For an ever-changing perspective on the fall foliage, try viewing the colors from a higher elevation by hiking, driving or taking a ski lift up one of New England’s mountains.
The foliage starts to turn orange, deep red and gold first in the mountains and other colder spots. The color emerges as the days shorten and leaves lose their green chlorophyll pigments. Stress like cold temperature or drought also trigger some tree species to generate a red pigment.
Oranges, reds and yellows are already visible in the mountains and in northern Vermont, northern Maine and the top tip of New Hampshire. To plan the best viewing, visit the states’ fall foliage maps or trackers.
DRIVE OR RIDE TO THE SUMMIT
MOUNT BATTIE, Camden Hills State Park, Camden, Maine
The 5,700-acre (2,307-hectare) Camden Hills State Park near the Maine coast offers diverse hiking trails as well as an auto road to the top of the 800-foot (244.84-meter) Mount Battie with wide views of Penobscot Bay that inspired a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
If you go… Cost is $6 for adults, $2 for seniors 65 and older. The road is open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset through Oct 31.
Mount Greylock, Lanesboro
Mount Greylock is the highest spot in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet (1,064 meters). On a clear day, visitors can see as far as 90 miles (145 kilometers) away from the summit. There is a wide range of hiking trails at Mount Greylock State Reservation for various skill levels. For those who don’t want to hike, they can drive up to the top for the sweeping views.
If you go… Parking at the summit costs $5 for Massachusetts residents; $10 for others. The road to the summit is open daily through Nov. 1.
Mount Washington Auto Road , Gorham
The drive up the highest peak in the Northeast passes through four climate zones and sometimes changing weather on patches of narrow roads. From the top of the 6,280-foot (1,914-meter) summit, visitors get a panoramic view of mountains and valley. They also have access to a gift shop and cafeteria. Crisp clear days can get busy so visitors are advised to arrive early. Some vehicles are prohibited.
If you go… the cost is $31 for car and driver; $9 for adult passenger; and $7 for children aged 5-12. The road is open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Oct. 21, weather permitting.
Mount Washington Cog Railway, Bretton Woods
If you’d rather not drive, the Mount Washington Cog Railway chugs leaf-peepers to the summit by train. The narrated trip takes about an hour each way. Passengers get an hour to explore the summit, including several short hiking trails, the Mount Washington Observatory, gift shops, restrooms and a snack bar. Reservations are recommended.
If you go… The train ride costs $78 for the steam engine and $72 for the biodiesel train for adults; $41 for either train for children; $72 for the steam engine train and $68 for biodiesel for seniors. A one-way hiker ticket is $51.
Stowe Auto Toll Road, Stowe
Leaf-peepers can drive instead of hike up Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain, on the historic Toll Road . The trip offers sweeping vistas of the central Vermont valleys and mountains including views of Lake Champlain and New York’s Adirondack Mountains in the distance. Some vehicles are prohibited.
If you go … The cost is $24 for car and driver; $9 for additional passengers aged 5 and up; and children aged 4 and under are free. The road is open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 14, weather permitting.
AERIAL VIEWS: TAKE A GONDOLA OR CHAIRLIFT TO THE TOP
Loon Mountain, Lincoln
Loon Mountain’s Gondola Skyride runs to the top of the 2,733-foot (833-meter) summit daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On top visitors can take in the view from a 360-degree observation tower, walk on a nature trail or check out prehistoric glacial caves.
If you go… The cost is $18 for adults; $13 for juniors aged 6 to 12; and $16 for seniors aged 65-79. Children 5 and under are free. The gondola runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 14.
Mount Snow, West Dover
Get whisked into the air for a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Mount Snow in southern Vermont.
If you go… The cost is $15. Children 6 and under are free with a parent or guardian. The Bluebird Express scenic chairlift ride operates Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 14, depending on the weather. The lift also will be open Wednesday, Oct. 3, Thursday, Oct. 4 and Monday, Oct. 8 for the foliage season.
Stowe Mountain Resort, Stowe
Ride the Stowe Gondola Skyride to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain, where you can hike or have lunch at the Cliff House Restaurant.
If you go… The cost is $29 for adults; $20 for children aged 5-12; and children aged 4 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. The gondola runs daily 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 14, weather permitting.