With a gas card, glass cleaner and your photographic gear of choice, experiencing the best New England fall foliage can take hours or days, depending on how much time you can spare for one of nature’s most stunning annual color shows.
Thanks to northern latitudes, varying altitudes and mixed deciduous forests, including scarlet maples, sugar maples and ash, birch, beech, dogwood, tulip, oak and sassafras trees, New England fall foliage is world-renowned. One of the best ways to enjoy the leaf show is to get out there and look around, but where and when do you start?
When to Embark on Your Trip
There are a few variables, but the leaves usually begin to change sometime in mid-September, reaching peak coloration for a few weeks between late September and mid-October. Cooler temperatures spark the change, starting earlier at more northern latitudes and higher altitudes. The leaves change first in western Maine, then northern Vermont and New Hampshire, usually by late September.
Peak coloring then moves into central Maine, northern New York, and southern Vermont and New Hampshire in early October. By mid-October, coastal Maine, Massachusetts, New York’s Finger Lakes and Catskill regions, northern Connecticut, central Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey are in full color.
New England fall foliage season ends in late October in the southern regions of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here are some of the best scenes to see:
VT-100, the Green Mountain Byway, and scenic VT-125 run through the Green Mountain National Forest. Maple trees abound in the Green Mountain State, and the contrast with Revolution-era construction is especially breathtaking.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains
NH-112, the Kancamagus Highway, runs through the White Mountains. It comprises 37 miles of winding mountain roads, covered bridges and forest views. Trailheads and zip lines get you right into the woods, so you can see things up close.
Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail
MA-2, the Mohawk Trail, offers a contrast of fall foliage, old construction and a bustling arts scene. MA-8A, out of Charlemont, offers picturesque views of the Bissell Covered Bridge against mountain forests and streams.
Connecticut River Valley
CT-9 runs through the Connecticut River Valley, where vistas meet old construction and river views. The authentic Essex Steam Train offers old-timey rail tours, and Connecticut River Expeditions offers riverside views.
The New England Lonely Planet Tour
For an epic New England fall foliage tour, check out Lonely Planet, which details a week of roads, bridges, mountains and experiences that covers four states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Some suggest taking the coast all the way back, traveling through Maine, Cape Cod and Rhode Island along the way.
Don’t forget to make the necessary preparations before leaving on a leaf-peeping excursion. Whether you’re planning on an afternoon or a week, keeping your car in shape will allow you to enjoy the view, instead of worrying you’ll break down along the way. Regular maintenance keeps everything working, and clean windows let you see everything nature has to offer.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on prepping for a New England fall foliage tour, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.