New England’s famed fall foliage season will be here before you know it! While you’re taking in the last days of warm summer temperatures, it’s the perfect time to start planning a getaway to view the spectacular autumn colors. In the northwest corner of Connecticut, we typically start seeing color the last week of September and nature’s color show will get more and more vibrant throughout October. Here are some of the best places to view fall foliage on foot or bicycle.
Fall Foliage Hikes
New England hiking trails are bustling with leaf peepers in the fall. But we prefer the quieter hiking trails that showcase the beautiful fall colors without the crowds found at many of the better known parks. Here are a few of our favorites:
There’s no better place to view fall foliage than the 360 degree view from the tower at the top of Haystack Mountain. At more than 1,700 feet, Haystack Mountain is one of Connecticut’s highest peaks. The historic stone tower at the top provides views of mountain peaks in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. Hikers can either take a longer trail with a gradual incline from the park entrance (~1.5 miles) or drive up to a small parking area and hike just ½ mile up to the tower. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view no matter which hike you choose.
Dennis Hill is a 240-acre estate that was gifted to Connecticut in 1935 by Dr. Frederick Shepard Dennis, a noted New York surgeon. The stone pavilion at the summit, formerly the doctor’s summer residence, sits at an elevation of just over 1,600 feet and offers incredible views. It’s a ¾ mile hike to the top from the park entrance and non-hikers can drive all the way up to the pavilion. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the spectacular view.
Campbell Falls is another not-to-be-missed fall hike. The trail begins on a fern-lined forest path which crosses into Massachusetts just before you reach the 100ft waterfall.
Fall Foliage Bike Routes
Housatonic Covered Bridge Trail
The Housatonic Covered Bridge Trail is a scenic bicycle route that offers views of farmland and countryside, covered bridges and the Housatonic River. The 45-mile Connecticut route from Canaan to New Milford is broken down into 10-mile map segments so you can choose where and how much you’d like to ride.
Tour de Forest
Norfolk’s annual Tour de Forest will be held on Saturday, October 12. The 12.6 mile ride starts at the Norfolk Curling Club and winds its way through the pristine Great Mountain Forest and by Wangum Lake. Participants will experience an up close view of the changing seasons, followed by refreshments and a curling demonstration on the ice at the Curling Club. Register online at the BikeReg website or in person on the day of the event from 8:30 to 9:45.
The northwest corner of Connecticut can’t be missed in the fall and the Manor House Inn is the perfect spot for an autumn escape. Spectacular fall colors, cozy fireplaces, New England charm and warm hospitality will ensure a memorable trip.