Please plan ahead and prepare when going for any hike. We strongly suggest that hikers carry a map and guidebook when heading out to the trails. Guidebooks and maps are available for purchase at GMC’s Visitor Center, GMC’s online store, and in most Vermont bookstores and outdoor gear retailers.
Below are some suggested fall hikes around Vermont, all of which can be found in GMC guidebooks. GMC’s Day Hiker’s Guide describes more than 150 trails to mountains, scenic ponds and waterfalls, and nature trails in the Green Mountains and beyond. In the Long Trail Guide, you will find detailed maps and descriptions of the Long Trail System and the Appalachian Trail in Vermont, suggested day hikes, shelter descriptions, and public campgrounds near the trail. The Walker’s Guide to Vermont includes shorter walks and leisurely rambles around the state. We also now have a list of more accessible trails in Vermont.
Butler Lodge, Underhill: To escape the crowds of leaf peepers going to the summit of Mt. Mansfield, head over to Butler Lodge. A beautiful but difficult 4.4-mile loop can be made by connecting Butler Lodge Trail, Rock Garden, Maple Ridge, and the Frost Trail. The loop provides a variety of terrain with many amazing views, exciting rock scrambles and caves, interesting birch forests, and of course, Butler Lodge, one of the overnight sites found along the Long Trail.
Mt. Elmore, Morrisville: As one of the smaller peaks in the Worcester Range, Mt. Elmore is a great beginner hike. The fire tower at the top provides the perfect place to view the fall foliage found within the Worcester Range. Now found on our Mt. Mansfield and Worcester Range Map.
Kingdom Heritage Trail System, Island Pond: This 20-mile trail system in the Northeast Kingdom connects Gore, Middle, and Bluff Mountains. Located only 5 miles from the Canadian border, this is one the most remote trail systems in Vermont. Along with peace and quiet, you can find many lookouts to enjoy the fall foliage. There are moderate options to summit each mountain, or you can continue on the connecting trails for longer day hike outings. Our new NEK Map with this trail system is now available.
Stratton Pond, Stratton: For those looking for less elevation gain, ponds are another great way to view foliage. The Stratton Pond Trail is a nearly flat woods walk leading 3.7 miles to the largest pond on the Long Trail. There is a beautiful shelter to eat lunch at while the pond provides beautiful scenery.
Bromley Mountain via the LT: The Long Trail gradually ascends Bromley Mountain, crossing Bromley Brook and passing Bromley Shelter, to the summit where there are sweeping views in most directions. At the summit, the Bromley Ski Patrol Hut is open for hiker use in summer and fall and a moldering privy is provided and maintained by the Manchester Section of the Green Mountain Club.
Porcupine Lookout, Woodford: This clifftop forest opening on the Long Trail provides extensive views of the rugged Woodford Plateau to the east. Follow the Long Trail north for 4.4 miles that gradually climb past Melville Nauheim Shelter, cross a power line that affords views from Maple Hill which then crosses Hell Hollow Brook, and finally climb steadily to a nearly level ridge leading to the lookout.
Appalachian Trail, Maine Junction to Norwich: This 44-mile section of the AT has many day hike options that provide rolling hills, open pastures, views, and shelters. Make your day as long or as short as you want. Specific suggestions can be found in our Day Hiker’s Guide Book.
Paradise Park, Windsor: Truly a piece of paradise found within the town of Windsor, the park offers miles of easy trails to follow. Ponds, streams, and wetlands contribute to the park’s diverse ecosystem. With Mount Ascutney as the backdrop, the fall colors reflecting off Lake Runnemede provide a beautiful setting.
Mt. Peg, Woodstock: This short, easy hike is great for families with small children. The summit is reached in under a mile, but provides a wonderful view of the town of Woodstock. The picnic area found at the top is a great place to rest and enjoy the fall foliage.
Great Cliff of Mount Horrid, Rochester: With the cliff closed March 15 – August 1 due to Peregrine nesting, fall is a great time to hike to the Great Cliff of Mount Horrid. Although a short climb, the trail is steep and demanding, but hikers are rewarded with amazing views from the top.
Jerusalem Trail, Jerusalem: Another great trail to avoid the fall foliage crowds, but still gain some elevation! The Jerusalem Trail ascends 2.4 miles to the Long Trail, passing through a large maple grove where fall colors should be abundant. Once you reach the Long Trail, hikers can then decide to head north to Stark’s Nest, or south to Mount Ellen. Either way, views will be found.
Shaw Mountain, Benson: Although this small mountain has a wooded summit, the Shaw Mountain Natural Area is known to have diverse plant and animal life. The easy 2.4-mile loop brings hikers through a forest filled with maple, ash, hickory, and oak that burst with color during peak foliage.