- to late-August.
Beginning after Labor Day Weekend, Vermont.com will provide Vermont foliage reports from around the state on this page. In the meantime you can find some gorgeous Vermont Fall scenery in our Autumn Photo Gallery, thanks to local photographers and visitors to Vermont. But truly, you've got to be here to fully enjoy the leaves. And remember, it's never too early to plan a fall vacation in Vermont!
Once the foliage season has started, the "Current Conditions" map will provide 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 "Foliage Forecaster" map shows where and when the colors typically change in Vermont during a normal foliage season. Please note that this is only an approximation based on typical foliage color progression.
Beyond leaf peeping, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Vermont’s mountains, meadows and villages during the fall. For example, you can find fun things to do in Vermont with the Vermont.com Calendar of Events. Don't see your event? Feel free to suggest an event so we can add it to our Calendar.
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. To submit a report for your area, please send it to Foliage@Vermont.com, along with a photo of the location you are reporting from, and the date/time 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!
A great place to stop while you're Leaf Peeping in Southern Vermont, is the Dutton Berry Farm Stands. Well known for their Vermont grown produce including farmer-grown fruits and vegetables, cider, maple syrup, plants, and other unique local products, the Dutton Berry Farmstands offer a cornucopia of great-tasting Vermont produce and products. Located on Route 11/30 in Manchester, Route 30 in Newfane, and Route 9 in West Brattleboro.
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.
Vermont Department of Tourism