There are many reasons we’re lucky to call Boston our home but autumn on the East Coast is definitely near the top of the list. From late September to late October, New England lights up with vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds as the trees shed their leaves for another winter.
Nothing says fall in New England like a leaf-peeping adventure through the colorful mountains – make it a weekend staycation or pack a picnic and your closest friends for a different kind of day-trip. Whether you’re with your kids or your besties, we’ve included trails for every skill level. While it’s tough to narrow down, here are 5 of the best fall foliage hikes in New England to get you started.
Tully Mountain and Doane’s Falls | Massachusetts
Owl’s Head | Vermont
If you’re looking for a quick, kid-friendly hike with a gorgeous pay-off this is the trip for you. Located in Groton State Park in Vermont, Owls Head is a leisurely 1.5-mile hike to stunning views of Lake Groton, Kettle Pond, and the Green Mountains. Arguably some of the best views in Vermont and they’re easily accessible making Owl’s Head a great option for a low-key adventure.
The Flume, Franconia Notch State Park │New Hampshire
This 2-mile round-trip takes you through Flume Gorge, a huge natural chasm in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The path follows a boardwalk path for its entire route, making it ideal for beginners and families with kids. You’ll pass covered bridges, amazing waterfalls, a scenic pool, and incredible views of the mountains and forest.
Mount Katahdin | Maine
Located in Maine’s Baxter State Park, this is definitively the most difficult hike on the list but totally worth it. The remote summit takes effort and planning to reach but it’s an experience (and a view) unlike any other. Pristine, untouched wilderness surrounds the mountain in every direction. Some of the trails are more exposed and difficult than others so you’ll need to do an adequate amount of research to find the best trail for your group as well as what you need to be prepared for the hike.
Ampersand Mountain | New York
Ampersand is a 5.4-mile round-trip hike through the woods, culminating in sweeping views from the 3352-foot summit. The first 1.7 miles are a tranquil stroll through deep forest and over streams but the last mile is a bit more difficult. The 1,300-foot ascent is aided by a beautiful rock staircase with a few scrambles near the top but it’s all worth it when you break through to the bald summit. On one side, the Seward Range and Ampersand Lake gaze out over the pure Adirondack Wilderness. On the other, the Saranac chain of lakes sparkles with vibrant color. We recommend bringing lunch so you can spend time at the top and explore all the summit has to offer. And don’t forget your SPF and a big water bottle!