3 days, 800km, 10hrs driving
Enjoy the incredible colours on a weekend drive through this stunning part of New England.
A drive through Vermont during peak foliage season is one you will not forget soon after. Quaint towns, white steeples and red barns are prominent throughout, all of which with a spectacular backdrop of the complete palette of fall/autumn colours. This route can be comfortably completed over a weekend, but can be easily fleshed out to add other stops along the way.
Note: This itinerary starts near the US/Canada border. Due to the wide range of starting positions possible with this drive, it may be necessary to reconfigure the order of the days based on this.
Click on thumbnails for enlarged image:
Interstate 89 –
Vermont Route 100 –
U.S. Route 7 –
Assuming a start near the US/Canada border near Québec Autoroute 15 (A-15) and US Interstate Route 87 (I-87), head across to the eastern side of Lake Champlain and onto
. The colours really start showing off in the hills along the way as you make the drive down to Burlington. Stopping in Burlington for dinner is an option, but I advise staying on , dropping off at the Williston Information Center to pick up some brochures/pamphlets, and continuing on to Waterbury. Waterbury is a picturesque town with great dining options in the area. Prohibition Pig is a great restaurant/brewery and well worth a visit. Planning to stay somewhere around the Waterbury area will give you a great starting location for the next day, and the opportunity to get to Ben and Jerry’s factory before the crowds in the morning.
If you get up early enough, you can do a short drive (or walk) along River Road which runs the western side of the Winooski River next to Waterbury . It is extremely quiet and has some great colours all the way along, and offers great views of the surrounding hills. Get to Ben & Jerry’s when it opens (10am currently), and go for a factory tour (unfortunately the operating room is closed on weekends). It takes about an hour, and you do get a generous sample at the end! Cold Hollow Cider Mill is another worthwhile foodie stop. They have a wide variety of Vermont produce in store, as well as delicious cider donuts! You do have the option here of continuing on to the picturesque town of Stowe if you desire. Otherwise, make your way south back through Waterbury and along . is widely regarded as one of the prettiest drives in the state, and I can definitely see why. I was lucky enough to talk with a lovely old guy in a tourist information centre in Waitsfield along , and he provided me a map with a short driving loop around the Sugarbush, Warren and Waitsfield area. The first stop is Clay Brook in Sugarbush Resort . First turn onto VT 17, and then left onto German Flats Rd. Continue on to Sugarbush Access Rd and park outside the Clay Brook. Spend a few minutes walking around the area taking in the colours of the Sugarbush ski fields. For lunch, the Warren Store is a wonderful spot, before continuing down Brook Rd (which changes to East Warren Rd). This is a beautiful quiet road with great views of the surrounding hills. Spend a few minutes walking around the Round Barn , and then proceed back across a covered bridge onto VT 100.
Head south down through the Mad River Valley for more great driving and views of the countryside, until you reach the turnoff to VT 100A for Plymouth. Plymouth is the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge, and has a historic site dedicated that you can spend some time at. For cheese lovers, head to Plymouth Artisan Cheese for a tasting and a quick museum visit. Plymouth is well worth spending an hour or so walking around and absorbing the quiet surrounds, and great colours of course! Head back to the way you came, and continue driving south to Londonderry where you turn onto the VT 11. Continue through to the bustling little town of Manchester . This is the southern most point on the itinerary, and from here it is northward bound to Rutland. There are two options, either to go direct up , or take a 30min detour through some more quiet country roads via Danby , with some more beautiful foliage and the stunning Elfin Lake near Wallingford. This route goes along VT 30, Danby Mt Rd, and VT 140 before linking up with . Try and arrange accommodation around the Rutland area as this will be ideal for the final day’s activities.
Today you will continue north to complete the loop of Vermont. One activity slightly out of the way is a stop to Killington Ski Field via US 4. The K-1 express gondola is open year round from 10am most days (check the schedule the night before though), and offers breathtaking views from the summit of Killington Peak. Allow around 3 hours for this round trip from Rutland . Head back along US 4 to taking Park Ln/Post Rd as a shortcut on the north of Rutland. Head north to Middlebury and take a short tour and cider tasting at Woodchuck Cider . If you like wine, head a bit further up the road to Lincoln Peak Vineyard for a tasting. Instead of going straight back to , continue along River Rd, turn onto South St, and then VT 17. Once you are back on , continue north and shop for some Vermont produce at Dakin Farm , and check out the amazing cookie selection at Vermont Cookie Love . The final place to check out is Magic Hat Brewery south of Burlington. They offer a great self guided tour, and have some very good, and quirky beers on tap. Head back onto and then head back to the US/Canada border via North and South Hero , where you can experience the fantastic colours against the backdrop of Lake Champlain.