Fall is a spectacular time for biking in New England and upper New York State. Temperatures are delightful, bluebird days are the norm and the leaves put on a radiant display. New England and the Hudson River Valley of New York are known to have some of the most sensational fall foliage in the Northern Hemisphere primarily as a result of the abundance of native Sugar Maple trees.

Sugar Maples contain all three of the pigments that give leaves their fall color. Their leaves turn red, yellow or orange depending upon the amount of shade or sun the trees receive, on the amount of sugar trapped in the leaves and on the point in time during the season’s color progression. Trees such as Beech, Birch, Elm, Poplar, Oak, Hickory and Sumac add additional hues of red, gold, yellow, burgundy and russet to the color kaleidoscope.

There is no better way to experience this autumn brilliance than by biking right through the panoramas. The radiant fall foliage enhances cobalt skies, white-steepled churches, red barns, blue streams and classic town greens. The air is crisp and clean, leaves crunch under bike tires and the smells are earthy and rich. Biking through these scenes is sheer joy!

While there are a number of places to see autumn color in the Northeast, here are some fall foliage bike tour ideas consisting of carefully curated routes designed for the best color in the most stunningly beautiful landscapes.

Vermont Fall Foliage

According to former Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, “No one does foliage better than Vermont.” For many, Vermont is synonymous with breathtaking fall foliage. Considering the predominance of the Sugar Maple and the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges they produce, that’s no surprise. Three-quarters of the Green Mountain State is forested and it has the greatest density of maples in the entire country.

For those looking for the ideal fall foliage bike tour in Vermont, local bike tour operator Great Freedom Adventures offers, three-, four-, five- and six-day tours throughout the state. Tour packages include lodging, most or all meals, bikes, guides, vehicle support and more.

Best of Vermont Bike Tour

This six-day, five-night bike tour takes riders from Burlington in the north to Woodstock in the south-central region. Cyclists travel quiet country roads specifically selected to afford pedaling beneath radiant, multi-colored autumn canopies.

Rivers & Ridgelines Gravel Grinder Bike Tour

On this five-day, four-night tour, riders pedal a mix of dirt, gravel and paved roads designed to take riders into stunning, less-traveled backcountry. Rivers and lakes sparkle and ridgelines glow in shades of green, red and gold.

Beguiling Woodstock & Beyond Bike Tour

Over the course of four days, riders explore Woodstock, VT, considered “One of the prettiest small towns in America,” along with several of the lovely surrounding towns. Certain fall tours include guidance by an expert photographer, whose widely published photos have been featured on the covers of Yankee Magazine and Vermont Life. This fall foliage biking tour runs concurrently with the four-day Colors of Vermont Walking Tour making it an ideal choice for couples, friends or family traveling together who have different interests.

Short & Very Sweet 3-Day Vermont Bike Tour

Cyclists savor the sweet sights, tastes, smells and sounds of Vermont on a short three-day, two-night bike tour of central Vermont. Riders pedal country roads through colorful leaf canopies revealing scenes that make Vermont a photographers dream.

Hudson River Valley Fall Tours

Leaf peeping season in New York’s Hudson River Valley is sensational. Witnessing the riverside bluffs, distant mountain ridges and idyllic countryside in fall makes it easy to understand why this region inspired a whole art movement – the Hudson River School. Combine the region’s natural beauty with the remarkable wealth of cultural sites – from Vanderbilt’s mansion to FDR’s home to hilltop wineries – and you have the recipe for the perfect fall foliage bike tour. Touring while the country roads are brilliantly adorned in spectacular hues of gold, burgundy, and crimson is an unforgettable experience.

Hudson Valley National Heritage Area NY Bike Tour

Over the course of six-days and five-nights, riders explore the region’s most beautiful country roads and the Hudson Valley’s most iconic sites. A river cruise, wine tastings, mansion tours and superb dinners add to the enjoyment of this exceptional tour.

Experience Nature’s Best Autumn Displays at Least Once!

Discovering the splendor of autumn with a fall foliage bike tour in New England or New York is something to experience at least once in a lifetime. For many, enjoying the ever-changing beauty of Mother Nature from the seat of a bicycle has become an annual tradition – one that never fails to delight!

Post by Jessica Baker & Jeanne Rummel