Fall Foliage Hiking in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 13253A, Lodge


  • Hike in the colorful Green Mountains
  • Stay at well-appointed accommodations
  • Enjoy gourmet food


  • All meals, from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the last day
  • Round-trip shuttle to the Burlington airport
  • Double accommodation in rooms with private bath (single accommodation arranged with the leader for an extra charge) 


DatesSep 22–27, 2013
StaffLinda Cooper

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Trip Overview

The Trip

Vermont is well known for its lovely Green Mountains, rolling farmland, and charming country inns. Geologically old, the Green Mountains offer beauty and unspoiled habitat for many northern plant and animal species. These mountains also provided inspiration for Robert Frost's poetry, and many artists still call Vermont home. Enjoy Vermont's favorite season, with its abundant wildlife and scenic views of waterfalls, stone walls, mountains, and valleys adorned by a palette of autumn colors. At the end of the day, relax at well-appointed country inns.

We will hike in two different areas of Vermont on a variety of woodland trails and groomed walkways. Both areas are considered "central" in Vermont, but by moving during the week we will have the opportunity to enjoy different villages, inns, and a variety of trails. Our two inns feature comfortable, well-decorated rooms with private baths and superb meals by kitchens that compete for "best food" honors.

Vermont's fall foliage is world renowned for its color and variety. We have scheduled this trip during foliage season, and we can guarantee plenty of color, but the color is influenced by many factors, and we can't guarantee that foliage will be at its peak. We will gather on the afternoon of day one for orientation and an opening dinner at our first inn, in Brandon, Vermont (near Middlebury). The nearest large airport is in Burlington, about 40 miles from Middlebury. Round-trip airport shuttle service is provided by the trip leaders. Each day we will offer a choice of hikes -- long, short, difficult, or easy. You can choose to do as much or as little as you wish before we return to our cozy inn.


Day 1: You'll be picked up at the airport before getting acquainted with the other participants. We'll have an orientation and dinner, then stay overnight in Brandon.

Day 2: After breakfast, we'll depart at 9 a.m. to hike at Rattlesnake Cliff or Silver Lake, visit Stephen A. Douglas' birthplace, and explore Brandon. We'll have free time in the afternoon, then meet for dinner. Our overnight is at Lilac Inn.

Day 3: Today we'll hike the White Rocks and Ice Bed Trails. In the afternoon, we'll visit the Maple Museum on the way home. We'll enjoy dinner together and spend the night again at Lilac Inn.

Day 4: We'll pack up the vans and make a move to the town of Waitsfield, about an hour from Middlebury. Along the way we will follow the footsteps of Robert Frost to his favorite summer writing cabin at the Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College. We'll stay overnight in Waitsfield.

Day 5: We'll hike Mad River Greenway, and stay overnight in Waitsfield.

Day 6: We will experience a morning hike with the award-winning naturalists at Mad River Glen Ski area before returning to the airport for our journeys home. Plan your return flight for after 2 p.m.



Getting There

A shuttle from the airport in Burlington, VT to our first inn is included in the price of the trip. Please plan to be at the airport no later than 2:00 p.m. on the first day. This will allow time to get to the inn in time for dinner on our first night together. Airlines servicing Burlington are US Airways, United, Jet Blue, Delta, Continental, and Northwest. If you plan to drive, directions will be sent to you after you are registered for the trip.

Accommodations and Food

We will stay in two country inns in Central Vermont for this trip. Our first inn is in the town of Brandon and the second is in the town of Waitsfield, about a one-hour drive from each other. Both inns have well-decorated rooms with private bath and provide excellent meals. In fact, Vermont inns have been accused of competing with one another when it comes to cooking. Single accommodation may be arranged through the leader if you wish.

Trip Difficulty

You should be in good/very good physical condition and accustomed to hiking several miles at a time. Although none of these hikes is very long, some do include substantial (up to 1,200-foot) elevation gains.

Each day we will try to offer hikes of different lengths that allow you to do as much or as little as you wish. Our shortest hike is less than one mile, offered on the Robert Frost Day when we do several short hikes. Our longest hike is eight miles, offered on Thursday, if you choose to do the longer version of the Mad River Greenway. With two leaders, we can offer greater flexibility and you truly can decide each day if you wish to do more or less. 

Equipment and Clothing

A detailed list of what to bring and driving directions will be provided to confirmed participants. We will also periodically provide trip roster updates so you can arrange carpools if desired.

You will need layers of clothing for protection from rain and the vagaries of mountain weather. Bring broken-in hiking boots (with ankle support) and a full rainsuit. Hiking poles, cameras, and binoculars are also recommended. Bring a day pack that will hold extra clothing, food, and your raingear; a personal first-aid kit (Band-Aids, moleskin, etc.); toiletry items; and of course any regular medicines. We will be happy to discuss clothing and equipment details with applicants and will provide a full list of items to bring closer to the date of the trip.



  • Poetry of Robert Frost.
  • Meeks, Harold, Time and Change in Vermont, A Human Geography.



We will be hiking in and near the Green Mountain National Forest. On one morning we will take a guided hike with a noted local naturalist to see wildlife. He will also provide us with information about forest-related issues. When on the trails we will always follow Leave No Trace protocol.


Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from Green Mountain National Forest.



Linda Cooper


Dr. Gail Tooker teaches Science and Environmental Education at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. She has been active in Sierra Club trips since 2003 and has served as an assistant leader for four trips in Maine and Vermont. Dr. Tooker received her advanced degrees from the University of Maine at Orono and lived in that state for nearly 20 years before moving to upstate New York in 1996 to work for SUNY.

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