The Lake Champlain Region offers wonderful ways to enjoy fall foliage. Each of these ways offers delightful variations.
The differences in microclimate between sea level and the tops of the mountains mean enough scenery to fill a day, a weekend, or a week. With the time it takes to drive from the coast to inland, or to hike from the bottom of the mountain to the top, you can experience different time frames of the leaves turning.
From the lone bright flame among the green that is the early stages of leaf turning to the glorious gold at the end of season, fall color is abundant in the Adirondacks.
In the forest
I like to go to the source. The beauty of a forest during the autumn color is partly the close views we can get of the many leaf species, and the glowing power of the sun shining through them.
Noblewood Trail is a great choice because it's both a hike and a beach walk.The trail to the beach has only one steep slope, and then it's flat waterfront with interesting shorelines and distant mountains.
For more vistas, There are mountains to climb that are shorter and gentler than their big brothers deeper in the Adirondacks. A favorite is the old truck road that is the Belfry Mountain Trail. An easy hike is to the summit of Beltry Mountain, and for even more views continue on to the fire tower at the top.
Take advantage of the area's perfect position between the sixth-largest lake in North America, the Vermont mountains across the water, and the grandeur of the Adirondack mountains to the west. Choose from many wonderful hikes.
Across the street
The historic neighborhoods of the Lake Champlain Region's small towns are historic districts where the bright leaves accent classic American architecture. Most towns have walking tours that combine places of interest with scenic vantage points.
The Keeseville Walking Tour is a great one for bridge fans. I always seek these out for my photographs because they give me a scenic advantage of shooting from the middle of a river, without getting wet. The elevation will include more of the trees, buildings, and river features which creates an atmosphere around our fall compositions.
This was a town built around the water power of the Ausable River rushing to the lake, and the buildings reflect the aspirations of the commerce this source made possible.
The Westport Walking tour includes lovely Ballard Park, a lakeshore location with an outdoor ampitheatre. This was a playground of the Gilded Age yachting set, and the abundant mansions and lookout points reflect this time period.
Explore the possibilities of all the walking tours.
Over the water
Most of the Lake Champlain Region borders the lake. Take advantage of the beauty of its craggy shoreline and protected forest areas. Don't miss our paddling and boating possibilities this time of year.
A kayak along the shoreline is a way of getting breathtaking pictures that are not available from many other vantage points. A small craft on the water makes it easy to get just the right angle and distance and to find brand new perspectives.
I find my kayak to be an invaluable meditation aid. There's something about being suspended between "two blues," that is, the sky and the water, that is both literally and symbolically centering.
On the road
Scenic drive? All you need to know is Route 9N. It hugs the shoreline all along the coast offering great views and fun stops.
In the north is the "Grand Canyon of the East," or Ausable Chasm, which is an amazing natural gorge the Ausable River has carved out of the sandstone cliffs. There's plenty of waterfall action here!
Whether you are on two wheels or four, quiet lanes abound that explore the meadows and mountains which offer great water views, too.
Along the way, there are boat launches. This is my pro-tip for easy parking and accessible shoreline for pictures. Check out the interesting downtowns for lunch, shopping, and other exploring.
Towards the southern end, there's a must-stop at Gunnison Lakeshore Orchards, where the gift shop is filled with fresh apples, homemade baked treats, interesting Adirondack crafts and gifts, and all the joy of the harvest season.
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