Top 5 Top of Vermont Fall Foliage Spots

The most vivid Vermont Fall Foliage colors are always found at the top of Vermont, where the mixture of oranges, reds, yellows and golds can overwhelm the eye. If you have your heart set on Vermont leaf peeping, you need to be here.

Traditionally, the last two weeks of September and the first 10-12 days of October are when peak foliage arrives here in the Montgomery/Jay Peak area. If you’re planning a visit, Montgomery offers a great base of operations, since you can quickly drive from the area’s highest peaks (Jay, Belvedere Mountain, Mount Mansfield), and lower elevations where the color peaks come much later.

Here’s our pick for the top 5 spots to view norther Vermont Fall Foliage, all conveniently less than 45 minutes from our door at the Phineas Swann:

Vermont Fall Foliage at Belvedere Fire Tower

#5: Belvedere Fire Tower/Long Trail

This one requires a little bit of a hike, but the vista is worth it. Start at the Long Trail trailhead on VT-118 between Montgomery and Eden. It’s a 2.2-mile straight climb up to the top of the mountain. When you get there, you’ll find a 1940s fire tower with almost 100 steps. Your legs may already feel like rubber, but make the effort. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able on a clear day to see almost 90 miles to the north, east and south, with a panorama of colors stretching into Quebec to the north, and New Hampshire to the east.

Vermont Fall Foliage at Smugglers Notch near the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn

#4: Mount Mansfield/Smugglers Notch

The tallest mountain in the state offers an amazing scene for color-lovers. If hiking isn’t your thing, then drive the VT-108 highway between Jeffersonville and Stowe.

Vermont Fall Foliage at Belvedere Pond near the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn

#3: Belvedere Pond:

Likewise, if climbing to the top of Belvedere Mountain (see #5) doesn’t appeal to you, then stop a mile short of the trailhead at Belvedere Pond. Surrounded by mountains small and large, the pond serves as a reflecting pool, allowing you to see every red and orange leaf in duplicate.

Vermont Fall Foliage at Jay Peak Resort near the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn

#2: Jay Peak

Another easy way to see Vermont Fall Foliage from above. Take the state’s only tram to the top of Jay Peak. The tram runs every hour on the hour during the fall months, allowing you to gently watch as the panorama of colors reveals itself under you. Once at the top, you’ll be able to look 100 miles in every direction on a clear day. To the west, you’ll see trees and farmland stretching all the way to Lake Champlain. To the South and East you’ll see the Green Mountains range, and all its colors. And to the north, you’ll see Quebec, and see where the Green Mountains slowly peter out. You can even see all the way to Montreal on a very clear day.

Vermont Fall Foliage at Hazen's Notch near the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn

#1: Hazen’s Notch

This is our favorite drive, and one we recommend to anyone staying with us to view the Fall Foliage.

Vermont Highway 58 runs from I-91 to Montgomery, and its last six miles are windy dirt road. But it’s that last six miles that are it’s best. During fall days you’re driving through a canopy of color, and tunnel of reds, crimsons, oranges brighter than the boldest pumpkin, and yellows to light your way.

Also along the way, you’ll catch glimpses of the notch itself, of Big Jay and Jay Peak, and the colors spattered along their sides. It’s a drive not to be missed.

Bonus Spots

Don’t forget Montgomery is home to six covered bridges, and the fall colors make the perfect frame around each of them. If you’re looking for great views, or great snapshots of fall colors, make sure to get a covered bridge map from us and include them in your leaf-peeping.


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