Around this time each year, we get several emails from our viewers asking “When should we come to Vermont to see the leaves change and where should we go?” Below are some tips to help answer these questions.
When to come: Vermont’s fall foliage season usually begins early to mid-September and extends through mid October. It varies somewhat from year to year. As such, there are many ‘peaks’ so that you can make your plans based on the timing and location that works for you.
Where to Go: Vermont’s foliage season typically begins in the north and at highest elevations, then progresses both south, and into lower elevations.
The Northeast Kingdom generally experiences the first foliage change. Lower elevations in southern Vermont, the Lake Champlain and Connecticut River Basins typically exhibit peak foliage conditions later than other parts of Vermont. Exceptions: Individual roadside trees, those in cities and towns, in swampy, disturbed or other areas where normal forest conditions do not exist may change earlier than those in nearby forests.
Why it Happens: As autumn approaches, a variety of factors cause changes in leaf pigment production. Green gives way to the varied hues, already in the leaves, which are seen during foliage season. Vermont’s foliage is always among the best because of a variety of other natural factors, including soil types, amount of forested land, topography and a broad range of tree species, with a large amount of maples.
How Best Enjoyed: Come prepared to tour and see all the sights. Foliage season prediction and reporting is, at best, an inexact science. The ‘best’ foliage can be found at many different times and places as the season progresses, and might be just around the corner. Time of day, lighting, weather conditions, all alter the view slightly. Foliage viewing is also subjective, so, take time to check around many corners and over the brow of several hills to find your favorite.