By Mary Fischer
Fall is definitely one of the most beautiful times of the year in the state of Connecticut, and taking in the beautiful fall foliage is one activity that can’t be missed! There are plenty of great places to take a scenic drive in this state where you can see the vibrant colors of the changing leaves all from the comfort of your car. Check out our suggestions for scenic drives below, and hop in your car and enjoy the view!
New Milford to Iron Mountain Preserve and Lake Waramaug
Start at New Milford Green, and take CT Route 202 West to Route 7 North. Follow Route 7 through the towns of New Milford, Gaylordsville and Kent to Calhoun Corners. Follow Route 45 South to Warren. Drive around Lake Waramaug into New Preston. In New Preston, take Route 202 East to Route 47 South through Washington. Take Route 199, and then Route 67 into Roxbury Station. Follow Route 67 to the junction of Route 202 back into New Milford.
This 64 mile round trip scenic drive will take drivers through the glorious Litchfield Hills area of Connecticut. In addition to amazing fall foliage, the route provides quintessential Connecticut scenery with covered bridges, the Housatonic River, Lake Waramaug, and historic homes and churches.
People’s State Forest – Torrington
Start in Torrington at the junction of Route 8 and Route 4. Take Route 8 north into Winsted, until it intersects with Route 44. Take Route 44 east into New Hartford.Pick up Route 219 North through Lake McDonough to Route 318. Continue on Route 318 west and 181 South for 1 mile, then make a right just before the metal bridge and take the road through the People’s State Forest to Route 20 in Riverton. Take Route 20 west through Riverton; at the junction of Route 8, take 8 South into the center of Winsted. Pick up Route 44 west and take it to Route 183 north into the center of Colebrook. From Colebrook take Route 182A to 182, and make a right on 182. At the intersection of Route 44, take 44 West into Norfolk. In Norfolk, pick up Route 272 South into Torrington. Take 272 to Route 4 east, bear right onto Main Street. Where Main Street meets Route 202, take 202 East to the junction of Route 8 and 4, where the trip began.
This drive will take you on a 68 mile round trip tour all around the People’s State Forest. Beginning in Torrington and going all the way through Norfolk, you will pass quaint towns while admiring the colors of the changing leaves. People’s State Forest is a popular destination for outdoor fun during the fall season, so make sure to bring your hiking boots if you’d like to get out of the car and stretch your legs a bit.
RT 190 in Somers
Directions: Start on Main St. in Somers on RT 190, and continue on 190 through Stafford and Stafford Springs. Or, begin on 190 in Somers, and turn right on Gulf road to go past Shenipsit Forest State Park and Soapstone Mountain.
Rt. 190 in the small Connecticut town of Somers is a great spot to take a drive and see the changing leaves without spending too much time in the car. Rt. 190 will take you past the historic homes and buildings in Somers, and will lead you all the way through the towns of Stafford and Stafford Springs. If you’d like to combine your drive with a stroll through the woods, make sure to turn off 190 onto Gulf Rd. and make a stop at the Shenipsit State Forest.
Mystic – Old Mystic River
Start on West Main Street/Route 1 in Downtown Mystic on the Groton side of the drawbridge. Turning northward onto Pearl Street. Follow Pearl and you will see the Mystic River on your right. Stay close to the river and you will get onto River Road, which follows the river to Old Mystic. Shortly after you pass a cemetery on the right you will come to a traffic light. Turn right at the light and then turn right at the stop sign on to Route 27 South. Just past the view of the river on the right and the refurbished brick mill, turn left onto Pequot Trail / Route 234. Rt. 234 will take you through historic Stonington. When you reach the traffic light at Route 1 turn sharply right onto Route 1 South then follow Route 1 back to Mystic.
There really isn’t anything more beautiful than taking a drive along the scenic Mystic River during foliage season. The contrast of the color of the leaves and the dark color of the water is enough to take your breath away. As an added bonus, Mystic’s main street is the perfect place to hop out of the car for a stroll to take in the beauty of Mystic country even further.
Also, if you like to move on foot – check out our guide to best hiking spots!
Mary Fischer lives in Ellington, CT with her 5-year old son and husband of almost 8 years. She is the owner and author of a popular parenting blog, called The Mommyologist, where she features articles all about the changes in life that go along with being a parent.