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Leaf Peeping Season: NH & Vermont Foliage Guide

New England is home to four stunning seasons, and one of the most enjoyable is autumn. The mild temperatures make it easy to enjoy the brilliant colors on the changing trees. This year's colors are expected to be much more brilliant than last year's. Here's guide to Enjoying Fall Foliage to the north, with plenty of leaf peeping ideas.

Photos:Share Your Fall Photos Here

Related: Mass. Fall Foliage Guide


(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Great North Woods Region

Peak: Late September, Early October

A drive along routes 2, 3, 26, 110, and 135 offer vibrant colors and the prospect of wildlife. Route 16 will take you through the 13-Mile Woods, where moose are known to roam. They are very active – and very unpredictable during the fall.

White Mountains Region

Peak: Early October

The White Mountains Region is probably the most popular in New Hampshire, with mile after mile of vibrantly colored rolling mountains.

New Hampshire Foliage
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Kancamagus Highway
One of the biggest hotspots is the Kancamagus Highway. The 'Kanc' is a winding 34-mile road that connects Lincoln to Conway. In between those two towns is some of the most beautiful scenery you'll ever witness.

Franconia Notch
For the less adventurous types, pick up I-93 in Boston and take it two-and-a-half hours north into Franconia Notch State Park, you don't even have to leave the highway. If you do hop off an exit, The Flume Gorge, and the Cannon Mountain Tramway are nearby and provide a delightful bird's eye view.

Other Great Routes
Route 302 takes you a little further north, up through Bretton Woods, and offers the same breathtaking views of the peaking foliage. Route 49 is furthest south, so the colors may not be AS bright. The winding road rolls its way through beautiful mountains and valleys. The New Hampshire Tourism Department also recommends Routes 2, 3, 135, and/or 112 toward the Mount Washington Valley in the White Mountains region.

Check: VisitNH Foliage Tracker

Central & Southern NH

Peak: Early through late October (check VisitNH for updated reports)

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Dartmouth/Sunapee Region

Further south means a shorter drive and a later peak season. The Dartmouth/Sunapee region is the place for quiet country roads, rolling farmlands, and old-fashioned covered bridges that are staples of rural New England. A good scenic ride is Route 10 North from Hanover to Haverhill.

Lakes Region

In the Lakes region, the Ossipee and Belknap Mountain ranges offer spectacular views through mid-October. Scenic drives in this region include Routes 11, 25, 28, 106, 109, 113, and 171.

Monadnock Region

Some scenic rides include Route 124 into Jaffrey, all the way into Keene on Route 101 and back through Peterborough and Sharon on Route 123; also Route 101 from Temple east to Wilton, and Route 9 between Keene and Hillsborough.

Merrimack Valley & Seacoast Regions

The last in New Hampshire to peak, you can expect to see great foliage along Routes 1A, 4, 101, 108, 125, and 155. Just in case the foliage turns out to be less than spectacular in the area, Route 1A offers a lovely 18 miles of coastline viewing to accompany.

Aside from leaf peeping, there's a ton of other stuff going on across the state. For a list of events throughout the season, visit the New Hampshire tourism website.


Vermont Foliage
(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Up and down Vermont, the leaves are changing. The first weekend of October, the hottest viewing spots are way up north and up the middle of the state. Further south, the leaves transform later in October. Vermont Tourism lays out 20 different routes for fall foliage ranging from 40 to 200 miles in length. Rather than list them all here, we'll give you the link.

Check: Vermont Foliage Forecast

If you're more of the 'see where the drive takes me' type person, there are a number of recommended roads to keep an eye out for.

Peak: Early October

Suggested routes:

• Interstate 89 between South Royalton and Richmond.
• Camp Brook Road and Bethel Mountain Road in Rochester.
• Roxbury Mountain Road and East Warren Road in the Mad River Valley.
• Route 125 from Hancock west over Middlebury Gap to East Middlebury.
• Route 73 west from Rochester over Brandon Gap to Sudbury.
• Route 4 from West Bridgewater to Killington over Sherburne Pass west to Rutland.
• Route 100 in south-central Vermont.
• Darling Hill Road in Lyndon-Burke
• Newark Pond loop roads

(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Peak: Mid-October

Suggested routes:
• Route 100 south from Warren to Killington.
• Route 103 north from Ludlow to Route 7.
• Route 7 north from Manchester to Brandon.
• Route 9 from Woodford to Marlboro.
• Route 15 from Danville to Jericho.
• Route 2 from St. Johnsbury to Richmond.
• Route 232 through Groton State Forest.
• Back roads in Walden, Cabot, Hardwick, Greensboro.
• Route 53 north from Forestdale to Route 30 in Whiting.
• Route 35 in Grafton.

Aside from leaf peeping, there's a ton of other stuff going on across the state. For a list of events throughout the season, visit the Vermont tourism website.

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