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12 Incredible Locations for Leaf Peeping in New England

By Audrey Jaber | September 17, 2020 | Culture

Every fall, millions of leaf peepers head to New England to see the trees change color and the landscape transform. We give you our 2020 guide for taking in Mother Nature’s big show.

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Cape Cod

MASSACHUSETTS

Blue Hills Reservation, Milton

If you’re looking to leaf peep without straying too far from the city—a mere 20-minute drive from downtown—Blue Hills Reservation is the perfect place to go. From the summit, you can look down on both the bustle of Boston and the exquisite colors of the natural environment. mass.gov

Chatham, Cape Cod

Head to the Cape to watch as the forests, farmland and marshes transform against the backdrop of the ocean. Though it won’t be quite as warm as the summer months, September and October offer sunny days that are great for kayaking along the shoreline or biking through the quaint seaside villages. capecodchamber.org

Mohawk Trail, Berkshires

The historic Mohawk trail follows a Native American trade route right through the Berkshire Mountains. The deep reds and warm yellows of the leaves make the road look like the quintessential New England picture. mohawktrail.com

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Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln

Take a drive down the Kanc to see New Hampshire transform into an autumnal paradise of gorgeous gold, red and orange hues. This ride will take you past stunning cliffs, rivers and through the White Mountain National Forest. visitwhitemountains.com

Mount Washington, Mount Washington

From the peak of Mount Washington, the views of colorful and rich leaves extend far past New Hampshire. On a clear day you can see as far as Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec—and maybe even a peek at the chilly Atlantic. nhstateparks.org

Lake Winnipesaukee, Laconia

The largest lake in New Hampshire is surrounded by three mountain ranges that, come fall, turn into a vibrant, colorful scene. For the best riverscape view, hike Mt. Major. The three-mile trail will offer you the best look at the stunning lake and gorgeous foliage. lakesregion.org

Hampton Beach, Hampton

Though Hampton Beach is primarily known as a summer vacation destination, fall should not be overlooked as another great time to visit. The New Hampshire seacoast transforms into an explosion of color and without the summer crowds becomes exceedingly peaceful. nhstateparks.org

Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey

Throughout October, thousands of acres of highlands merge into a display of brilliant colors. Take a hike through Mount Monadnock State Park and listen to the leaves crunch beneath your feet. nhstateparks.org

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Stowe Mountain

VERMONT

Lake Willoughby, Westmore

This crystal-clear lake is surrounded by forests and mountains that, in mid-September, trade in lush greens for warm shades of red and yellow. Hike nearby mountains, Mount Pisgah or Mount Hor, for breathtaking panoramic views of the vast landscape. vermont.gov

Stowe Mountain, Stowe

Ride a gondola lift up the world-famous ski mountain to get an unforgettable view of the vivid leaves and changing colors. If you’d rather stay closer to the ground, hike to Moss Glen Falls, a waterfall that is truly picture-perfect. gostowe.com


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Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park

RHODE ISLAND

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, Pawtucket

Blackstone Valley brims with bike paths and walking trails that will take you around the Blackstone River—a region some consider the home of the American Revolution. Stop by the Slater Mill, the first successful water-powered cotton-spinning factory in the United States, or go paddling on the water to take in the incredible view. visitrhodeisland.com

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Acadia National Park

MAINE

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor

As one of the top 10 most-visited national parks in 2019, according to the National Park Service’s records, Acadia is the perfect location to take in the fall foliage. Located on the coast of Maine, 27 miles of historic motor roads snake through the park; you’ll also find 158 miles of trails to hike if you would rather experience the nature up close. nps.gov



Tags: fall autumn

Photography by: © William DeSousa-Mauk; Courtesy of Mark Vandenberg (@stowebeautiful); Courtesy of Visit Maine