adventures
October is typically the best month for appreciating the autumn foliage throughout New England.

10 Great Fall Foliage Hikes

By Dan Mathers

New England is world famous for its spectacular fall foliage, and with so many scenic mountain peaks, rolling hills, and large stretches of forest, there’s no better place in the world to enjoy fall hiking.

If you plan to hit the trail and take in the colorful scenery this autumn, here are 10 amazing foliage hikes you’re sure to enjoy.

 

Brilliant foliage contrast with the blue sea and Jordan Pond at Acadia National Park. Credit Maine Office of Tourism

Cadillac Mountain, Maine

There’s something special about the way autumn’s reds, oranges, and yellows contrast with the deep blue of the Maine coast. That added color makes the region’s spectacular fall foliage even more breathtaking. While the entire region is gorgeous come fall, the views from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park are truly inspiring. Hike the North Ridge Trail 2.2 miles up to Cadillac’s 1,528-foot summit, where you’ll enjoy views in every direction.

 

Mount Moosilaukee, New Hampshire

At 4,802 feet, Mount Moosilaukee is a challenging climb, but its bare summit—offering panoramic views of Vermont to the west and the rest of the White Mountains to the east—make it worth the effort. Enjoy a 7.6-mile loop hike by taking Gorge Brook Trail to the summit then head down the Carriage Road to Snapper Trail until it rejoins Gorge Brook.

 

 

A stone monument and amazing views greet hikers at the summit of Mount Greylock in the Berkshires. Credit MA Office of Tourism

Mount Greylock, Massachusetts

The Bay State’s highest peak stands at 3,491 feet and features a large summit that overlooks the surrounding Berkshires and into southern Vermont and eastern New York. Several scenic trails crisscross the mountain, making it easy to create a loop hike if you want. The popular Hopper Trail up to the summit passes through old-growth forest and provides great views along the way. The entire hike is about five miles. At the summit, you can climb the Veterans War Memorial Tower and order food at Bascom Lodge.

 

Mount Hunger, Vermont

Located near Stowe, this 3,540-foot peak attracts its share of crowds. But there’s a reason Mount Hunger is so popular. Its rocky summit provides impressive views of the surrounding area, including nearby Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump. The Waterbury Trail offers a hike of about four miles round-trip and takes you past bubbling streams, a small waterfall, and a scenic meadow.

New Hampshire's White Mountains offer dozens of foliage-filled hiking trails.

Mount Carrigain, New Hampshire

Considered by many to offer the best views in the White Mountains, Mount Carrigain provides a lot of reward to those who summit its 4,682-foot peak. But if you want to tackle this mountain, be prepared for a challenging hike. Hiking up and back along the Signal Ridge Trail means a total of roughly 10 miles with more than 3,400 feet of elevation gain. Ah, but those views! The early part of the hike winds through hardwood forest and past streams and rivers. That’s followed by a scenic climb along the ridge before reaching the summit, where an observation tower provides sweeping views of the Whites.

 

Bear Mountain, Connecticut

Bear Mountain, in the far northwest corner of Connecticut, offers arguably the best views of fall foliage in the state. It’s located inside 276-acre Mount Riga State Park and is Connecticut’s tallest peak, standing at 2,316 feet. The roughly six-mile Bear Mountain Trail is a loop trail that features steady climbing and a few steep, rocky sections. From its summit, you’ll enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and a beautiful lake to the east.

The Berkshires draw thousands of foliage-seekers each season.

Tumbledown Mountain, Maine

Located in western Maine, Tumbledown Mountain stands at 3,054 feet and features several trails. The Tumbledown Mountain Trail is a popular 5.6-mile loop that takes you past a lovely alpine pond near the top. At the summit, enjoy panoramic views of the Whites to the west and surrounding mountains of western Maine.

 

Mount Tom, Rhode Island

Rhode Island might not have the majestic mountains found elsewhere in New England, but this tiny state is home to a surprising number of wonderful fall hiking destinations. Among them is Mount Tom in the Arcadia Management Area, which boasts more than 14,000 mostly wooded acres. At just 272 feet, Mount Tom is by far the smallest mountain on this list, but it’s high enough to provide beautiful views of the surrounding area. The hike up passes rock outcroppings, streams, and a meadow. At the summit, you can either retrace your steps for a round trip of just over three miles, or descend the other side and for a loop hike of roughly seven miles.

 

Middlesex Fells, Massachusetts

You don’t have to trudge deep into the mountains to find a wonderful fall hike. The 2,575-acre Middlesex Fells Reservation just north of Boston is one of the most beloved fall hikes in the region. The Skyline Trail follows the perimeter of the western Fells for roughly seven miles. The trail leads through beautiful woodlands and culminates in a spectacular view of the Boston skyline.

 

Mount Mansfield, Vermont

A hike up Mount Mansfield is always rewarding, but in the fall, the state’s highest peak is at its best. Several trails lead to the 4,393-foot summit and majestic views of the nearby mountains and colorful woodlands below. The Mount Mansfield Loop Trail totals a little over seven miles and is challenging, with a couple very technical sections, so it’s not for inexperienced hikers. But those who do climb it enjoy a long stretch above treeline—one of the only alpine environments in Vermont—and great views of the fall foliage.