Fall Foliage in Connecticut 2024

Historic Town Festivals, Farm Visits & Colorful Vistas

Connecticut shows its brightest colors in early October. Best places to visit are the wooded areas of the state, like the Northwest Hills, the hilly Eastern parts of the state north of the Mystic, CT area, and upscale Fairfield County which is an quick drive or train ride from New York City. All these places have delightful small towns and gorgeous scenic drives.

The fall colors are just part of the natural charm of Connecticut. The capital city of Hartford, CT has a beautiful city park, Bushnell Park, while New Haven, CT hosts the larger and more rugged East Rock Park. And around the state you'll find vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail that host harvest season events and tastings in fall.

Essential Information:

<-- Back to Foliage in New England

Fall Fishing in Litchfield County CT - Fall Foliage in Connecticut 2023 - Photo Credit Shutterstock

Foliage Driving Routes in Connecticut

Litchfield County & Northwest CT:

New Milford, Kent, and Mount Tom State Park -- 46 miles

This drive will take travelers past the Housatonic River, famous for fly fishing and white water rafting; near two covered bridges; and through Kent, CT and its many art galleries, historic homes and churches; Washington, CT and its Institute for Native American Studies, and Mount Tom State Park. The Appalachian Trail passes through this area, and opportunities for day hikes are plentiful.

Covered Bridge - Connecticut Fall Foliage in Litchfield, New Milford, Kent, Mount Tom - Photo Credit Housatonic.com
Points of Interest:
  • Two covered bridges in the area are Bull's Bridge in Kent, CT and Kent Falls Bridge in Kent Falls State Park. Bull’s Bridge is a historic bridge, built in 1842; the Kent Falls bridge is a 1970s-era re-creation of a historic structure.
  • Iron Mountain Preserve in Kent, CT: Stop for a 1.5-mile walk on a loop trail through varied forest and woodlands. Your host is the Nature Conservancy.
  • The House of Books, also in Kent, CT, is packed with high-quality literature; a whole rooms of children's books; cards, music and gifts. The town is on the Appalachian Trail and the store specializes in maps, trail guides, books on local lore and the out-of-doors.
Side Trips:
  • Travel a few miles north on Route 7 beyond Calhoun Corners, through Housatonic Meadows State Park, and into Cornwall, CT to see the West Cornwall covered bridge, which carries Route 128 across the Housatonic River. This area is famous for its great fall foliage, too.
  • Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield, CT: Swimming and boating in the lake, hiking to a fire tower 1,325 feet above sea level.
  • Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT: Visit this museum to learn about the area’s first human residents. See the sachem’s house classroom, children’s discovery room, replicated Algonquian village, simulated archaeological excavation site.
  • Kent Coffee and Chocolate Co. in Kent, CT: The cure for low energy, before or after a glorious hike in the Litchfield countryside. Come enjoy and take home gourmet chocolates and handmade desserts and truffles. Lots of interesting coffees, teas, and smoothies.
  • Hopkins Vineyard in Warren, CT: Located just north of Lake Waramaug, this farm has been in operation and owned by the same family for well over 200 years. Tastings, tours and events are regularly available.
  • Eateries in New Milford, CT show great range: The Iron Rail, featuring a range from artisan dishes and casual fare; and the Three Brothers Family Restaurant, with a Greek diner-style menu and reports that the slice of carrot cake they give you is as big as your head!

Torrington to Norfolk Through People's State Forest -- 58 miles

This drive passes through many lovely small towns of northern CT, as well as the adjacent Peoples State Forest and American Legion State Forest in Barkhampstead, CT. Also near this drive is Lake McDonough, a scenic, unspoiled public recreation area.

CT State Fall Foliage - Fall View from the Patio of a Vineyard - Photo Credit Kim Tyler & CT Office of Tourism
Points of Interest:
Side Trips:
  • Warner Theater in Torrington, CT: Leaf-peaking is a daytime activity, obviously, but if you are staying in the Litchfield Hills on a long weekend, check out what’s going on at this historic theater.
  • Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, CT: Echoing the comment above, if your trip through the beautiful towns and farms of Litchfield keeps you overnight, the Infinity Music Hall is a dynamic place that brings in lots of interesting, national-caliber entertainment.
  • Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates in Goshen, CT is on the state’s Chocolate Trail. Calling itself The Home of Single Cow Origin Chocolates, Thorncrest serves chocolate in all the divine ways we have come to know and love.
  • Jerram Winery in New Hartford, CT is on the Connecticut Wine Trail - wineries and vineyards that open their doors to tours, tastings, and sometimes classes and celebrations.
Waterbury Area Loop -- 42 miles

This loop is good for people with limited time to spend. With only short stops for viewing the scenery, the trip should take less than two hours. Black Rock Park in nearby Watertown, CT offers excellent hiking, scenic views, and Indian legends. People with more time to spend should visit Waterbury, CT's Mattatuck Museum, with exhibits chronicling the industrial and cultural history of the Naugatuck Valley.

Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Brass Mill Center in Waterbury, CT: Home to great shopping, dining, activities and entertainment.
  • The Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT: A historic theater presenting concerts, musicals, stage plays and other live shows.
  • Southford Falls State Park in Oxford, CT: Hiking along the river and falls here during foliage season is quite wonderful.

Mystic County & Eastern CT:

Last Green Valley Scenic Byway -- 35 miles

The Last Green Valley is the 35-town National Heritage Corridor in northeastern Connecticut. It is a pristine and quiet spot of pretty town greens, country roads, wildlife preserves, unusual farms (alpaca, bison), wooded walking paths, calm waterways for paddling, history museums, towns with galleries and good food. Star gazing is popular; the Last Green Valley is one of the few places on the Eastern Seaboard with little nighttime light interference.

Fall Foliage in CT - Kids in a Corn Maze in Mystic's Last Green Valley - Photo Credit Farmers Cow
Points of Interest:
  • The general scope of this drive is from Norwich, CT to Woodstock, CT, following Route 169, with plenty of side trips for nature viewing, shopping, walking, and dining. Norwich, CT is an old city on three rivers. People who love interesting Colonial architecture should walk past the homes, schoolhouse, shops, and taverns on the Benedict Arnold walking trail. .
  • Connecticut Audubon’s Grassland Bird Conservation Center at 218 Day Road in Pomfret Center, CT. Walk from dawn to dark, year-round, at the Bafflin Sanctuary or the Trail Wood Sanctuary. It’s all about the birds.
  • Brooklyn, CT and the Brooklyn Green Historic District. This classic Connecticut town green is a beauty. Most buildings in the district date from 1750 to 1850.
  • Taylor Brook Winery on Route 171 in Woodstock, CT welcomes guests Fridays through Sundays for tastings, self-guided vineyard tours, picnicking on the property, and a chance to buy cheese, sausage, crackers, dips, and other treats to enjoy with your wine.
Side Trips:
  • Driving west out of Brooklyn, CT on Route 6 takes you to the James. L. Goodwin State Forest in Hampton, CT, where you can take a walk on the many trails around Pine Acres Lake or visit a native plant wildlife garden.
  • Alpaca Obsession in the town of Moosup, CT raises alpacas and angora rabbits and sells related products. Be sure to call ahead before visiting.
Dining and Shopping:
  • Woodstock, CT is stocked with shopping that you won’t find in a big-box store. Pop in at Garden Gate Florist and Gift Shop (antiques, jewelry, plants) or Scranton's Shops (antiques in a historic blacksmith shop).
  • Sweet Peas Fine Foods & Farm Market on Providence Road in Brooklyn, CT serves upscale take-out food, prepared meals, salad bar, quick cuisine, Venda Ravioli products, bakery goods, cheese. Perfect for a healthy and delicious picnic.
  • The Stomping Ground on Main Street in Putnam, CT is a friendly local hangout with good lunches and dinner, live music nightly except Mondays and Tuesdays, and open mic nights.
Mystic and Old Mystic Via River Road -- 6 miles

This drive along the tidal Mystic River, with its marsh meadows and waterfowl, is beautiful all year. From River Road, views of Mystic Seaport on the opposite bank of the river convey a shipbuilding community in the early 1800s. Downtown Mystic, CT is a delightful place to explore.

Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. Marvelous living history museum and re-creates a 1830-period New England ship building village similar to historic towns of this area. Lots of season special events celebrating coastal New England history and culture. Great fun for adults and kids.
  • Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, also in Mystic, CT: Wonderful aquarium includes Beluga whale exhibit and Titanic exhibit developed with help by Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the sunken ship.
Norwich-Woodstock Turnpike -- 32 miles

This route runs from Canterbury, CT to Woodstock, CT in the northeastern part of Connecticut known as the Quiet Corner. About 190 pre-1855 homes survive along the highway, as well as historic churches and farms. The highway winds through the towns of Lisbon, Canterbury, Brooklyn, Pomfret, and Woodstock, CT, an architectural feast surrounding a traditional town green.

Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Creamery Brook Bison in Brooklyn, CT: How often can you meet a bison? Farm welcomes visitors for special seasonal events and fun. Great for kids and families.
  • Connecticut Audubon Society Center in Pomfret, CT: Spend some time outdoors with Audubon -- it wants you to meet the wilderness.
North Stonington to Sterling on Route 49 -- 22 miles

Along this state scenic highway, travelers can see dramatic vistas from large hilltop farms. Three of those farms have been used by the same families continuously for almost 300 years. This route runs for 18 miles north to the Sterling Hill National Register Historic District. Offering views of fields and farms, it's a great way for visitors to nearby Mystic, CT in southeastern Connecticut and to extend their trip to northeastern Connecticut.

Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown (860-376-4075). The Pachaug State Forest offers trails for hikers, snowmobilers, and horseback riders.

New Haven & South Central CT

Essex to Guilford CT Shoreline loop drive -- 35 miles

This shoreline loop drive moves through the beautiful towns of Essex, Old Saybrook, Guilford and Deep River, CT, with stops at a marsh wildlife area and an ocean side state park. 35 miles. .

Connecticut Fall Foliage Trail from Essex to Guilford, CT - Photo Credit Friends of Edgewood Park
Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in Essex, CT: Enjoy a lazy ride up the lower Connecticut River in the lavish, antique railroad cars, then shift to a Mississippi-style river boat to complete your journey on the water.
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT. Connecticut's largest shoreline park with lots of smooth beach for swimming and sunning, along with a fun boardwalk.
  • Bishop's Orchards in Guilford, CT. Fun place to get out of the car, stretch, buy apples and pumpkins and autumn treats. Great for kids and families.
Side Trips:
  • On the way from Essex, CT to Old Saybrook, CT, you can take a short side trip eastward on Route 95 across the Connecticut River to Old Lyme, CT and visit the Florence Griswold Museum. This marvelous house operated in the early 1900s as a boarding house for a summer colony of New York artists, and it’s a hot spot for American Impressionism. You will see lots of art and beautiful gardens.
  • When you reach Hammonasset Beach State Park, swing northward on Route 450 for a stop in nearby Madison, CT. There you will find a great bookstore, R.J. Julia Booksellers. Excellent book selection, gifts, kids activities, and special events.
  • Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook, CT: an English style pub and restaurant with a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. Located on the state’s Signature Cocktail Trail.
  • Bufalina in Guilford: Enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza from a wood fired brick oven. Located on the state’s Pizza Trail.
  • Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT: Try a glass of their wine at their French-inspired bistro that serves lunch and dinner. Live music is presented on Friday through Saturday in the tasting room. Located on the state’s Wine Trail.
  • The Wharf Restaurant at Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, CT: Serving fresh and locally sourced foods that spotlight the flavors of the Atlantic Northeast and New England. Eat in the dining room or on the year-round porch.
Shoreline and Country Roads Drive Route -- 57 miles

This drive takes you along the Long Island Sound shore and inland among salt marshes, classic town greens, sunflowers and a fine farm stand. If you're coming from the New York/New Haven, CT area, take exit 53 off I-95 north. If you are coming from New York City, consider taking the Hutchinson River Parkway to the scenic Merritt Parkway (Route 15) as a substitute for I-95.

Connecticut Fall Foliage - Shoreline and Country Foliage Drives - Photo Credit CT Audubon Greenwich
Side Trips:
  • About 4.5 miles east of Branford, CT on Route 146, you might enjoy at small side trip to see shoreline where ferries depart for the Thimble Island Cruises. Simply take a right turn at Taken for Granite Antiquities on Leetes Island Road (which crosses Route 146) and head south on Thimble Island Road toward the village of Stony Creek, CT. After a breath of sea air or an island cruise, return to Route 146 via Thimble Island Road.
  • The Guilford, CT green is a nice place to see a classic Connecticut town center. And the Guilford Art Center on Church Street may have something arty going on for your entertainment.
  • Durham, CT is the northern terminus of the loop, and from here, the directions below take you back southward. For a short trip for pick-your-own apples, sunflowers, baked goods, and a great farm stand, head a little north out of Durham along routes 17 to 147 to Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT.
  • The shoreline is not the best place to see foliage, but if you love ocean beaches, you might want to swing over for a stop at Hammonnassett Beach State Park in Madison, CT. Truly one of the state’s finest oceanside parks, with walk and a nature center.

Greater Hartford & Central CT:

Talcott Mountain State Park and Heublein Tower -- 7 miles

Talcott Mountain State Park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Distinct geographical formations date back to ancient times. It also is home to Gilbert Heublien's unique summer estate, dating to 1914, which is open to the public.

Nearby Points of Interest:
  • Talcott Mountain State Park, 57 Gun Mill Road, Bloomfield (860-242-1158)
  • Penwood State Park, 57 Gun Mill Road, Bloomfield (860-242-1158)
  • Heublein Tower, Summit Ridge Drive, Bloomfield (860-242-1158). Gilbert Heublein was a German hotelier and restaurateur in Hartford and a developer of gourmet food. He built the Tower in 1914 as a summer vacation home for his family. The tower is open only in summer, but the property is accessible year-round for hiking and wildlife viewing.