6 Vermont Scenic Drives for Your Fall Bucket List

September 10, 2018


Here in Stowe, we’re just a few short weeks away from all the vibrant colors fall has to offer. Green leaves will turn to bright orange, red and yellow hues. The road less traveled often pays off with some of the best fall foliage around as you discover hidden avenues and historic covered bridges along the way. We’ve put together a list of our favorite scenic drives, so you can see for yourself why Stowe is named one of the “Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New England” by Travel + Leisure and one of “The Best Places to See Fall Colors in the US” by Lonely Planet.

Walk, bike or drive one of our favorite scenic driving routes below for leaf peeping in the Stowe area.

Edson Hill and West Hill
Distance: 10.9 miles
Time: 24 minutes
This drive will loop around the Stowe’s village before traveling up Mountain Road – where you’ll have plenty of chances to stop, shop or grab a snack on the way to to Edson Hill. A little more than 10 miles, this drive will take you through farmland in the northwest corner of Stowe. Maple trees lining the road as you start up Edson hill and down West Hill are at their most beautiful in fall.
Bonus: You’ll also have spectacular views of the Worcester Mountains along this route.

Brush Hill
Distance: 8.4 miles
Time: 24 minutes
This short drive will take you through some beautiful backroads with lots of wildlife activity and spectacular fall foliage. Park the car for a moment, and take a short walk out to Moss Glen Falls for photos of foliage with a waterfall backdrop. This route is mainly on dirt road.

Craftsbury Common and Hazen’s Notch
Distance: 107 miles
2 hours, 45 minutes
One of the longer drives on our list, this drive will feature plenty of great views, a number of covered bridges, the quaint village of Craftsbury Common and a piece of the old Hazen Military Highway, which was built during the revolutionary war. As this trip is nearly three hours, we suggest packing a picnic lunch and enjoying an alfresco meal.

Jeffersonville, Johnson and Hyde Park
Distance: 41.3 miles
67 minutes
A scenic drive through Smugglers’ Notch is a Stowe bucket list item for fall.  Take in the fall scenery and stop at the Barnes Camp Boardwalk just before you reach the Notch. This short, ADA-accessible walk will offer an amazing view of Smugglers’ Notch and its fall colors. Continue through the Notch where, about a mile away from Jeffersonville, you will discover a side road with a covered bridge.

Stowe Hollow and Little River Dam
Distance: 30.9 miles
Time: 65 minutes
This beautiful drive will take you down Gold Brook Road, where you can see the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also known as Emily’s Bridge. This historic covered bridge is said to be haunted by the spirit of “Emily.” After the bridge, this drive will continue down Stowe Hollow Road, which will off plenty of opportunities for beautiful foliage viewing. We suggest you stop at the historic Grandview Farm, which is protected by Stowe Land Trust and features a iconic red barn that is more than 100 years old. This drive will take you past the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, where you can stop for a tour, or to stock up on your favorite flavors on the way back to Stowe. This route will also take you past the Cabot Farmers’ Store, where you can find samples and plenty of cheeses to choose from.

Stops Along the Green Mountain Byway
A foliage drive wouldn’t be complete without a trip along the Green Mountain Byway (GMB). The GMB travels through the towns of Stowe and Waterbury and provides stunning views and spectacular mountain backdrops. These scenic drives will take you through towns, farmland and by historic homes and sites.

Hyde Park: You can find parking and picnic space at the Johnson and Hyde Park municipal offices, but you can find foliage and beautiful vistas all along 100C. Safely pull over on one of the many shoulder stops for pictures.

Waterbury Center: Looking for another picnic spot? Hope Davey Park in Waterbury Center is a great spot for a light meal near some vibrant maples, which will be a bright red in a few weeks.
Bonus: Another fall-time favorite is a stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center. Their fresh-made cider donuts and fresh-pressed cider are a seasonal must-have.

Morrisville: Stop and take a short walk in Oxbow Park in Morrisville, where you can stroll to the river. This park is used as a start/stop for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT).
Bonus: For a unique day excursion, rent an e-bike from Lamoille Valley Bike Tours and cruise the LVRT for beautiful views of the Stowe valley.

Cambridge: From beautiful Cambridge, Vermont, you can find some yellow maples on Pratt road, between Route 108 and Upper Valley Road. You can also get a great view of Smugglers’ Notch from Edwards Road, at the crest near the solar array.

View our Stowe Scenic Drives Guide for these and more Stowe area routes.

Photo Courtesy: Green Mountain Byway and Mark Vandenberg