Suggestions for fall foliage road tours in the Northeast Kingdom.
This area is consistently the best for fall colors. It is the first area to change. There can be stunning vistas. Best time is usually the end of September and early October.
Above is a road map of the Northeast Kingdom. Any of the roads that take you into higher elevations are excellent candidates for fall colors. If you want a 200 mile drive (approx.) with some easy short cuts back to your starting point, you'd start off in St. Johnsbury.
Follow Route 2 East out of St. Johnsbury to Route 102 North. You will be following the Connecticut River to Bloomfield (you could continue on 102 to Norton but, unless you want to cross over into Quebec you will have to turn back). In Bloomfield take 105 West into Island Pond.
Here you have a choice of returning to St. Johnsbury on Route 114. This road takes you through some wild and beautiful country with few inhabitants. You come out in East Burke, one of the prettiest little villages to be found in the Northeast Kingdom.
To continue the 200 mile loop, take Route 111 Northwest through Morgan to Newport. On the way you will pass Lake Seymour, at Morgan Center. The view from the road can sometimes offer some stunning views. In Newport look for Route 105 to North Troy. This road takes you through rolling farm land with several large dairy farms. Jay Peak is visible on the left and Bear Mountain on the right. In North Troy head South in Route 101 to Troy. On the way there will be two turn offs on the right. The first one takes you West on 105 over Richford Mountain. There are excellent views on this winding mountain road but, it will take you somewhat off our suggested route.
The second turning off Route 101 is Route 242. This goes to the little village of Jay and over Jay Peak (you can stop at the top of this road and hike the Long Trail). Route 242 brings you to Montgomery Center and the start of one of the most scenic routes you'll ever find in Vermont.
The road from Montgomery Center on 58 to Lowell, is a favorite of mine. It starts off paved but soon becomes of rough dirt road as you head south and climb up towards Hazen's Notch (1790 feet). Much of the road will be covered in a canopy of fall foliage, but I have never been able to drive this route at its peak! You might try calling or one of the inns in the area to find out the peak days.
From Lowell stay on 58, crossing over Route 100, into Irasburg. This is another high altitude route with few houses and a wild and woolly look especially in the winter! Stop and look back every so often. You will see some magnificent views. Continue on into Irasburg on 58. From Irasburg head South to Hardwick on Route 14. On the way you will see signs for Craftsbury and Craftsbury Common. These are excellent side trips if you have the time.
In Hardwick take Route 15 to West Danville and Route 2 back to St. Johnsbury.