10 New England Foliage Drives Straight out of a Postcard

Fall brings cooler temperatures and a beautiful range of colors from leaves changing. It’s also the perfect time of year to take advantage of fall drives to motor around and take in nature’s beauty. Best of all, there are some choice driving spots you can observe on foliage drives in New England. So, get your car maintenance scheduled and your tank filled up, and then enjoy the following New England foliage routes.

Granby to Goshen in Connecticut

A country lane in the New England area of New Canaan, Connecticut
A country lane in New Canaan, Connecticut | Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The Connecticut Office of Tourism offers insight into the many beauties of Connecticut’s fall changes. This 35-mile drive is perfect for a fun jaunt. Starting in Granby, there are state forests and rivers to admire while going west. Ending in Goshen, vineyards and Ivy Mountain State Park welcome visitors. Drivers can enjoy the best views in early October.

Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts

According to Boston Magazine, the Mohawk Trail was originally a Native American travel route from the Hudson River Valley and the Connecticut River Valley, and it runs about 60 miles. 

Driving through, visitors enjoy a country view of quaint towns and gorgeous bends from Millers Fall, Massachusetts, to the New York state line. According to the Mohawk Trail Region, there are also different suggested options for exploring different sections of the trail.  Drivers can enjoy peak foliage views around the second week of October.

Golden Road in Maine

This fascinating road stretches from Millinocket, Maine, all the way to Quebec. The Maine Magazine explains Golden Road was originally a recreational road built by the defunct Great Northern Paper Company. 

For the best leaf views, Boston Magazine recommends you check out the first 40 miles. You’ll find lush forests and sparkling clear lakes. Enjoy the amazing Ripogenus Gorge, a one-mile canyon with towering 240-feet-high rock walls at the end of this stretch. Drivers can see the most foliage changes during the peak around the last several days of September.

Park Loop in Maine

This mostly one-way loop originating in Bar Harbor, Maine, has beauty throughout. Park Loop spans about 27 miles but is packed with shoreline and lake views and forests and mountains. 

Stop at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park, Boston Magazine recommends. It gets its name from the loud, thunderous sound that the ocean waves make when crashing against the rock formations on the inlet. The best views of the foliage are in the first week of October.

Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire

Travel along the 30-mile Kancamagus Highway, which runs from Conway to Lincoln, New Hampshire. According to Boston Magazine, the route offers lovely road views of the White Mountains, rivers, ponds, and lots of forest service parking areas. Drivers can view gorgeous leaf changes from the end of September to the first couple weeks of October, thanks to the White Mountains’ varying elevation.

Lake Winnipesaukee Loop in New Hampshire

According to New England Foliage, drivers can trace around the lake via the Lake Winnipesaukee Loop, which can run about 75 miles depending on the route. You can start in Alton Bay, New Hampshire, and enjoy Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough for stunning views of the Ossipee Mountain Range, and fall colors abound in late September. 

Vermont Route 100

A winding stretch of highway with diverse and quickly-changing scenery, Vermont’s Route 100 is also known as “Skiers’ Highway,” according to Yankee Magazine. Enjoy the lush, color-changing Green Mountain National Forest, a stretch of various lakes, Northfield Range, and other mountain views. The peak foliage changes occur in late September.

Smugglers’ Notch/Vermont Route 108

This route reportedly got its name from smuggling contraband from Canada, Yankee Magazine explains. It runs about 45 miles from Stowe, Vermont, to the Canadian border. Its foliage and mountain pass views are not to be missed, and you should plan this trip for your fall drives in New England around early October.

South Hadley to Turners Falls in Massachusetts

Travel about 35 miles from South Hadley to Turners Falls, Massachusetts, for lots of scenery and quaint shops and towns. The Connecticut River runs near the winding roads around fields and thick forests, Yankee Magazine mentions. In Turners Falls, there is a rich history and more trees to observe. Early October is peak time for the best foliage drives.

Ocean Drive in Rhode Island

The 10-mile stretch that makes up Ocean Drive is some of the most charming scenery. Boston Magazine advises that you’ll see both gorgeous ocean views and great foliage at Brenton Point State Park. Watch the sailboats or see historical resorts and mansions on your drive, which you’ll find displaying peak foliage in mid-October.

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