Skip to main content

5 Outdoor Activities to Explore this Fall in and Around the Upper Valley

Aug 23, 2021 05:12PM ● By Virginia Dean

The splendor and beauty of a New England fall is well known for sightseeing, atmosphere, and must-do adventures. Adding to its natural grandeur are various festivals, events, and activities that help celebrate the season. Here are 5 things to try this Fall:

Zip Lining – Bretton Woods, NH

One such thrilling experience is a zip line adventure on the slopes of Bretton Woods in Bretton Woods, NH. Participants are brought on an adventure that includes a network of platforms high up in the ancient hemlock trees connected by nine zip lines, two sky bridges, and three rappels.

This 3-hour excursion offers both an exhilarating experience and an intimate look into the wilds of the White Mountains with sweeping views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. 

The longest zip is about 830 feet and about 165 feet high off the forest floor. Each tour can accommodate up to eight participants who descend 1,000 feet in elevation with two adventure guides from the top of Rosebrook Canyon to the base of Bretton Woods.

The canopy tour features dual-cable construction and platforms and bridges milled from locally harvested wood sources, in keeping with a commitment to environmentally sustainable programs.

Once on tour, the adventure guides describe native flora and fauna in addition to discussing the surrounding area, its natural history, and White Mountain lore. Open Thursday-Monday, June 19-October 11.

Contact 603-278-1000 or to book reservations.

Sauntering in the Forest at VINS – Quechee, VT

At the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, VT, a new exhibit is now open called the Forest Canopy Walk. Designed for people of all levels of ability, this new ADA-accessible feature offers a new perspective and way to experience the beauty of the landscape in VINS’ 47-acre property.

The Walk provides an opportunity to move from the forest floor to treetops without a climb. Three special features and five interpretation Nodes are built into the Walk, encouraging visitors to engage with a variety of forest facts and experiences from sight and sound to the contemplation of the forest.

For more information, contact [email protected] or 802-359-5000.

Horseback Riding – South Woodstock, VT

The Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) offers members and visitors the chance to use the facility, equipment, and trails on given days. 

For example, from Sept 3-5, participants can enjoy Distance Days, a celebration of equestrian trail riding. Competitive and pleasure riding are offered all three days with a variety of distances. The weekend is built around the historic 3-day 100-Mile Ride – the oldest and first in the U.S., now in its 85th year.

On September 6, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., members can enjoy Trail Loops and a Grass Ring as they can throughout the month. The September Horse Trials and 2021 USEA Area 1 Championship follow the traditional two-day format (dressage and show jumping on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday), offering beginner novice, novice, training, and preliminary divisions.

Other exciting fall events include the fall driving classic, driving cones and derby obstacles, wheel runners, fall foliage pleasure ride, fall dressage show and Vermont foliage getaway, fall endurance 50/30, and hunter pace.

For more information, contact or 802-457-1509.

Apple Picking – North Pomfret, VT

Fall into autumn with apple picking, grabbing a pumpkin, and making an apple pie! Check out Moore’s Orchards in No. Pomfret, VT for a local apple orchard and, after you’ve picked plenty of apples, try the perfect homemade apple pie and butter crust recipe that comes from King Arthur Baking Company  (

Located at the corners of Johnson Road and Pomfret Road, Moore’s is one of several orchards where visitors can pick their own apples (some others include Riverview in Plainfield, NH, Edgewater in Plainfield, NH; Poverty Lane in Lebanon, NH; Hinterland in Killington, VT; and Ward’s in Strafford, VT).

Moore’s is a well-known family-run diversified farm that produces maple syrup, apples, blueberries, annual and perennial plants, and registered Angus cattle. Contact or call 802-457-2994.


Hiking – Vermont and New Hampshire

To thoroughly enjoy one of the most beautiful times of the year in Vermont and New Hampshire,  hiking is a must.

Both Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump are your choice if you’re a hardcore leaf peeper and enjoy a solid hike. They are the first and third highest peaks in Vermont (both 4,000+ feet) and have multiple trails to choose from, and offer unbeatable views of the Vermont countryside in all directions.

Sterling Pond Trail at Smugglers Notch is relatively easy and climbs to the highest trout pond in the state (Sterling Pond). The trail is very rooty and rocky and begins with a steep rock staircase that leads up the trail and into the tree line.

One of the most popular trails in the Stowe, VT area is Stowe Pinnacle – a short but steep 1.4-mile out and back route (2.8 miles total) that also offers amazing views once the summit is reached.

Mount Hunger, Waterbury Center is a 2.2 mile out and back hike (4.4 miles total) that is more difficult than most, but the views are well worth the effort. The trail is challenging, but the waterfall on the way up is beautiful and a great place to stop. Once the top is reached, many Green Mountain landmarks become visible, including Whiteface, Camel’s Hump, Killington, and Mount Mansfield; the White Mountains in New Hampshire; and even Mount Washington and the Adirondacks.

Top trails in New Hampshire include Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop; Welch-Dickey Loop Trail; Mount Willard Trail; Mount Monadnock; the Flume Gorge Trail; Mount Moosilauke and South Peak Loop, Lonesome Lake Trail; and Mount Washington via Tuckerman Ravine and Lion Head Trail to name a few.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Image's free newsletter to catch every headline