New England’s famed fall foliage season will be here soon. 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 brilliant color show will get more and more vibrant throughout October. Here are some of our favorite places to view the spectacular fall foliage.
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 more well-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 a zigzagging plunge down to an impressive 100ft waterfall. Sit and reflect on the rocks at the bottom and take a few photos of this incredibly picturesque spot.
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.
Harlem Valley Rail Trail
Rent bikes in nearby Millerton, NY, and ride 16 miles down the old Harlem Valley Rail Trail, through the picturesque town of Amenia and then on to Wassaic. After your ride, stop for a cup of tea at Harney & Sons cafe, or for a bite and a glass of wine at 52 Main.
Fall Foliage Drives
You don’t have to drive far to see the spectacular hues when you visit the Manor House Inn in the fall. Meander along Norfolk’s country roads and enjoy lovely stone walls, farms, mountain peaks, and lake views. Get out of the car to take in the view from the stone pavilion at the top of Dennis Hill and at the edge of Wood Creek Pond- both are perfect spots to enjoy a scenic picnic. Drive along Rt. 44 through the charming towns of Salisbury and Lakeville (and stop for some antiquing along the way or visit Sweet Williams Bakery for a delicious treat), and drive along the Twin Lakes. Drive north from the inn past the New Marlborough farms and on to Stockbridge and Lenox. You’ll find many quaint shops and farm-to-table restaurants on the way (including the Southfield Store).
The Connecticut Fall Foliage Route included in New England Magazine“s top 10 Fall Foliage Road Trips hits 3 of our favorite spots- Saville Dam, Haystack Mountain, and Thorncrest Farm Chocolates.
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.