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Leaf Peeping Season: Massachusetts Foliage Guide

When asked why we live in New England, many Bostonians will tell you that it's the lure of the four seasons, and one of the most enjoyable is fall. From the changing trees and mild temperatures to fall activities like apple picking and outdoor festivals, fall is a lovely time to be in Boston. This guide to Enjoying Fall Foliage will give you plenty of leaf peeping ideas both by car and foot.

Related: NH & VT Leaf Peeping Guide

(Photo Credit: Mass. Tourism)


Massachusetts Route 2

Peak: Mid to late October

Running from Boston and extending all the way to the New York/Massachusetts state line, Route 2 is one of America's first scenic highways (emphasis on scenic). Winding its way through historic and picturesque towns such as North Adams and Shelburne Falls, Route 2 offers an idyllic and relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Gently rolling hills, and rustic open spaces will greet you as you make your way.

Check: Foliage Conditions from Mass Tourism

10.8.11 - Travel & Outdoors – Enjoying Fall Foliage in Boston – WindingRoad_LiuYing
Photo Credit: Ying Liu

The Berkshires

Peak: Mid to late October

A continuation of Vermont's Green Mountain range, the Berkshires run along the westerly portions of both Massachusetts and Connecticut and offer unspoiled views of foliage, rolling hills, and scenery. One of the best times to visit this region is during the fall season not only for leaf peeping but also to enjoy the towns dotted throughout this region specializing in artisan crafts, antique furniture, and seasonal treats.


(Photo credit: VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

The Quabbin Reservoir

485 Ware Road (Route 9)
Belchertown, MA 01007

Peak: Mid to late October

The Quabbin Resevoir, located in Belchertown and the source of greater Boston's tap water, is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Covering 39 square miles, scenic views surround the reservoir. While you will need to drive there for your visit, the best views are by foot via the walking trails dotted throughout reservoir. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Recreation website for more information about the reservoir including hours, walking trails, picnicking guidelines, and tours through the visitor center. Click here for public access maps.

CBS Boston Insider's Note: Remember since the reservoir is the primary source of Boston's water supply, public access is highly regulated. No swimming, littering and definitely no pets. It's not a dog friendly walk.


Peak: late October

Travel & Outdoors – Enjoying Fall Foliage in Boston – 10.8.11 - ColorfulLake_LiuYing
Photo Credit: Ying Liu

Emerald Necklace Park System

Landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead created the Emerald Necklace Park system to offer residents a retreat from city life and the opportunity to gather together in open, picturesque spaces. Including the Boston Common, Commonwealth Avenue mall, the Riverway Fens, and the Arnold Arboretum, this system is teeming with large, mature trees - perfect for amazing fall colors. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the leaves in any of these locations.

The Charles River Esplanade

The sight of changing leaves against the backdrop of the Charles River is quite a sight to behold in the
fall. Although not entirely tree covered, there are definitely enough to provide a great view.

Cristy Maldonado is a Boston-based blogger in constant pursuit of fun activities in the city. Read more of her work at

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