Autumn is breathtakingly beautiful in the North Country, as the region’s leaves turn from green to brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow. It’s a spectacular show by Mother Nature that draws people to the area from around the country and around the world.
The region’s fall colors are on full display in the North Country several weeks ahead of the rest of New Hampshire and most of New England. The leaves begin changing around Labor Day and peak over the last two weeks of September.
Colorful fall foliage can be seen all over the North Country; you would need to close your eyes to miss it. However, some places truly stand out for their beauty and scenery, providing visitors with amazing opportunities for viewing fall foliage whether they are hiking, paddling or ATVing
For those who enjoy hiking, a climb to the top of 3,360-foot Mount Magalloway in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, provides sweeping views of the area’s fall colors. Another popular hiking destination in the fall is Dixville Notch, where hikers can enjoy dramatic views from Table Rock or take on the more challenging Sanguinary Ridge Trail, which has several scenic lookouts. To the south, visitors can enjoy scenic fall hikes in Nash Stream Forest or the 13 Mile Woods.
Great fall hikes are also plentiful across the Connecticut River in northeast Vermont. A roughly half hour climb to the top of Brousseau Mountain provides visitors with incredible views of the region’s vast wilderness and the White Mountains to the south. Monadnock Mountain is one of the region’s tallest peaks and provides hikers with a rewarding climb. Visitors will also enjoy exploring the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge. This area of the refuge has more than 26,600 acres of conifer and deciduous forest interspersed with forested wetlands, peatlands and shrub swamps.
Paddling is another great option for viewing fall foliage, as the region’s lakes and rivers feature beautiful tree-lined shores and great opportunities for viewing wildlife. Lake Umbagog, on New Hampshire’s border with Maine, is a large lake surrounded by scenic wilderness and mountains. East Inlet in Pittsburg provides paddlers with beautiful views of surrounding hills without any hint of civilization. Lake Francis and Back Lake also provide paddlers with gorgeous scenery, as do the region’s popular Connecticut Lakes and the Connecticut River.
Perhaps the most exciting way to view the area’s fall colors is by using an ATV. Visitors can use ATVs to reach remote wilderness areas that would be hard to access any other way. The region’s Ride the Wilds trail system provides miles of remote, easy-to-navigate trails that not only offer great scenery, but also are a lot of fun.
For leaf-peepers who enjoy seeing fall colors from the comfort of their own cars, the North Country is home to many scenic roads that make for great road trips. Route 26 from Colebrook to Errol provides beautiful scenery and dramatic views as it cuts through Dixville Notch. The route can even be turned into a wonderfully scenic loop. From Errol, take Route 16 south toward Berlin and then Route 110 west to Route 3, which you can follow north back to Colebrook. The entire loop provides amazing scenery with beautiful forests and mountain views. Another scenic road is Route 145 between Colebrook and Pittsburg, which has views of gorgeous farmlands and distant hills.