Top Ten Fall Foliage Hikes in New England - Page 2

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Fall Foliage in Vermont's Mountains
Fall foliage in Vermont's mountains  (Vermont Tourism)

5. Letchworth State Park, New York
No time to drive to the Grand Canyon this weekend? That's okay because the "big ditch" doesn't have nearly the fall firecrackers that Letchworth State Park does. Located less than an hour from Buffalo, New York, Letchworth is close enough to burn off the beer and wings after lunch and still make it back to see a Bills game before dark. The civilized carriage roads leading into the park feature beautiful draping canopies of a variety of eastern hardwoods, but the real view is ahead. As you approach the deep gorge the Genesee River has carved through the bedrock, you'll be rewarded with a view to remember. Maples, beech, and countless other trees display their vivid leaves on the stark ledges of this deep, dramatic gorge. The Genesee River descends over a series of three steep waterfalls, the highest of which is more than 100 feet tall. Don't settle for the view from the parking lot, because this park boasts plenty to do. There are horseback-riding trails, hot-air balloon rides, and an easy, level hiking trail that parallels the rim of the gorge.

4. Bennington, Vermont
Bennington is as close to the definition of Vermont as you can get. It has all the important ingredients: a quaint main street, the rounded humps of the Green Mountains just over your shoulder, and…is that the faint aroma of maple syrup in the air? Perched on the border of Vermont and Massachusetts, Bennington is a perfect launching-pad for a fall-color adventure. As you begin your day with a cup of Green Mountain Roasters Coffee at one of the several bakeries downtown, the view from the window is staggering. Take a baguette with you and cruise up Vt. Route 9 into the notches between the mountains, and watch as the colors become overwhelmingly vivid. You'll soon cross the Long Trail, one of the oldest long-distance hiking trails in America. Here, you'll find parking near the roaring Deerfield River. Walking south, you amble up Harmon Hill (warning: the steep trail will make you wonder why it's a "hill"), and prepare for a jaw-dropping view of Bennington and the surrounding valley from the top.

3. Burlington, Vermont
Do you have to be a hippy to love Burlington? Certainly not, but a tolerance for tofu will take you far in this fair city! A paradise for fall multi-taskers, Burlington is easy to get to (fly, train, bus, drive), and the cool breezes off nearby Lake Champlain stoke a furious display of fall colors from the abundant trees in the foothills of the Green Mountains. Don't miss a walk up Church Street, four blocks of pure window- shopping, café stopping, and street-musician listening pleasure. After you're sated with commercial culture, stroll down to the riverfront park and admire the distant Adirondack Mountains from across pristine Lake Champlain. If you're invigorated by the view, rent a bike and take level, easy "Island Line" bike path north eight miles under a sheltering canopy of shady trees until you pop out on a narrow jetty that crosses Lake Champlain. From this narrow path, you can see nearly a hundred miles in every direction, enjoying a 360-degree view of the mountainous surroundings.

2. Conway, New Hampshire
The New Hampshire State Motto says it all, "Live Free or Die!" As you travel along New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway, en route to Conway, you'll feel a taste of this freedom, without the threat of imminent death. This narrow, winding, 28-mile route takes nearly an hour to drive and treats visitors to a jaw-dropping view of the jagged White Mountain National Forest. Even early in the season, expect the lush evergreens and red conifers to be dappled with the white of an early snowfall, and look out for moose, especially early in the morning and late in the evening. At the southern terminus of the highway, Conway, New Hampshire, is a quaint mixture of rugged and civilized, old and new. The stores mix the standard tourist fare with specialty mountaineering shops that cater to the bold mountaineers that ascend nearby Mt. Washington. Crampons or commemorative moose T-shirts? It's your pick.

1. Kent, Connecticut
Leaving the Berkshires of Massachusetts, you'll quickly realize that Connecticut is so much more than a New York City suburb. This sedate town has its share of white picket fences and a quaint coffee shop or two, but the real treasures lie just north and just south of town. Walk south less than a half mile, and you'll hit the 10 Mile River. This maple-lined masterpiece is an incredibly level, pleasant walk on the famous Appalachian Trail. The trees here are short in stature but giants in color. Expect deep reds, flaring oranges, and a moveable carpet of these wonderful colors sliding away on the surface of the river. Up for a challenge? Walk north of town just a few miles and stop for a cold draft of cider and an apple at the picnic shelter in a clearing. Turning to face the hill you've just climbed, you'll be treated to a view of the Hudson River Valley that can't be beat.

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Best Hotels in Bennington

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