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10 Riverside Spots to Experience Vermont Fall Foliage

October 6, 2023 by Addie Hedges
Nulhegan Hut and River

1. North Branch Cascades

Children play by the river at North Branch Cascades.This site features an accessible 1-mile trail along the North Branch of the Winooski River. Just north of Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, visitors can enjoy mossy riverbeds, beautiful turning leaves, and cascading waterfalls. Bring a picnic or lunch from town and do some birdwatching, nature immersion, fish, or just enjoy a nice walk with little change in elevation. North Branch Cascades is an idyllic spot to take in the beauty of fall while exploring Vermont.

2. Irish Hill at Berlin Pond


Berlin Pond is a reservoir just outside of Montpelier that is the water source for the city. Vermont River Conservancy owns the land around the river in order to preserve ecosystems that help keep the water clean. In addition to this land being conserved, there are a number of trails around the pond that provide expansive views and diverse habitats. Visit Irish Hill to walk around the pond, view birds, and see beautiful fall colors from atop the hills surrounding the reservoir. 

3. Bettis River Access

In its past life, Bettis River Access was a junkyard, piled with old cars that were polluting the adjacent White River. Now, after protection by the Vermont River Conservancy, it is a great spot for a walk or picnic during the fall foliage season.

4. Arthur Buck Winooski River Access

After picking up a sandwich and fall drink from Red Hen Baking in Middlesex, head down the road to Arthur Buck River Access to enjoy your meal. This site is located at the confluence of the Mad and Winooski Rivers and is reachable by a short and steep trail down to the river’s edge. Although it isn’t warm enough for a swim this time of year, enjoy a picnic by the water and watch the rivers flow. 

5. Wells River Conservation Area

While you are enjoying the fall weather along the Cross Vermont Trail, take a break for a picnic at the Wells River Conservation Area. This site was conserved by Vermont River Conservancy and the Newbury Conservation Commission as a way to protect this land and also use it as an outdoor classroom for the nearby school. It is a great spot to take in the crisp fall air and enjoy the scenery.

6. Broad Brook River Access

Enjoy the views from Broad Brook this fall! This access, situated along Broad Brook and White River, is a great spot for some leaf peeping. The variety of habitats along this easement provide impressive scenery as well as diverse plants and animals.

7. Saunders River Access 

If you’re passing through Bristol on a fall foliage tour, make a stop at this river access. This former farmland situated along the New Haven River was protected after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 when it was clear the site was meant to be a floodplain. Saunders River Access now features trails and access to the New Haven River. Walk the half-mile trail to the river and then explore as you desire through the field and forested areas. 

8. Poland Covered Bridge

After a ride or walk on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, relax by the Poland Covered Bridge. This site doesn’t have any hiking trails, but the view of fall foliage from the bridge is a picturesque fall scene. If you’re doing some fall paddling, it’s a good place to end or begin a day trip with the plan of stopping at The Cupboard Deli for a post-paddle pick-me-up. 

9. Enosburg Falls

If fishing is your preferred fall activity, Enosburg Falls may be a good choice. This site has bedrock pools that make perfect cool habitats for smallmouth bass and trout. This site has also been frequented by photographers for its stunning falls and exposed bedrock. In the fall, you can view the foliage and sit alongside the Missisquoi River while fishing, picnicking, or snapping some photos. 

10. Nulhegan Hut and Trails

Nulhegan Hut in the fall from above.

One of our most sought-after sites is the Nulhegan Hut and Trails. In partnership with Vermont Huts Association, we offer this off-the-grid timber framed cabin for rentals. Whether you have the cabin booked or not, you can walk the 1.5 miles of trails spanning the site and watch the Nulhegan River’s rapids. The hut is a perfect place to unwind and take in the natural landscape while staying cozy by the wood-burning stove or the outdoor fire pit.

Explore more of our sites on our Interactive Site Map and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with fall adventure ideas.

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