6 of the Best Fall Color Drives in New England

 6 of the Best Fall Color Drives in New England

If you're like many, a trip to New England might be in your plans for the upcoming fall season — a perfect time to review a list of the best fall color drives in New England. 

Sure, we've talked about “5 Awesome RV Destinations for Fall Color” and it did include Williamstown, Massachusetts. 

But we didn't want the other New England states to feel left out so we were interested when Trip Savvy put together a list of “Best Fall Foliage Drives in New England.” 

To make it easy, I put the list below (and for good measure, a bonus entry from New York). 

Check it out and please be sure to leave feedback in the comments below, especially tips for your RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers. 

New Hampshire's Best Fall Color Drive: The Kancamagus Highway

Some consider this the granddaddy of all New England fall drives. Start by heading to New Hampshire's White Mountains. Be prepared to tap your brakes often along Route 112—the Kancamagus Highway— but in exchange you’ll get 34 miles of amazing fall foliage views. The route offers scenic overlooks and trail heads throughout, so allow plenty of time to stop for photos and invigorating hikes around pretty ponds and waterfalls. The color season typically starts in late September and holds through the first three weeks of October.

An image of the Kancamagus Highway
Kancamagus Pass. Photo by Shikhar Gupta on Unsplash -one of the best fall color drives in New England

 

Massachusetts' Best Fall Color Drive: The Mohawk Trail

You won’t be disappointed with the stunning scenes that unfold as you navigate New England's first official scenic road: Route 2 in Massachusetts, aka the Mohawk Trail. For maximum color intake, start your leaf-peeping journey by driving to the summit of Mount Greylock, one of New England's best mountains to drive. Travel eastward through the Mohawk Trail region, and keep your eyes on the road at the famous hairpin turn. When you need a break, stop at the Shelburne Falls, where you can walk across the Bridge of Flowers and see the famous glacial potholes.

Connecticut's Best Fall Color Drive: State Route 169

State Route 169 starts in North Woodstock and travels south to Newent. Connecticut’s first National Scenic Byway connects picture-perfect towns in the still-rural northeast corner of the state, which is known as part of New England's “Last Green Valley.” The drive will take you past classic churches, orchards, stone walls, shops, fairgrounds, and nearly 200 homes built before 1855. That includes the pink-painted Roseland Cottage, which is open for tours June through mid-October.

 

a photo of one of the best fall color drives in New England near State Route 169)
Audubon Bafflin Sanctuary (near State Route 169), another of best fall color drives in New England

 

Maine's Best Fall Color Drive: The Road to Rangeley

RVers are recommended to start in Portland or Bethel to explore the mountains and lakes of western Maine during this pinnacle season of the year. On your way to Rangeley Lake State Park, take a short detour to visit Maine's most painted and photographed covered bridge, pan for gold in Coos Canyon, and marvel at the scenery from Height of Land, named one of the best drive-to spots for fall foliage views in all of New England. It’s reported that the sunsets here are so stunning in the fall, even locals can't help but pull over.

An image of Rangeley Lake
Rangeley Lake. Photo by Tom Henell on Unsplash, another one of the best fall color drives in New England

 

Rhode Island's Best Fall Color Drive: The Arcadia Management Area

Did you know that Rhode Island is actually two-thirds forested? That means plenty of leaf-peeping and less traffic that sometimes clogs popular scenic routes in the northern part of New England. One of the fall color drives in New England is to drive into Rhode from Connecticut on Route 165, turn right and follow Arcadia Road south through the largest state-owned forest: the Arcadia Management Area. Then, when you’re in Wyoming, Rhode Island, connect with Route 138 West to loop back to the Connecticut state line. Scenery includes serene ponds, stone walls, and woodlands painted with fall's distinct palette along this off-the-beaten-path drive.

Vermont's Best Fall Color Drive: Route 100

Vermont's Route 100 Scenic Byway cuts straight up the middle of the state, running 146 miles from the Massachusetts border to Canada. Drive the whole route, and you'll see leaves at various color stages as you change latitude and altitude. The road takes drivers alongside the Green Mountain National Forest and right through popular mountain towns like Killington, where RVers might want to stop and get a unique view of all the colors on a gondola ride. Keep in mind that nothing in Vermont is terribly far off this central highway, so you can detour and meander without worrying. One recommended must-top is the Vermont Country Store — right on Route 100 in Weston.

An image of the Vermont Country Store.
Vermont Country Store. Photo courtesy Vermont Attractions Association.

Bonus:

New York State's Best Fall Color Drive: The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway

Another one of our best fall color drives in New England is this 52-mile drive through New York State's storied mountains is an exhilarating way to check out fall colors. The designated byway sticks mostly to New York State Route 28 linking bucolic towns along the way. Get your Clark Griswold on at Mount Tremper, where you can visit the world's largest kaleidoscope: an attraction that is guaranteed to be colorful. Sports fans might want to extend their trip to Cooperstown, where the Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates America's game.

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6 of the Best Fall Color Drives in New England

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

  • My husband and I are wanting to do an October trip to the New England states this year. I just came across your top 5 scenic places to travel, but can you give me any information on the next places to stay in our RV while traveling this area?

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