There’s nothing quite like fall in Connecticut.
It’s a magical time of year that brings dazzling colors and mesmerizing landscapes to the fore.
Timing a trip to Connecticut to coincide with the tumbling of golden, scarlet, and mocha leaves is always a brilliant idea.
We’re sure you’ve heard all about New England in the fall. And if you haven’t, the Instagram posts and coffee table books of Connecticut fall foliage have got you dreaming of an unforgettable break once the summer sunshine fades.
Here’s a guide to our favorite Connecticut fall foliage driving routes.
The best fall foliage driving routes in Connecticut
Connecticut is blessed with some of the finest, most awe-inspiring fall scenery on the planet. A veritable treasure trove of seasonal scenes, this is the place to be if you’re keen to experience this wonderful season in all its glory.
At Stanton House Inn, we’re ideally placed to enjoy some of the most fabulous fall foliage driving routes in the state.
We urge our guests to get out and about and enjoy the ever-changing palette of colors that comes alive against the backdrop of clear, crisp skies. There are hundreds of routes that afford breathtaking scenic views, but some are extra special. Here’s a few of our favorite driving routes, starting with road trips that are local to us in Greenwich.
One of the best-loved drives in the state, the Merritt Parkway comes alive in the fall, as the trees change color.
The trees and ground are covered by a patchwork quilt of orange, terracotta, golden, yellow, maroon, and brown.
The route, a limited access parkway, is nestled in the heart of Fairfield County. It runs from the border with New York in Greenwich to Stratford’s Housatonic River. This road is not accessible to trucks and buses, making it a much calmer drive. It’s an idyllic stretch that showcases New England in the fall at its finest. Famed for its natural beauty, brought to life by an abundance of imposing trees, this route is also known for its collection of Art Deco bridges. These unique structures were built during the 1930s and 1940s and they add to the stunning aesthetic of the scenery.
If you’re keen to travel further afield and explore more of the local area and its spectacular fall foliage vistas, there’s more to explore. It is possible to head north from the Merritt Parkway and make for the towns of Danbury and New Milford. As such, you can drive a loop which takes you back south to Fairfield County and the Merritt Parkway.
En route to the Merritt Parkway, there are several places to stop and enjoy the autumnal scenery. An easy stop in Greenwich is the Audubon Center. Further along the route, leaf peeping is a popular activity at the nature centers in New Canaan and Stamford. And of course the Bartlett Arboretum is a highlight for any fall itinerary.
2) Greenwich to Litchfield Hills
The Litchfield Hills are renowned for their beauty all year-round. That said, there’s something enchanting and ethereal about this area in the fall. It’s a kaleidoscopic patch adorned with tiny, charming villages, rustic churches, and rolling hills flanked by trees decorated with sunset-hued leaves.
This is a perfect drive to capture photographs and get a sense of why people from every corner of the globe rave about fall in New England.
Starting off in Greenwich, the drive will take you along the coast before heading north along Route 7. The jaw-dropping colors are the main draw of this route. For those keen to combine sightseeing with snapping away and enjoying the views, there are several points of interest to enjoy en route:
3) Route 136
Route 136 is a historic track, which locals call a back road. While this drive may not ease the fastest travel times, it’s a fabulous route to enjoy fall foliage. Covering 20 miles of prime Fairfield County territory, this stretch of tarmac affords incredible views. And once you’re away from the coast, it’s wonderful to be able to experience the isolation and peace of being off the beaten track.
Route 136 ends close to Devil’s Den Preserve, which has the best fall hiking trails for fall foliage views in Connecticut.
4) Route 7
Route 7 starts in urban Norwalk along the coast before heading inland and uphill.
Closer to the Connecticut shoreline, Route 7 will introduce you to the cute towns of Wilton and Ridgefield. Head further north past Danbury to find well-known fall foliage destinations like New Milford, Kent, and even Great Barrington, Massachusetts in the Berkshires.
We’re close to the border with New York. And in our opinion, it’s well worth crossing the lines to explore scenic drives and leaf peeping hotspots in nearby Westchester County. Towering trunks line the roads that lead to Kingsland Point Park. And it’s possible to enjoy panoramic views of Hook Mountain and the Palisades from the Tappan Zee Bridge. The Hudson River walk is also a perfect spot to stretch your legs and get some fresh air after your drive.
A few other options include:
5) Taconic State Parkway
The beautiful Taconic State Parkway is the longest state parkway in New York State. The twists and turns of the parkway were designed by landscape architect Gilmore Clarke to give drivers sweeping views of the surrounding scenery.
6) Route 9 along the Hudson River
While often busy as it follows the Hudson River, Route 9 winds through the riverside towns of Westchester County.
It passes historic sites like Kykuit and Sunnyside and provides a glimpse into beautiful towns like Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Cold Spring, and Beacon. It’s also passes through Hudson Highlands State Park.
7) Route 6, heading east from Peekskill
Heading away from the more populous Hudson River and the formerly industrial city of Peekskill, Route 6 enters more bucolic scenery as it heads towards New England.
Sweeping views of reservoirs, quiet small towns, and fall foliage galore awaits on this drive uphill towards Danbury, Connecticut.
8) Leaf peeping in the local area near Greenwich, CT
It’s blissful to drive for miles and miles at a languid pace in pursuit of the best fall foliage shots in Connecticut. Yet the Greenwich area is blessed with such spectacular scenery that you don’t have to plan a week-long road trip to enjoy the views. Close to the heart of downtown Greenwich, there’s a host of tracks, routes, and paths you can take on foot or on two or four wheels. For the best hiking to discover the best fall foliage views in Greenwich, we recommend the Mianus River State Park and Babcock Preserve.
Making the most of fall in Connecticut
Fall is the most magical time of year to visit Connecticut, and we’re on hand at Stanton House Inn to ensure guests make the most of the season. There are always events going on in Greenwich and other local towns. You can get involved in all sorts of fall activities in Connecticut, everything from:
- apple bobbing
- choosing the best pumpkins at the patch
- fall hiking
- taking part in community festivals and gatherings