Stowe, VT is by far one of the most colorful places to visit for fall foliage in Vermont, USA. Nestled in mountains ablaze with fall colors, this charming town is straight out of a Hallmark movie set. You’ll find plenty to do with 3 days in Stowe, and we’ve highlighted our top picks for the best of Stowe, Vermont in Fall, and the surrounding areas. Bonus, they are all family friendly, so load up the kids and head out on a Vermont family road trip.
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How to Get to Stowe?
Stowe is easily accessible by car, train or plane. When flying, Burlington, VT is the closest international airport, just a 45 minute drive away from Stowe.
If taking a road trip, Stowe is quite central to many major US and Canadian cities:
- Boston: 3.5 hours
- New York: 6.5 hours
- Philadelphia: 8 hours
- Washington D.C.: 10 hours
- Montreal: 3 hours
- Toronto: 8 hours
If you are flying in, and then road tripping it, you can rent a car from any of these cities and more:
By train, Amtrak’s Vermonter passenger service leaves from Washington, DC and New York. Then passes through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
It stops in Waterbury, VT only a 15 drive away from Stowe.
Where to stay in Stowe, Vermont
Lodge at Spruce Peak
The Lodge at Spruce Peak has a wilderness resort feel which features clean and airy rooms, and suites, and a tonne of amenities.
Kids will love the year round heated pool, lawn games, fire pits, games room and kids night out program and playground.
It also includes a gondola that takes guests to the top of Mt. Mansfield.
Trapp Family Lodge
The hills are alive……couldn’t resist.
The Trapp Family Lodge really caters to families and offers everything from mountain bike trails, to kids sing-alongs, crafts, nature hikes, rock climbing and more.
For the adults, there is Oktoberfest, tennis courts, massages, disc golf and a fitness centre.
Green Mountain Inn
Green Mountain Inn, is a more budget friendly cozy inn, right in Stowe, VT. Decorated with Vermont hand crafted furnishings, this eight-building resort is over 180 years old.
Visitors can enjoy amenities like a heated outdoor pool, a health club, a game room and a fire pit.
Whip Bar & Grill features local farm produce and New England microbrews, plus their country breakfast in the dining room is always a hit.
Gorgeous 2 Bedroom Condo
A stay in this gorgeous 2 bedroom condo, will have your family in reach of all Stowe activities; the recreation path, restaurants and more.
Enjoy a morning coffee on the private deck, or take the kids to the onsite indoor pool and playground. Budget friendly in style.
7 Not to Miss Fall activities in Stowe
Stowe is one of Vermont’s most loved mountain towns, known for its classic New England charm, and abundant year round outdoor activities.
Prime time for leaf peeping in Stowe runs from mid September to mid October. However, “peak foliage” is typically most visible around the last week of September and first two weeks of October.
For the latest in current conditions, check out Vermont’s Foliage Report.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Stowe, VT and nearby, that 3 days may not seem enough.
Looking for more year round ideas? Check out our complete list of the top things to do in Stowe, VT year round.
1. Hiking in Stowe, VT and Nearby
There are many family friendly trails that will take you past stunning mountain fall scenery, that will have you and your kids skipping along, eager to explore the area.
Barnes Camp Loop at Smugglers’ Notch State Park
The Barnes Camp Loop is the perfect fall nature walk for families. The easy 1.5 mile stroll along winding wetlands connects to sections of the Long Trail.
Access the trail at either the Barnes Camp Visitor Center or the Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area.
It includes an easy, flat stroll along a boardwalk to a dirt trail with stunning views of the mountains and fall foliage, and even a small easy creek crossing.
Hike to Moss Glen Falls
This short and easy 20 minute return hike to Vermont’s tallest falls is a great quick getaway. It’s only a 5 minute drive from Stowe’s historic Village, and just follow the creek upstream about ¼ mile.
Be prepared for a gorgeous views. Use caution around the falls as the trail can be slippery.
Theses are just two of many family friendly hikes you could choose around Stowe, Vermont.
2. Indulging in Vermont’s food favorites
Seasonal favorites on the Vermont fall foodie front include apple cider and maple syrup. As a Canadian, maple syrup tasting is definitely top of our list. Not to mention a Ben & Jerry’s Factory, creperie, local breweries and restaurants. Your taste buds are in for a treat.
Fun fact: Apples are the state fruit of Vermont.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Go apple cider tasting at one of the best spots in Vermont, Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Not only will you be able to taste the best apple cider around, you’ll want to try their apple cider donuts and take a tour of their cider making process.
For the adults, the Cider Tasting Room is open daily from 11:00 to 4:00. Leave time to visit their gift shop full of local Vermont tasty treats.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill is only a 10-15 minute drive away in Waterbury, Vermont, and a 5 minute drive from the Ben and Jerry’s factory.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
The original Ben and Jerry’s started in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont in 1978. Their first factory was built in Waterbury Factory in 1985.
Now you take a take a factory tour or buy ice cream treats from their Scoop Shop and gifts from the Outdoor Gift Kiosk.
Make sure not to miss the hilarious odes to failed / retired ice cream flavors in their “flavor graveyard.” A day trip to this area is well worth the short drive.
The scoop shop is open 11:00am-6:00pm daily. The factory and inside shops will open late June 2022.
Fun Facts: Ben & Jerry’s manufactures upwards of 350,000 pints per day. It’s their only factory open to the public.
Visit Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm
Is there anything more decadent than maple syrup? I think not.
For a taste of the world famous Vermont maple syrup head down to Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm.
Located six miles from the village, they are part of the scenic view from Trapp Meadow. Visit the quintessential log cabin retail room to buy local maple products and browse their small museum display.
Where to eat in Stowe?
Besides apple cider and maple syrup, Stowe is known for its farm-to-table scene, and local breweries. Many restaurants source ingredients directly from local farmers. We’ve put together our list of top three local and traveler favorites.
All Day Breakfast – The Skinny Pancake
The Skinny Pancake is the top choice for delicious sweet or savory crepes. Try the Johnny Crepe, a VT maple BBQ pulled pork, caramelized onions and cheddar filled crepe.
That is making my mouth water just thinking about it.
They started serving crepes out of a cart made of wood scraps, then a veggie-oil powered bus, to now having grown to over 8 locations in Vermont.
Their commitment to sustainability and supporting local producers is a great reason to support this business.
Pizza for Lunch – Piecasso
Piecasso has been an institution in Stowe for over 50 years. Drawing on the founders Sicilian heritage, Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta are made with local ingredients. Burgers, wings and meat and veggie pies are also on the menu.
They strive to create community and “a refuge from the norm.” Game room and kids menu for the kidlets.
Super popular so make reservations if going during peak times.
Family Friendly Dining for Dinner – Idletyme
Idletyme Brewing Co is the best combo of delicious food, on site brewery and family friendly vibe. They partner with a wide variety of local producers to bring you unique and fresh takes on salad, burgers, and pub fare.
One of the best patios in Stowe, you can view the fall colors as you dine. They serve lunch and dinner daily and have a kids menu.
3. Gondola Ride to top of Mt. Mansfield
Get ready for panoramic views from the top of Vermont’s tallest mountain – Mount Mansfield. Ride the gondola skyride at Stowe Mountain Resort to the top.
Here you’ll also find access to hiking trails and The Waffle restaurant (for quick bites & . Usually Open daily mid June to mid October 10am – 4:30pm.
4. Visit the Trapp Family Lodge
Any time of year is a great time to pay homage to the Von Trapp family made famous by the Sound of Music. The Von Trapp family settled in Vermont in the 1940’s, after fleeing Austria. The Lodge is still run by the youngest Von Trapp son today.
You can grab a snack at the Trapp Kauffehaus, take a tour of the lodge to learn about their history or rent a bike and tour one of their 20 miles of mountain bike trails.
Complete with epic views, this is a fall foliage delight.
Book a stay at the Trapp Family Lodge here.
5. Scenic Drive through Smugglers’ Notch
Take a short road trip to Smugglers’ Notch heading on highway 108 that takes you south from Stowe, north to Jefffersonville.
Admire the fall foliage New England is so famous for, while winding through breathtaking forests, rocky outcrops and must see view points.
It takes about 1 hour to drive the whole route from Stowe to Jeffersonville. The Notch itself is part of the 3.5-mile Scenic Byway known as Vermont’s most dramatic road.
Fun fact: This route was used to smuggle goods after the 1807 trade embargo against Canada, President Thomas Jefferson imposed. As well as to smuggle alcohol during prohibition.
You can book a stay at the family friendly village of Smugglers’ Notch Resort.
Places to stop along the way include:
- Percy Corn Maze – Be adventurous and take a chance at the local corn maze. Takes between 30 and 40 minutes, and is easily accessed via the Stowe Recreation Path. When heading north on Route 108, park at Thompson Park, follow the Recreation Path north, just over the bridge, and the corn maze will be on your left.
- Bingham Falls – Further along route 108 you’ll find Bingham Falls. The hike down to the falls is a fairly steep 1/2 mile out and back trail. Plan for at least 30-60 minutes and wear good shoes. Keep an eye on children as certain sections are close to the edge of the gorge.
- Stowe Mountain Resort – Take the gondola skyride to the top for epic views.
6. Bike along Stowe Recreation Path
The Stowe Recreation Path is a four season greenway running from Stowe Village to Top Notch Resort on Mountain Road. Its flat, 5.3 mile (8.5km) paved trail is the perfect place to take a bike ride in warmer weather.
You’ll pass excellent fall scenery such as covered bridges, farms, swimming holes. Plus you’ll find easy accessible shops and restaurants along the way. What a fun way to tour the town.
Rent a bike at AJ’s, they offer trolleys, bike seats etc to accommodate your littlest cyclists.
Be sure to stop at these iconic Stowe, Vermont shops when in town:
- Laughing Moon Chocolates
- The Boutique for women’s clothing
- Once Upon a Time Toys
- Stowe Mercantile – for gifts and souvenirs
7. Photograph the Gold Brook Covered Bridge
Head down Stowe Hollow Road to visit the picturesque Gold Brook Covered Bridge, aka Emily’s Bridge.
Not only is it the oldest Howe Truss bridge in Vermont, it’s thought to be haunted by Emily’s ghost. Emily’s Bridge is especially pretty in fall with the leaves in vibrant colors all around.
Fun fact: Vermont is home to the most covered bridges per square mile in the USA.
👉 Check out our top ideas for Fall in Rhode Island with kids – more fun foliage ideas
3 Day Family Friendly Itinerary Stowe, Vermont in Fall
This 3 day Stowe itinerary captures all the highlights of what makes this area so fun in Fall. The hard part was narrowing down the many choices.
Feel free to adapt, change out or skip activities that don’t suit your families likes, ages or goals for your family trip.
Day One of the family friendly Stowe Itinerary
- Breakfast at The Skinny Pancake
- Drive Smugglers’ Notch
- Stop at Barnes Camp Visitor Center & hike the Barnes Loop Trail
- Ride the Gondola Skyride up Mount Mansfield
- Lunch at the top of the Mountain
- Get lost in the Percy Corn Maze
- Dinner at Sushi Yoshi
Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at The Skinny Pancake, before heading out on your Stowe adventures.
After breakfast take the 108 (Mountain Road) up to Smugglers Notch. Stop along the way for photo ops of gorgeous fall scenery. Stop at the Barnes Camp Visitor Center and then hike the easy 1.5 mile Barnes Loop Trail.
Drive back down to Stowe Mountain Resort for a fun gondola ride to the top of Mount Mansfield. Enjoy the panoramic view and stunning fall colors.
You have a couple of options for lunch.
Mountain top you can do a little dining with a view, at the Cliff House restaurant, reservations recommended. They serve American cuisine with a Vermont Flair (think burgers, salads, wraps and mac n’ cheese with a local twist).
There’s also The Waffle which serves you guessed it waffles, grab and go snacks and sweet treats.
On the way back down to Stowe, stop in at the Percy Corn Maze (2919 Mountain Rd). It’s fall after all.
With a backdrop of the Green Mountains you can’t go wrong. The maze should take 30 minutes to an hour. Not to worry, they keep track of everyone who goes in the maze and will check up on you if you are in there too long.
For dinner try Sushi Yoshi, part hibachi steakhouse, part sushi restaurant.
You’ll need to reserve the hibachi experience ahead of time, but not a table if sticking with sushi. Tempura, sushi rolls, Asian fusion dishes like pad thai, and Mongolian chicken, and stir fries. Something even the littlest will enjoy.
Day Two – Stowe Itinerary
- Breakfast at Cafe on Main
- Wander downtown Stowe
- Hike to Moss Glen Falls
- Lunch at Piecasso Pizzeria
- Road trip to Waterbury, VT to visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill & Ben & Jerry’s Factory
- Photos of the Gold Brook Covered Bridge
- Dinner at Idletyme Brewing Co
- Optional: Hike the Sunset Rock Trail to the Upper Overlook
As Day two begins, let’s start off with breakfast at the Cafe on Main.
Enjoy their simple but delicious menu of egg sandwiches, bagels, oatmeal or waffles. There’s also a bakery so you could grab some muffins, coffee, scones and croissants to go.
Wander around downtown Stowe window shopping, or stop in at Laughing Moon Chocolates, and Once Upon a Time toy store.
Next is a hike to Vermont’s tallest falls time!
Take Route 100 (heading towards Morrisville), then turn right onto Moss Glen Road Falls Road. Enjoy this short scenic hike winding its way along a creek to the Moss Glen Falls.
Pizza for lunch at the iconic Piecasso. Followed by family road trip time, to spend the afternoon in and near Waterbury, VT, only 15 minutes away.
Be sure to stops at Cold Hollow Cider Mill to see the apple cider making process, and Ben & Jerry’s for an ice cream factory tour. The Cider Mill closes at 4pm, so factor that in when roaming around.
On the way back to Stowe, stop at the Gold Brook Covered Bridge for some iconic Vermont photos, and maybe even see the ghost of “Emily,” said to haunt the bridge. Turn off onto Gold Brook Road until you hit a 3 way intersection, turn left onto Covered Bridge Road.
If you are still hungry for dinner after all the afternoon treats, and taste testing, grab dinner at the Idletyme Brewing Co.
After dinner, if it’s still light out, and you are looking to burn off energy after dinner, hike up the Sunset Rock Trail. Gorgeous vistas of Stowe, and Mount Mansfield await you. You have two options.
- The quickest is to drive up Taber Hill Road to the parking lot. From here it’s a short ¼ mile hike up the access road to the Upper Overlook.
- The second option is to start your hike at the end of Sunset Road. Parking is available behind the Stowe Community Church or on Main street. This short, steep hike (under an hour) starts in the heart of Stowe’s historic Village. Two hundred yards up you’ll want to stop at Sunset Rock for its view of Main Street, before continuing another ¼ mile to the Upper Overlook.
👉 More New England adventures to take:
Day Three – Stowe Itinerary
- Breakfast at Stowe Bee Bakery & Cafe
- Rent Bikes & Bike the Stowe Recreation Path
- Lunch at Ranch Camp
- Explore the Trapp Family Lodge
- Dinner at the Bierhall
Grab a quick breakfast at Stowe Bee Bakery & Cafe, before hitting the multi-use Stowe Recreation Path. The bakery has tasty breakfast sandwiches and an assortment of morning muffins and pastries. Note they are closed Monday & Tuesday.
Rent Bikes at Ranch Camp or AJ’s. Then head out on the Stowe Recreation Path. The full 5.5 mile (8.5km) trail starts next to the Stowe Congregational Church, and ends at Top Notch Resort on the Mountain Road.
You can access the trail near both bike rental places, so no need to have a bike rack, or to start at the beginning. This is a fantastic way to see the covered bridges in this area.
Lunch at Ranch Camp – Bikes, Beer and Burritos, a winning combo. This fun restaurant and bar is located at Vermont’s mountain bike base lodge. You’ll also find a full service bike shop, patio seating and easy access to the Cady Hills Mountain Bike Trail system.
The hills really are alive in Stowe in Fall, and particularly at the Trapp Family Lodge. “ A little bit of Austria… A lot of Vermont” is their motto. The resort is 2200 acres, so you won’t run out of ideas for the afternoon.
Take a history tour of the lodge & learn all about the family’s history (only able to purchase 30 days in advance, reservations required). There are also mountain biking and hiking trails you can access when paying for a day or season pass.
Experience dinner at the Bier Hall, in a massive wood beamed Austrian inspired building. Try their Austrian beer, schnitzel and Brussel sprouts fritters. They also have burgers, veggie sandwiches and grilled salmon.
3 Days in Stowe: best of Stowe Vermont in Fall
Stowe is a charming ideal place to visit year round, but especially in Autumn. Take advantage of the gorgeous mountain views, mild weather, hiking and delicious farm to table cuisine. Kids and adults will both love all Stowe, Vermont has to offer.
For more fall ideas and family travel trips check out: