Massachusetts Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide
Massachusetts fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Massachusetts fall foliage. — Nick Romano
Middlesex Fells Reservation
"Fells" is the Saxon word for "rocky, hilly tracts of land," and visitors to Spot Pond in the Middlesex Fells Reservation would have little problem identifying why. But visitors to this Massachusetts reservation might also rightly believe it was the word for "maple," as sugar, red, Norway, Japanese, ornamental Amur, and the rare striped species all vie for maple supremacy. With its 2,575 acres of rock formations and pine and beech trees -- it's not just maples -- visitors to Middlesex Fells can experience a plethora of outdoor activities, less than 10 miles from Boston.
Woodland Road, Stoneham, MA, 02180 | Get Directions
The Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts is “more than a trail,” it’s “a quest”. Also known as “The Indian Path,” the Mohawk was once the most traveled route of post-glacial civilizations. (Wow -- take that in for a second!) Today, it follows Route 2 east-west in the Western third of Massachusetts -- and its one of the most popular fall-foliage drives in New England. Beyond the astounding reds, oranges and yellows of the sugar maples and other species, there are also many attractions in the area, such as the Bridge of Flowers, a formerly abandoned bridge now decked with perennials and annuals. But start your quest at the incomparable Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCa) in North Adams. Its outdoor sculptures will rev you up for the outside art of the natural world.
1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA 01247 | Get Directions
The Berkshires is a popular vacation destination in Western Massachusetts that encapsulates a number of towns, campgrounds, orchards and even a portion of the Appalachian Mountains. Berkshire County, notes Berkshires.org, is on the cusp of a change in forest habitats, from the oak-dominated forests of just below it and the sugar-maple ones to its north and east. It is the clash of the two species that gives the Berkshires its "distinctive palette." There are so many charming towns in the area, but do start your quest in Stockbridge, home of the historic Red Lion Inn (dates back to the late 18th Century) and the Norman Rockwell Museum. Can you get more quaint than fall foliage and Rockwell?
The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA 01262 | Get Directions
Excellent fall colors from Petersham, Massachusetts.
Did we miss a Massachusetts fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.
LeafQuest Special: Read two-time Pulitzer-nominee Joyce Millman's take on California vs. New England foliage.
LeafQuest Special: Read Atlantic columnist James Parker's take on New England foliage.
Interested in more stories about Massachusetts? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.