Fall might not be here quite yet, but we’re already starting to think about pumpkins, and stores are starting to show seasonal décor. While some people are still holding on to summer during September, others of us are looking forwards to the changes. If you’re one of those people who want to start the season off early, here are ten places to go in New England where the leaves are as impatient for fall as we are!
Aroostook State Park, Maine
Northern Maine tends to start the season early, so by the last week in September, you’re going to see the full beauty of the color change, and Aroostook State Park is an amazing place to start looking. The Park not only has an amazing history as both Maine’s first state park and being close to the location of the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight at Double Eagle II Memorial Park. It has full amenities, like hiking, camping, and even renting a canoe or kayak for Echo Lake. Some of the best views are on Quaggy Jo Mountain.
Eagle Lake Public Land, Maine
Another amazing place to see an early color change is Eagle Lake Public Land. The reserve holds 26000 acres of wilderness, with plenty of trails for you to be able to see the fall come in. The lake itself is large, deep, and allows boating, though unlike with Aroostook, you’ll have to bring your own equipment. On the other hand, it’s a little less accessible, meaning you’ll have less crowds to worry about as you enjoy the early fall.
Mount Kineo State Park, Maine
If you’re looking for an easy to moderate hike with some spectacular views, Mount Kineo in Maine has both. While there are four main trails, if you want to reach the summit and see the early glory of autumn, the Indian and Bridal Trails are the way to go. The Indian trail boasts of amazing sights on the walk and on the summit, but it’s sometimes a steep climb. If you want the view but want a leisurely walk through the fall, take the Bridal Trail!
Dixville Notch and Moose Alley, New Hampshire
You can’t bring up early fall in New Hampshire without bringing up Dixville Notch and Moose Alley. These are probably two of the most famous places in the area to see the early fall changes. By the time late September and early October are here, the entire gorge is glowing gold and orange. The trails are a little more difficult than those at Mount Kineo, but if you’re up for the challenge, take the Table Rock Trail to see the entire area!
Androscoggin River, Berlin NH, by Mark König
Androscoggin Wayside Park, New Hampshire
If you enjoy canoeing, or just want a great place to have a picnic by a river looking over the fall scenery, Androscoggin Wayside Park is a popular place to sit, enjoy a meal, or take a canoe trip down the Androscoggin River to enjoy the beauty of the season in a whole new way. Since it’s a wayside park, it’s a little smaller than the others, and doesn’t offer the same amenities, but given the sights, it’s not a place to miss.
Lake Francis State Park, New Hampshire
Lake Francis tends to be a popular place for people to boat, camp and even have a place to stay to enjoy the sights. The best place to hike is Lake Trail that will take you around the 2000-foot lake and allow you to see the color change, but if you really want to enjoy the early fall scenery from the best viewpoint, book reservations to the Magalloway Watchman Tower Cabin. Remember to bring a sleeping bag! The cabin has no heating, and even with a wood burning stove, it can get cold at night.
Brighton State Park, Vermont
Another place to go if cabins are your place to see the early fall come in, Brighton State Park in Vermont is a place to enjoy the outdoors and then go back to a warm bed. The park doesn’t just offer great places to sleep, but also amazing trails, boating, fishing, and even an old train station from the park’s days as a logging camp. If you’re just planning a daytrip, the park is open until sunset, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the fall.
Maidstone State Park, Vermont
One of the most remote parks in what’s called the Northern Kingdom, but also one of the best places to see fall colors in the early part of fall, Maidstone offers a place for overnight stays, as well as an afternoon hike. Because of how remote the park is, if you take some of the trails, like the Moose Trail, you’re likely to get a good view of some of the local wildlife and birds as well.
Vermont by Peter James Eisenhaure
There’s been a lot of talk about parks, so for those of us who want to be able to enjoy a coffee while looking at what looks like a New England town from a story book, there’s Montgomery. Called the Covered Bridge Capital, there are six covered bridges to see, and since it’s been voted one of the best foliage towns in the state, it’s easily one of the best towns to see the fall and stay in a historic bed and breakfast.
Vermont State Route 100
Sometimes, the best way to see the fall in Vermont is in your car, watching the world go by and driving under the covered bridges that the state is so famous for. Vermont’s State Route 100 is famous for being one of the most scenic routes in the state. While it goes the length of the entire state, staying in the northern part of the interstate offers a lot of amazing views and interesting towns and farms to see along the way.
Written by Diana Bryan
Photo by Patrick Tomasso