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Happy fall! The leaves have officially begun to change here in New England. Although it’s been fall for me since September 1 (that’s when I got my first pumpkin spice latte and decorated). I recently spent some time up north in New Hampshire “leaf peeping” and hiking, and was motivated to write this post to share some of this inspiration with you all. The following places are the perfect stops for a New England fall road trip.
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by the Lumen Nature Retreat. Lumen recently hosted my family and I for a fall-themed overnight in one of their cabins on-site. This was the perfect night away in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so continue reading to learn more about planning your own “glamping” trip. Thank you to Lumen for working with me. As always, all opinions written here are my own.
New England Fall Road Trip: New Hampshire
Dixville Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Located in Colebrook, New Hampshire about four hours north of Boston, Dixville Notch State Park is a New England fall road trip must. Since this place is located so far north, the leaves here peak earlier than the rest of the state — like mid-September! The scenery is incredible. And the drive up isn’t too bad either. You basically take Route 3 north the entire way, which is one of the most scenic drives in New Hampshire (it goes right through Franconia Notch).
I also recommend hiking Table Rock. This hike is about 1.5-2 miles round trip, but is very steep. The hike down is a breeze, but the way up is hard on the legs! I had to stop several times to catch our breath, but the view made it all worth it. Table Rock is a giant slab of granite that sticks out over a ravine overlooking the Balsams Resort. It’s pretty epic. But, be careful not to get too close…there’s a 700 foot vertical drop!
Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
If you live in the United States (or anywhere really) you need to plan a trip to Franconia Notch ASAP. Located on Route 3 in central New Hampshire, Franconia Notch State Park is the perfect destination for year-round activities. Some friends and I went camping here a few years ago and stayed at Lafayette Place Campground. I recommend this spot if you’re looking to tent camp in the area.
In terms of attractions, the number one thing to see here is definitely the Flume Gorge. The two-mile loop will bring you to several attractions including the flume itself, a few waterfalls, and two covered bridges. It’s amazing for leaf peeping and should definitely be added to your New England fall road trip itinerary!
I also recommend seeing The Basin, a natural whirlpool, and doing the Baby Flume hike, which is located right next to it. You can also do a three mile round-trip hike to Lonesome Lake to get some good views of Franconia Notch. That’s the best way to see the leaves in this area — by getting on the trails!
There’s also nearby Cannon Mountain, one of the most photographed locations in the area during this time of year! For the best views, you’ll want to hike Artist Bluff Trail.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
The Kancamagus Highway, also known as Route 112 in New Hampshire, is my #1 recommendation for a New England fall road trip. This highway runs laterally across central New Hampshire from the Lincoln area to Conway, NH. It’s known as one of the best places to go leaf peeping in New England and the world!
I got on the highway near Loon Mountain and rode it for about 20-30 minutes towards Conway. I didn’t drive the whole way because it takes 50 minutes, but I saw so much in just the 1/3 I did!
First, there’s several overlooks on this road. The perfect way to go leaf peeping if hiking isn’t your thing. Closer to the Lincoln, NH end of the highway, I recommend stopping at Otter Rocks and the Lincoln Woods Trail. Otter Rocks is a fun portion of the river to hangout in. The foliage here was really good and there were plenty of rocks and fallen trees to explore.
Lincoln Woods Trail is a 10-mile hike, however, the parking lot of the trail head offers some of the best views. Here you’ll find a scenic suspension bridge with tons of colorful foliage as the perfect backdrop. I spent a lot of time here walking across the two bridges and just admiring the views. Whether you’re a travel blogger or just a travel lover, this is the perfect spot to grab some photos on your New England fall road trip.
Pro-tip: This whole area is super close to the Lumen Nature Resort! Stay tuned until the end of this post for an accommodation recommendation for the area.
New England Fall Road Trip: Vermont
It’s common to spend a winter weekend in Stowe, but I think fall is the perfect time to visit this area. My friend Chelsea and I recently took a day trip to Stowe and had a fall-filled day! I recommend stopping at Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Stowe on your way into town. Chelsea and I also stopped at the Von Trapp Family Lodge, which was STUNNING! This hotel is owned by the Sound of Music family, and the grounds here are incredible.
If you’re looking for a classic overlook in Stowe, I recommend stopping in the Salon Salon parking lot. Check out the photos below of a picture-perfect fall view! Chelsea and I also swung by the Ben & Jerry’s factory, a Waterbury-must before making our way to Woodstock, VT. Woodstock is one of the most popular stops on any New England fall road trip itinerary, so keep reading for more information!
Woodstock is the most picturesque Vermont town. As mentioned in my New England bucket list, here you’ll find the stunning Quechee Gorge and the charming downtown. This spot is about 2 hours northwest of Boston. If you need a place to stay I recommend the historical Woodstock Inn. It’s a little pricey, but it’s the perfect spot for a fall getaway.
Aside from the gorge and town, be sure to check out Billings Farm for Vermont cheese tastings and animals. There’s also several hiking trails in the area. Nearby the farm on Cloudland Road, you’ll find Sleepy Hollow Farm, the most photographed farm in Vermont! Grab your camera and check out the view here — it’s a photographer’s dream.
Also, Woodstock is known for its covered bridges! Pictured below is one of many in the town. This one is right near the town green. Be sure to grab photos here before you leave the area.
New England Fall Road Trip: Massachusetts
Check out Northampton and the Berkshires in Massachusetts during the fall! This region of Massachusetts has some of the best leaf peeping in New England and many hiking trails. Northampton is home to UMass Amherst, a charming downtown, and some great fall foliage! Don’t miss this area on your New England fall road trip.
Bonus Fall Road Trip Idea: New York
Adirondack Mountains, New York
I recently traveled to the Adirondack Mountains with my coworkers for a 3-day work/hiking trip! It was my first time meeting my team since we’ve been remote. We all met up in Saratoga Springs (where the horse races are held!), and drove up to the High Peaks region in the Adirondacks. We stayed in Keene, NY which is a perfect base for hiking and fall exploration. Although this place doesn’t technically count as leaf peeping in New England, it’s nearby and stunning, so I added it!
We got dinner in Lake Placid and explored the quaint town of Lake Saranac. We did two hikes during our trip together — one short but very steep hike up Noonmark Mountain and a second, much longer hike up Indian Head. I’ve seen photos of Indian Head for years and have always wanted to go! The hike was 11 miles round trip, but was so worth it for the epic views we saw! I couldn’t recommend a visit to this region more. Check out this post if you’re looking for a list of easy hikes in the Adirondacks.
We stopped in Albany on the way home for dinner. If we had more time, I would’ve liked to hangout in the Lake George area too, but regardless, add the Adirondacks to your fall bucket list ASAP!
Where To Stay On Your New England Fall Road Trip
This blog post is about a road trip across a few states, but I have a can’t-miss accommodation recommendation for you in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire — Lumen Nature Retreat. Lumen was founded by husband & wife Boris and Susan in 2022 in the N. Woodstock area of NH. They created Lumen to be “a destination for people to come to in order to connect with each other, enjoy a slower pace of life, and appreciate the nature around them”.
Lumen offers a few different accommodation types, depending on the size of your group. There’s cabins that sleep 4, safari tents, and smaller A-frame tents for couples. My family and I stayed in one of their Hygge Cabins and loved it! There is a lofted full-size bed and a queen bed, so a full family can comfortably stay together. Each cabin comes with a fire pit to enjoy as well!
Aside from the cabins and tents, Lumen also has amenities and games like corn hole, picnic tables, a beautiful bathroom with amenities, and the best part — saunas! There are quite a few that can be privately reserved and face the serene lake. I highly recommend enjoying a glamping experience here for a night or two during your time in New Hampshire. Thank you again to Lumen for hosting my fam!
I hope you are feeling inspired to plan your next fall adventure and enjoy leaf peeping on a New England fall road trip! Luckily for us New Englanders, the leaves are incredible pretty much everywhere, especially towards the end of October when they’ve peaked all over. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but just some of the most famous spots in the world to see the leaves.
PS. If you’re looking for some more New England inspiration, including over 50+ day trip ideas, check out my Ultimate New England bucket list!
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