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Best Fall Foliage Spots in Massachusetts

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Posted on October 06, 2022

During October, the trees in Massachusetts begin their preparation for winter. For that, their leaves display brilliant fiery colors over huge swathes of the state. Massachusetts is famous for the history of the American Revolution as well as fantastic seafood, but the fall foliage is one of the biggest draws.

There are certain places in the state where the best fall foliage spots in Massachusetts offer spectacular views of this magnificent experience, and you will find those listed below. No need to wonder if you missed something great because we are starting with the best.

The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts

The Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut are an extension of the Appalachian Mountains. It is an extremely beautiful area called the Berkshire Plateau that has been developed to attract visitors to view the natural fall colors, attend music and art festivals and enjoy summer and winter sports.

Early to mid-October is the time you need to plan to see the best fall foliage in Massachusetts. It usually begins high in the Berkshires around Columbus Day weekend, and gradually reaches the valleys as the weather cools.

Take a Hike

view from Mount Greylock

Mount Greylock is the place to go to get a spectacular view of the colors of fall. You will follow in the footsteps of Thoreau and Melville who loved the mountain. The Cheshire Harbor Trail is a four to five-hour hike but well worth the effort. There is a Veterans War Memorial Tower on the summit of the mountain. You can also drive to the summit and there is a restaurant there, too.

Other spots are the hike to Monument Mountain, Stony Ledge, Bash Bish Falls, and Olivia’s Outlook, all excellent places to enjoy the coming of winter.

Amazing Road Trips and Trails

view from Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail, or Route 2, is a historic road that winds throughout the northern Berkshire Mountains. The tour either starts or ends at Greenfield in the east to North Adams in the west. You can take a side trip to the summit of Mount Greylock, so no one has to miss the view at the top if they can’t make the hike.

In the town of Greenfield, you may take a walk at Rocky Mountain Park along the Connecticut River. You pass through forested ridges and hills along the valley that present an amazing display of color. There are also hiking and biking trails, and a place to rest at Poet’s Seat Tower.

A little west of Greenfield is Shelburne Falls. It’s on Route 2 and is the home of the Bridge of Flowers which is open from April 1 to October 30. There is also a majestic waterfall nearby. If you want to immerse yourself in the fall foliage, try ziplining through the brilliantly colored trees.

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation is located in South Deerfield on the western side of the Connecticut River. There are two state parks, North Sugarloaf Mountain and South Sugarloaf Mountain, and the views of the Connecticut River and Pioneer Valley with farmland and white church steeples are stunning. It’s like looking at a miniature landscape, and in the fall its colors are breathtaking.

Painted Hills

The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary covers about 1,100 acres of protected forest with a wildlife sanctuary. It is at the foot of Lenox Mountain and there are many hiking trails throughout the area. In October, due to the type of trees in the forest, it looks like it was painted brilliant orange, dark crimson, and polished gold. If it’s colorful fall foliage you want, this is a great place to go in early October.

Do All the Leaves Turn Orange?

fall foliage colors in Berkshires

The fall foliage in Massachusetts comes in a wide range of colors. Here are a few fall colors you can expect to see, along with the types of trees:

• Brilliant scarlet – Red maple

• Golden bronze – Hickories

• Purplish red – Dogwood

• Orange red - Sugar maple

• Golden yellow – Yellow poplar and aspen

• Glowing yellow – Black maple

Along with natural beauty, Lenox has a famous music festival at Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony Orchestra also performs there. You can visit the magnificent estate of Edith Wharton nearby.

Massachusetts is also famous for its cranberry bogs. This is the state where 30% of all the cranberries in the world are grown. The bogs are flooded so the betties grow at the top. The bright red cranberries grow close together and seem to go on forever. At Benson’s Pond, you can put on waders and jump into the bog to pick cranberries. If you like the idea of picking fruit, there are plenty of farms that allow you to pick apples.

Other fall activities that happen throughout Massachusetts are in pumpkin patches. Resplendent with fall colors, they have hayrides, petting zoos, and, of course, pumpkin pie. If you are traveling with young children, they will love this even more than looking at brightly colored trees.