On October 19, 2022

Backroad leaf-peeping itineraries to enjoy before it’s too late

By Julia Purdy

Here are two itineraries for foliage viewing in Rutland County. Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as we do.

Colvin Hill Road loop

Whether you approach this road from Danby or Wallingford, you will be treated to views that can only be experienced from the high country. Begin at Route 7.

From Danby: From Main Street in the center of Danby village, start up Brook Road and beyond the town garage, bear right up a sharp, short incline onto Danby Hill Road, a very old road lined with ancient maple trees and stone walls. At a Y intersection, bear right again onto Colvin Hill Road.

The road winds uphill through woods and fields until you arrive at the top of the world with a spectacular 180-degree view of the Taconic Range and the flanks of the Green Mountains spread before you. In the far distance, the white scar of the White Rocks National Recreation Area in Wallingford is visible. Colvin Hill Road then descends to intersect with Tinmouth Road. Turn R (north). Tinmouth Road becomes East Road. At the bottom of the long gradual descent, you may turn L on Route 140 into the charming mountain hamlet of Tinmouth, or follow Route 140 to the R to arrive in Wallingford.

From Wallingford: At the stop light on Route 7, set your trip meter and turn R onto Route 140 West. Route 140 snakes its way up to a mountain plateau in the town of Tinmouth. In about 4 miles, you will arrive at a Y intersection with Route 140 and North East Road. Turn L (south) and continue straight onto East Road, heading due south past working hayfields, farms and homes. In the distance Dorset Peak, 200 feet shy of 4,000’ elevation, beckons. Continue on East Road into Danby and look for a sign on the right for Hoisington Cross Road. Colvin Hill Road is on the left shortly beyond.

This time, the panorama of the Green Mountains will be over your left shoulder as you head south. Dorset Peak’s imposing bulk will emerge before you with clearings and farms nestled in its lap. The road then descends toward the narrow defile of Mill Brook. At the crossroad with Danby Hill Road, bear R and you will end up at the foot of Dorset Mountain, where you will turn L onto Brook Road, a winding descent alongside rocky, tumbling Mill Brook that returns to the center of Danby.

Boardman Hill to Chippenhook or Clarendon

For a fall afternoon drive closer to Rutland, Boardman Hill can’t be beat. Rutland was one of the earliest settlements after the Revolutionary War and the homesteaders immediately established routes between farms. The best starting point is in West Rutland at the Route 4 interchange. Access it by turning L at the stoplight on Business 4 entering West Rutland.Continue under the overpass and past the on-ramp to the foot of Boardman Hill Road. Surveyed in 1785, Boardman Hill Road originally descended the hillside farther east. The hillclimb reveals a dramatic view to the northwest toward the Taconic Range with the town of West Rutland nestled in the valley below and the spire of St. Dominic Catholic church crowning the opposite hill. The road skims the top of the ridge and dips deeply at one point, opening up a dramatic view of Killington and Pico peaks straight ahead. Eventually Boardman Hill forms a T with the Quarterline Road that heads south into Chippenhook, a very old neighborhood in Clarendon.

“A road diverged in a wood”

Quarterline Road: At the T, here you have a choice: turn R onto the Quarterline Road for a trip into the past along a 225-year-old route through woods, to intersect with Walker Mountain Road in Chippenhook that will bring you back to Route 7 – or turn L onto the Quarterline Road to Campbell Road of about the same vintage.

Campbell Road: At the T with Campbell Road, turn R (south) and take in the panorama of Rutland City and its backdrop of all four significant peaks: Pico (elev. 3,957′), Killington (elev. 4,235 ‘), Shrewsbury (elev. 3,681’) and Mendon (3,840). Continuing on Campbell Road will bring you down to the Creek Road, which follows historic Otter Creek with sweeping views of the four peaks. Turn L to return to the city or R to continue alongside Otter Creek with views of the creek and working farms. A left turn onto Alfrecha Road takes you across Otter Creek and its floodplain to North Clarendon and Route 7.

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