Connecticut is known for many things, and having gorgeous scenery of nature is one of them. Each season is met with sights unique to the state, but the fall foliage is one of the most beautiful sights in CT.
The leaf colors get to be very vivid, and following a rainy spring, they can get even prettier.
The northwest and northeast parts of Connecticut are lucky to enjoy the fall season beginnings first, but by early October, the Connecticut River Valley and towns along the shoreline can all bask in the beautiful fall weather and foliage.
There are a select few towns that are best to visit if you want to see the best fall foliage in Connecticut. With scenic car routes, quaint downtowns, cuisine options, and hiking trails, the trips to these best fall foliage spots make for great memorable experiences.
According to Connecticut’s Office of Tourism, we have the longest season of foliage in all of New England, so we’re the premier destination for foliage lovers!
If you’re planning a trip to some fall foliage parts, our list of where to find the best fall foliage in CT will help you make the right choice!
Where to find the best fall foliage in CT
1. Kent, Connecticut
The town of Kent is an oasis of stunning beauty, with hiking trails for all experience levels, a great downtown area, and towering hills, it is a representative New England town.
The drive includes the scenic countryside no matter which direction you are coming from, so you can stop at the Kent Falls State Park or follow the trails to the Appalachian Trail where there are more hiking and historic spots to visit.
The Housatonic River is also nearby, so your hike will include a gorgeous water view. Kent has the right balance of wilderness and natural foliage, especially in the fall.
The Macedonia Brook State Park is open, and has a few different walking trails for you to try out!
2. Danbury and New Fairfield, Connecticut
New Fairfield is a tiny town, often overlooked with its small downtown shopping center, but the hidden characteristics make the town a great destination for looking at fall foliage.
The Squantz Pond State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Connecticut, and since it’s on the Squantz Pond, it connects through miles of trailers and to the Pootatuck State Forest.
Danbury is conveniently nearby and has lots of dining options to stop at after your day of exploring fall foliage.
3. Simsbury, Connecticut
Simsbury boasts the great Talcott Mountain, where the Heublein Tower sits at 165 feet high with castle-like beauty.
It’s the perfect place to hike up and perch to take in the fall foliage. Since the 1900s, the Tower has made it easy to take in the ridgeline mountain views at the edge of real cliffs.
It makes Simsbury a must-visit for fall foliage. The town has historic houses, many acres of farms, and it is easy for both walkers and bicycle riders.
They even have a bike ride-share program that makes it easy to explore the Farmington Canal Heritage and the Farmington River Greenway!
With great drink and food options, Inns, and coffee shops, Simsbury is a great great place to enjoy the fall foliage in CT!
4. Chester and East Haddam, Connecticut
The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry is the perfect way to enjoy the fall foliage in CT since its deck is accessible to the public and overlooks the center of the Connecticut River.
The ferry carries passengers and vehicles, so it’s easy to convert from your road trip to the ferry ride. The voyage goes through all the best spots to see some fall foliage.
The castle grounds of Gillette’s Castle is the last destination after the picturesque towns of Chester and East Haddam straddle the river.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park is one of the best stops to see the fall foliage, too. Chapman Falls is absolutely stunning any time of year, but it really shines in autumn.
5. New Preston and Litchfield, Connecticut
Litchfield County has ample opportunities and destinations to see fall foliage.
With the town of New Preston so close by, it’s easy to explore all the different options. They’re like mini Vermonts with all the charm right here in Connecticut.
The 4,000 acre White Memorial Preserve is one place to see great foliage, as well as the Mount Tom State Park.
After hiking those areas, or going for a walk on the trails, there are high-quality restaurants with amazing cuisine, like Arethusa al Tavolo.
New Preston is the home of Lake Waramaug, where the scenic body of water is incredibly beautiful with the fall foliage expanding around it.
6. Putnam, Connecticut
Putnam is also called the Last Green Valley in the Quiet Corner. That’s because it is the region’s standout town when the autumnal hues change.
It has one of New England’s foliage train rides, which makes it super easy to see all kinds of fall foliage and not worry about tiring out!
Every October, the Norwich Bulletin sponsors the Fall Foliage Train excursion that starts in Norwich and goes all the way through the Shetucket River.
Putnam is a one-stop-shop for great dining, fall foliage of course, and seasonal activities like the Great Pumpkin Festival!
7. Norfolk, Cornwall, and Salisbury, Connecticut
These 3 towns have the earliest start to the fall foliage season. The northwest corner’s hills are the first stop for autumn’s beauty.
The Bear Mountain in Salisbury has the highest peak, with over 2,000 feet, you will get the most expansive view of southern New Hampshire’s Summits, and the colors of fall that are quite hypnotic!
Norfolk is a great stop for fall foliage, at the Dennis Hill State Park you can walk the trail and stop at the gazebo, at over 1,000 feet, to see the dramatic summit pavilion views.
Haystack Mountain State Park is the third place you could stop, where the granite tower on the peak gives a whole 360-view of the countryside!
Cornwall’s Mohawk State Forest is a scenic vista complete with a lookout tower!
8. Stonington and Mystic, Connecticut
The Long Island Sound has a unique view of the fall foliage in Connecticut. A drive along the Mystic River leads into the Sound, and during peak fall foliage season, the experience is vibrant and definitely worth a good photograph.
It’s best to start in east Mystic and go to downtown Mystic where it meets the river’s western bank. Once you’ve seen great fall foliage sights, it’s only natural you’d try out some of the best seafood in town!
Then, you can head east into Stonington, where the seaside town has all the New England feels and architecture to complete your foliage tour.
The Velvet Vine in Stonington is actually a cute place to stop and enjoy the fall foliage along with a glass of great wine!
9. Meriden and Middlefield, Connecticut
Right in the middle of the countryside, you’ll find Meriden’s Hubbard Park and Castle Craig.
Here, you can get some great views of fall foliage. The cliffs within the park go over 700 feet into Meriden’s northside.
The Hanging Hills of Meriden also have traprock ridges where you can drive or hike right through the fall foliage.
Middlefield is definitely for you if you’re a hiker. The views of the west side are beautiful, and the hiking trail leads to another vista where the foliage sights keep coming!
10. Essex, Connecticut
Essex holds the mighty river, part of the lower Connecticut River Valley.
There are plenty of cheerful and cozy towns, but the Chester-Hadlyme ferry makes it much easier for you to get views of fall foliage from the center of the great river.
Take the famed Essex Steam Train and Riverboat to see the foliage from the water and from land!
There you have it! If you are planning some fall foliage trips soon, then you should check out the peak foliage schedules available.
The northeast and northwest corners usually see their peak foliage in mid-October, while the western mid-state counties and eastern counties see fall foliage at the end of October.
The shoreline and the lower Connecticut River Valley areas can expect fall foliage as soon as the start of October.
There are so many options, and so many great excursions along the way, so a tour of Connecticut’s fall foliage is a fun trip waiting for you!