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Plan Your Trip: Vermont Fall Foliage Peak Times and Best Viewing Spots

Updated: Jun 17

Unwind the Ultimate Vermont Fall Foliage Experience:

Vermont is renowned for its stunning landscapes, especially during the fall when the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors. Among the many ways to experience this natural beauty, the "Race to the Top of Vermont" stands out as a unique and exhilarating adventure. This annual event combines the thrill of a race with the awe-inspiring backdrop of Vermont's fall foliage. If you're looking for an unforgettable way to immerse yourself in Vermont's autumn splendor, this guide will take you through everything you need to know about the Race to the Top of Vermont.

When and Where - Timing Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit:

The Race to the Top of Vermont typically takes place in late August, which marks the beginning of the fall foliage season. While the race itself might not coincide with the peak foliage, it's an excellent time to visit as the leaves begin their transformation. For the best foliage views, plan to extend your trip into mid-September to early October.

Duration of the Foliage Season:

Vermont's fall foliage season lasts for several weeks, with the peak usually occurring from late September to early October. The timing can vary depending on the weather and elevation, so staying flexible with your travel dates can help you catch the best views.

Factors Affecting Foliage Timing:

Weather patterns, such as temperature and rainfall, significantly impact the timing and intensity of fall colors. Higher elevations, like those found in the Green Mountains, tend to change color earlier than lower-lying areas. Keeping an eye on foliage reports and updates can help you plan your trip more effectively.

The Race to the Top - An Unforgettable Experience:

The Route and Challenge:

The Race to the Top of Vermont takes participants up the scenic Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. This 4.3-mile course ascends over 2,500 feet, offering breathtaking views and a challenging climb. Whether you're an experienced runner, a casual hiker, or a mountain biker, this race provides an opportunity to push your limits and enjoy Vermont's natural beauty.

Who Can Participate?

This race welcomes participants of all ages and skill levels. You can choose to run, hike, or bike your way to the summit, making it accessible to both competitive athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Families and groups often participate together, making it a memorable event for everyone involved.

What to Expect?

As you ascend Mount Mansfield, you'll be surrounded by the early signs of fall foliage. The trail offers varying terrain, from gravel paths to rocky sections, providing both challenges and rewards. Upon reaching the summit, you'll be greeted with panoramic views of Vermont's rolling hills, vibrant forests, and the distant Adirondacks.

Exploring Vermont's Fall Foliage:

Popular Destinations:

While the race itself is a highlight, Vermont offers numerous destinations to explore during the fall. Stowe, known for its charming village and stunning views, is a must-visit. Woodstock, with its quaint streets and covered bridges, offers a picturesque setting. The Green Mountain Byway and Smugglers' Notch provide scenic drives that showcase the best of Vermont's foliage.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations:

For those seeking quieter spots, the Northeast Kingdom and Mad River Valley offer breathtaking landscapes with fewer crowds. These areas boast pristine lakes, winding rivers, and extensive hiking trails, making them perfect for a peaceful foliage experience.

Scenic Drives and Byways:

Vermont is renowned for its scenic drives, and fall is the perfect time to explore them. Route 100, running through the heart of the Green Mountains, offers stunning views at every turn. Route 108, known as Smugglers' Notch, provides dramatic cliffs and vibrant foliage. Route 9, also known as the Molly Stark Byway, winds through historic towns and scenic vistas.

Activities and Experiences:

Hiking Trails:

Vermont's fall foliage is best experienced up close, and hiking is a fantastic way to do so. Mount Mansfield, the race's setting, offers various trails with different difficulty levels. Camel's Hump and the Long Trail provide additional options for hikers seeking adventure and stunning views.

Outdoor Adventures:

Beyond hiking, Vermont offers a range of outdoor activities. Biking through the colorful countryside, kayaking on serene lakes, and exploring hidden waterfalls are just a few ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty. These activities allow you to experience the foliage from different perspectives.

Photography Tips and Spots:

Fall foliage presents incredible photography opportunities. Capture the vibrant colors with tips like shooting during the golden hour, using polarizing filters, and finding reflections in lakes and rivers. Popular spots like Lake Willoughby, Jenne Farm, and Sleepy Hollow Farm offer postcard-perfect scenes.

Local Culture and Events:

Fall Festivals:

Vermont's fall festivals add a cultural dimension to your foliage adventure. The Stowe Foliage Arts Festival features local crafts, food, and entertainment. The Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival offers quirky fun with pumpkin launching contests and family activities.

Farmers Markets and Harvest Activities:

Autumn is harvest season, and Vermont's farmers markets are brimming with fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local delicacies. Apple picking, hayrides, and corn mazes are popular activities that connect you with the region's agricultural heritage.

Local Food and Drink:

Savoring local flavors is a highlight of any trip to Vermont. Enjoy crisp apples, fresh cider, and homemade pies from local orchards. Visit craft breweries and cideries to sample unique beverages. Farm-to-table dining experiences provide delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients.

Lodging and Accommodations:

Cozy Inns and Bed & Breakfasts:

Vermont offers a range of lodging options, from charming inns to cozy bed & breakfasts. These accommodations often feature rustic decor, fireplaces, and scenic views, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Campgrounds and Cabins:

For a more immersive experience, consider staying at one of Vermont's campgrounds or renting a cabin. Fall nights can be chilly, but the crisp air and star-filled skies make it a memorable adventure.

Luxury Resorts and Hotels:

If you prefer a touch of luxury, Vermont's resorts and hotels offer top-notch amenities and stunning locations. Enjoy spa treatments, gourmet dining, and comfortable accommodations while surrounded by the beauty of fall foliage. And if you're looking for the perfect place to stay in Stowe, consider the properties managed by Atlas Vacations.

We take great pleasure in our attention to detail and dedication to excellence at Atlas Vacations, a property management company in Vermont. Our services are customized to each property owner's unique requirements, guaranteeing that every facet of property management is carried out with the highest care and expertise. For unmatched service and knowledge in Vermont and Santa Barbara, pick Atlas Vacations.

Travel Tips and Recommendations:

Preparing for the Trip:

To make the most of your Vermont foliage adventure, pack essentials like warm clothing, comfortable shoes, and a camera. Check weather forecasts and foliage reports to plan your activities. Booking accommodations in advance is recommended, as fall is a popular season.

Safety Considerations:

Safety is paramount when exploring Vermont's outdoors. Stay on marked trails, carry a map, and let someone know your plans. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and carry plenty of water and snacks.

Environmental Impact and Responsible Tourism:

Respecting the environment ensures that Vermont's natural beauty remains pristine for future generations. Stick to established trails, avoid picking plants, and carry out all trash. Support local businesses and eco-friendly practices to contribute positively to the region.

Embrace Vermont Fall Foliage with Atlas Vacation:

The Race to the Top of Vermont is more than just a race; it's an unforgettable journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes in New England. Whether you're participating in the race or simply exploring the region, Vermont's fall foliage offers a stunning and memorable experience. From scenic drives and outdoor adventures to local festivals and cozy accommodations, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Plan your trip, embrace the beauty of autumn, and create lasting memories in the heart of Vermont. For a seamless and luxurious stay, remember to consider Atlas Vacation Vacations Rentals and Property Managers in Vermont.


1: When is the best time to visit Vermont for fall foliage? 

A: The best time to visit Vermont for fall foliage is from mid-September to early October, with the peak typically occurring in late September.

2: What should I expect during the Race to the Top of Vermont?

 A: Participants can expect a challenging 4.3-mile course up Mount Mansfield, offering stunning views of early fall foliage and varying terrain, including gravel paths and rocky sections.

3: Who can participate in the Race to the Top of Vermont? 

A: The race is open to participants of all ages and skill levels. You can choose to run, hike, or bike your way to the summit, making it accessible to both competitive athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

4: What are some popular destinations to explore Vermont's fall foliage? 

A: Popular destinations include Stowe, Woodstock, the Green Mountain Byway, and Smugglers' Notch, each offering picturesque views and unique experiences.

5: What activities can I do in Vermont to enjoy the fall foliage? 

A: Enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and exploring scenic drives. Popular hiking trails include Mount Mansfield, Camel's Hump, and the Long Trail. Don't miss out on local fall festivals, farmers markets, and photography opportunities.

6: What makes Atlas Vacation Properties unique for staying in Stowe, Vermont? 

A: Atlas Vacation Properties prides itself on attention to detail and a commitment to excellence. Our tailored services meet the specific needs of each property owner, ensuring every aspect of property management is handled with utmost care and professionalism.

7: Where else does Atlas Vacation Properties offer services besides Stowe, Vermont? 

A: In addition to Stowe, Vermont, Atlas Vacation Properties also provides exceptional property management services in Santa Barbara, offering unparalleled service and expertise in both locations.

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