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. Also be aware that fall is hunting season – take precautions when hiking.
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.
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.
Bald Mountain, Westmore: At 3315’, Bald Mountain is one of the biggest peaks in the Northeast Kingdom. The moderately difficult Long Pond Trail reaches the summit in about 2.1 miles. The fire tower found at the top will provide hikers with 360 views of the surrounding land. A cabin also found at the top is a great place to rest and eat lunch.
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.
Harmon Hill, Bennington: Though only 1.8 miles to the top of Harmon Hill, this section of the Long Trail is a thigh burner! It climbs a steep, rock staircase for about 0.7 miles before shallowing out in beautiful open woods, then traveling through ferny glades to the beautiful views of the open summit.
Putney Mountain, Putney: With only 0.6 mile to the summit and 147 feet of elevation change, this small mountain is an easy option for all hikers. Nice views of Stratton Mountain dominate the west while Monadnock can be seen in the east. It is a great place to view hawks during fall migration.
Appalachian Trail, Maine Junction to Norwich: This 44-mile section of the AT has many day hike options that provide rolling hills, open pasture, 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, this 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.