Vermont Fall Foliage Vacation Guide
Northern NE Fall Foliage Facts – FAQ’s
The Fall Foliage Season is the busiest time of the year for many Vermont inns, hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses. Find out about the “Magic of the Season” and discover how to find the perfect time to see the Autumn splendor. The state of Vermont is one of the nation’s prettiest places to view fall foliage. Vermont has an abundance of paved, easy to navigate, back roads and by-ways ideal for exploring and photographing Fall Foliage. Ask us about Vermont fall foliage vacations or share experiences. To feature your Vermont business, contact us.
Vermont Fall Foliage Vacation Guide
Timing your Autumn visit to view Vermont’s splendid fall foliage display at Peak Color is tricky, at best. There are a number of variables involved in determining when the colors will be the most vibrant in each region of the state. Following are some basic guidelines, as well as some general information about leaves and why they change color, will help pick the perfect time and place to Vermont Fall Foliage.
Visit Foliage Update for your daily fall foliage report, Fall Foliage Tips, and a Fall Foliage Picture Tour.
What makes leaves change color?
Chlorophyll is a pigment found in green plants. Chlorophyll cells use light energy to synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water – a process called photosynthesis which makes plants grow. As the days get shorter, the decrease in daylight reduces the energy needed for photosynthesis to occur. As the chlorophyll content in the leaves diminishes, other pigments become more dominant.
A yellow leaf indicates that the carotenoid pigment is dominant. Beech and Aspen leaves will be bright gold or yellow, while Oaks and Maples will turn red and purple due to sugar accumulating during photosynthesis due to the substance known as phloem becoming inactive.
When does the Vermont foliage season begin?
Due to the weather variables, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict exactly when the leaves will start turning color. The northern regions of Vermont will begin sooner than the southern regions, due to warm afternoons followed by cool evenings. However, an over-abundance of rain and wind or an extreme heat wave and drought, will effect the overall timing and vibrancy of Vermont’s foliage season.
As a rule, the earliest change can be found near the Canadian border towns of Newport and Derby in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, and St. Alban’s in the Northwestern region. In these regions and the areas surrounding Burlington, Montpelier and St. Johnsbury, the foliage season begins in mid-September and peaks by the last week of September running into the first week of October. The farther south you go, the later the change takes place, until the Southern region starts to turn by late September, usually peaking around the second week of October.
How long does the Vermont fall foliage season last?
The foliage season generally lasts about three weeks. Weather plays the key role in determining the length of the season. Warm, sunny days followed by cool nights are the best conditions for a long season. Once the leaves have changed, a hard rain or strong wind can end the season abruptly.
Can I be assured of lodging accommodations during fall foliage season?
The only sure way to guarantee that you have a place to stay is to start your search early. Many visitors reserve their next year’s accommodations as they depart during this year’s visit. Again, one cannot be sure of the exact color-change timing, so this method can be disappointing if your dates are too early or too late. It is best to start your inquiry in the Spring, asking for availability during the dates you have in mind. By mid-Summer, your innkeeper will have a little better feel of what to expect, and may be able to adjust the dates of your visit accordingly. Rest assured that by August first, most accommodations in all regions of Vermont will be reserved during the last week of September and first week of October, often through Columbus Day weekend.
One thing is for sure – nearly every decent hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast, vacation rental home, and even most Vermont campgrounds, will be sold out during fall foliage season. If you have not made advance reservations, you may still be able to acquire midweek accommodations – which some folks believe is the best time to visit due to the reduced traffic and waiting lines at attractions.
When is the best time to visit Vermont during foliage season?
Without a doubt, the best fall foliage experience will be found if you take your time, extend your stay to include midweek visits. Midweek lodging choices will be far greater, and small villages found along back roads offer quaint midweek venues such as church suppers and flea markets – the essence of Vermont country living. Restaurants and attractions stay open later during foliage season, so your activity options are not limited during midweek visits. Traffic, attractions, shopping, and sight seeing is much more enjoyable without the crowds.
Champlain Valley VT Fall Foliage Drives
Burlington, Middlebury, St. Albans, the Islands of NW Vermont
North Central VT Fall Foliage Drives
Montpelier, Barre, Randolph, foliage, Stowe, Mad River Valley
Northeast Kingdom VT Fall Foliage Drives
St. Johnsbury, Newport, Barton, Lyndonville, Burke, Jay, Island Pond
South Central VT Fall Foliage Drives
Rutland, White River Jct., Woodstock, Quechee, Brandon, Killington, Ludlow, Weston, Chester
Southern VT Fall Foliage Drives
Bennington, Brattleboro, Manchester, Arlington, Newfane, Mt. Snow area