Colorful foliage remains evident in lower elevation valleys, especially in town & village centers in western & southern sections of Vermont. Although leaf-drop from the canopy tends to gray the hillsides & mountains, it also opens the views and provides a rustling carpet of still-colorful foliage for a late-autumn walk through the woods.
The Vermont.com foliage reports are first-hand reports provided by volunteers from around the state. This is the final week of reports for the 2019 Foliage Season. Keep checking back here as we continue to receive updates this week from our Leaf Squad!
The "Current Conditions" map provides an approximate view of the current foliage color in Vermont, based on the reports we receive.
Foliage color generally starts to change in the higher, cooler areas of the Green Mountains, spreading down into the Lake Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley, and moving from north to south across the state. The exact timing of the color change varies from year to year.
"It’s exciting... we see beautiful colors, but up on the top of Mount Mansfield, we see... a blanket of snow! It’s gorgeous out there, and although the perfect hiking weather, it’s got us secretly dreaming of winter vacations."
"We sent our videographer out to capture some of the colors this week with his drone. WOW!! What a season to remember! The colors this fall have been nothing short of breathtaking. It’s been years since we remember such vibrant reds, and long-lasting oranges. These mountains have appeared to be on fire! As we begin to draw the foliage season to a close, we shift focus toward opening day Thanksgiving celebrations, Halloween Season Pass and Badge deadlines, and what is shaping up to be another fantastic winter season!"
"Sunset at Sterling Ridge Resort highlighting the beautiful fall color that
still on the trees. Photo taken 10/16/2019 by K. Roberts.
Starting to see some bare branches at the higher elevations but there is still a lot of colors to view!"
No Current Reports
"Well, it's getting closer. This past weekend brought some flakes to the top of Southern Vermont's highest peak. Participants of the 29029 Everesting summit challenge began their ascent with hardy oranges and yellows dotting the trails. As athletes approached the top, foliage and the crunch of fallen leaves gave way to the squelch of snow. With summer and fall activities officially wrapped up, last minute leaf peepers can still observe rich oranges and some lingering yellows, perhaps a stubborn red or two. Color stretches to mid mountain before giving way to [bare] bows. If you're still hoping to catch a view, foot travel is best as scenic gondola rides have ended for the season."
"The 2019 Foliage Season is coming to an end in my 'neck of the woods' of Southern Vermont. There is very little color left, especially in the higher elevations, but there are still a few trees here-and-there clinging to their beautiful golden leaves. The dominant colors I'm seeing right now are yellow & orange, with a sprinkling of light green and reds. I think we only have about a week left before we head in to 'stick season' in Southern Vermont."
"A fine Vermont foliage season continues, with veteran observers noting the
extended, gradual nature of this year’s show of color. The highest elevations
and hardwood ridges have moved beyond peak, but brilliant foliage remains in
downslope valleys and protected forest coves and benches throughout the state.
While bare branches are beginning to appear, the trees are still showcasing a
surprisingly high volume of leaves.
Bests Bets for Color: The Champlain and Connecticut River Valleys have plenty of green and the promise of even more color ahead as they reach peak.
This transition point in the foliage season is especially notable as red, orange, and yellow leaves cover the ground but also persist in the canopy above, creating a colorful mosaic to hike through. As the scene shifts from overhead to below your feet or bike tires, it’s a nice time to see into the woods and discover the stone walls and cellar holes of the past. A reminder that generations of Vermonters have worked the land closely and intelligently, allowing us to enjoy and benefit from the landscape we know today."
A great place to stop while you're Leaf Peeping in Southern Vermont, is the Dutton Berry Farm Stands. Well known for their Vermont grown produce including farmer-grown fruits and vegetables, cider, maple syrup, plants, and other unique local products, the Dutton Berry Farmstands offer a cornucopia of great-tasting Vermont produce and products. Located on Route 11/30 in Manchester, Route 30 in Newfane, and Route 9 in West Brattleboro.
Best Bets: During the earliest part of foliage season, viewing is more about elevation than location. Your best chances for spotting color are to 'get high' or 'get low.' Higher elevations with panoramic views will allow you to spot smatterings of color in the valleys below. Alternatively, you can 'get low' - marshy areas near bodies of water typically offer the first areas of foliage change and also offer a wide variety of tree species which enlarges the palette of early season colors.
Helpful Tip: Plan Ahead!
Foliage season is a very popular time to visit Vermont, so if you want to stay in a particular place on a particular weekend, call in advance to make sure rooms are available. Having your lodging plans made in advance will avoid unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy your foliage season odyssey. Also too, it is a good idea to make dining reservations as early as possible in the day or even the night before.
When To Come For 'Peak' Foliage:
There is no one 'perfect' time to visit Vermont to see peak foliage. Color change begins in mid-September and runs through the first two to three weeks in October and varies by elevation, progressing from north to south and higher to lower elevations during the course of the season. As such, there are many 'peaks' so that you can make your plans based on the timing and location that works for you.
Science Behind the Leaves Changing Colors:
During the short summer months, broad-leafed trees such as maples, oaks and birches produce food to nourish themselves for growth. They do this through a process known as photosynthesis, using the energy of the sun to produce food. As the days grow shorter in early fall, the increasing periods of darkness trigger leafy plants to slow down photosynthesis and stop growing. A pigment in the leaves called chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color) is used in photosynthesis, so the slowing of this process means there is less green pigment. But leaves contain pigments other than green, called carotenoids and anthocyanins. Once the greens fade, carotenoids are revealed (yellow, orange, and brown colors), anthocyanins and are produced (red and purple colors).
Certain colors are characteristic of particular plant species. Red maples live up to their name by turning scarlet, while most sugar maples glow a warm orange. Aspen and birches display sunny yellows, while oak and beech leaves turn bronze and gold. Most of Vermont's fall foliage color is provided by red and sugar maples, two resilient tree species that constitute more than 50 percent of our forest's trees. You can find even more details on leaves and their changing colors, courtesy of the US Forest Service: Why Leaves Change Colors
The Vermont.com Foliage Reports are provided thanks to the Vermont Department of Tourism, and by volunteer members of our Leaf Squad from around the state. To submit a report for your area, please send a description and photo of your area, with the date and location where the photo was taken.
To view past Foliage Reports, visit the Vermont.com Blog.
For more info on current conditions, call Vermont's Seasonal Hotline at (802)828-3239 ... and tell them Vermont.com sent you!
Vermont Fall Foliage Season
from the Vermont Department of Tourism