Fantastic Fall Foliage Runs in Vermont
Our friends at Great Runs have put together a guide to some of the best fall foliage running routes in Vermont. The colors peak anywhere from late September to mid-October — earliest in northern Vermont and where there is more elevation. This guide to the best fall foliage runs in Vermont includes a selection of routes across the state, with particular attention to popular locations and trails/roads with great leaf views. It’s geared toward road running and gentle trail running.
Richford: Missiquoi Valley Rail Trail. You can’t visit Vermont without seeing some cows! This rail trail starts in St. Albans, winding northeast to Richford, providing direct access to old Vermont Dairy country. Choose your section of this relatively flat, 26.1(!) mile trail with its crushed limestone surface.
Crafstbury: Hosmer Pond. The Craftsbury Outdoor center is a legendary center for X-C skiing, mountain biking, sailing, rowing…and running! There are many km of trails at the center, some flat, others hilly, some open, others wooded. We’ve put together a route that starts at the Center and is a dirt road tour of three ponds.
Stowe: Recreation Path. One of our favorites in Vermont. 5.25 mile paved trail is fairly flat and level, meandering along the West Branch River, over numerous purpose-built bridges, past beautiful farms and through some enchanting wooded sections.
Stowe: Trapp Family Lodge Trails. Famed X-C center is mountain bike and trail running heaven in the fall. 30+ km of trails (pass required), with some gentler, flat options and some more serious trail running opportunities.
Burlington: Island Line Rail Trail. One of New England’s most visited and spectacular rail-trails. It borders the waterfront in the city of Burlington and strings together several shoreline parks in a linear path to offer spectacular views of Lake Champlain and New York’s Adirondack Mountains. 3.3 miles from Burlington to North Beach, and up to 14 miles total.
Williston: Catamount Family Outdoor Center. Over 20 miles of trails and loops ranging from 5k to 15k, of various difficulty levels. The property is situated on two hills, with panoramic views of the Green Mountains.
Shelburne Farms. A 1400-acre working farm 7 miles south of Burlington, Shelburne Farms is a National Historic Landmark with stunning waterfront views. For runners, there are more than 10 miles of walking trails that are open year-round.
Waterbury: Community Path. Waterbury is home to the Leaf Peepers 5K and Half Marathon, where people come from all over to take in views on this stunning course. The route takes runners through Waterbury, up Perry Hill Road to spectacular outlooks on the scenic Waterbury Community Path.
Middlebury Trails. Middlebury is a beautiful college campus in an idyllic college town. There is wonderful running around the campus and in the surrounding area. The Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) is an 18-mile loop, which encircles the town and links hundreds of acres of land. The Jackson Trail is a great 4-mile out and back segment of the TAM.
Woodstock and Billings Farm. This loop is a tour of the charming town of Woodstock, which is a popular visitors’ destination not far from the New Hampshire border. Our route starts at the Billings Farm & Museum, billed as a gateway to Vermont’s rural heritage and one of the finest operating dairy farms in America.
Rutland: Carriage Road Trail. Site of the annual Leaf Chase 10K, making it a prime autumnal destination. The Carriage Road Trail is located in Pine Hill Park, a revitalized alpine ski area turned into a beautiful 16-mile system of public trails.
Windsor Covered Bridge and Brewery. A long covered bridge is the highlight of this course, home to Harpoon’s Octoberfest Road Race, a scenic tour of the Eastern Vermont township of Windsor.
Weston. Classic small town in south central Vermont. Run along the main strip, and enjoy the barn red country store, playhouse, mill buildings, and a picturesque central gazebo.
Manchester. Equinox Preservation Trust. Accessible from just outside of Manchester, the Trust has 914 acres of woodlands with excellent running and foliage viewing conditions. There are plenty of trails to choose from. The Blue Summit Trail, which winds to the top of Equinox Mountain, is a super-challenging trail option.
Bennington: Woodford State Park. The highest elevation campground in Vermont makes Woodford State Park the perfect location for catching unparalleled views of the rich foliage. Just a short drive from Bennington, our route encircles the Adams Reservoir.
Brattleboro: West River Trail. A lovely trail along the West River with continuous views of the vibrant, golden Vermont hills. The southernmost point of the trail starts at the Marina Trailhead, just outside Brattleboro. Soft dirt surface and relatively flat, with good 3-mile and 6-mile options.
If you’re traveling elsewhere in New England, see Great Runs’ guides to fall foliage running in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Or, browse their routes in more than 200 cities and destinations worldwide! http://www.greatruns.com/
Mark Lowenstein, Great Runs