I found pretty good color in the Champlain Valley last year at the same time. I plan to head south and take Hwy 9 between Bennington and Brattleboro. Any swampy areas there? How about cascading streams?
First 20 Miles out of Bennington is in Green Mt. Nat Forest. Roaring Branch for almost 4 miles. City Stream for another 3 miles. 8 miles out, you reach Bigby Mill Pond (in Woodford). Topo Map shows pretty good elevations on both sides of the pond with some access roads (Mill Pond Road to the right--there is a dam there). Mill Pond Road appears to be uphill of the Pond to the South, and there is a mountainside to the North West.
In about 3/4 mile, you come to Big Pond (N. side of road). There is a local road to the left (North) which does not appear to have a name. Looks like it goes up about 1/2 mile and turns East (right) and eventually turns South toward the pond and dead ends. There are several parallel roads below it. I am guessing there are probably some homes here, based on the layout of the road, but cannot tell by the map. Topo map shows elevation between each of the roads, so there might be a high view. Again there is a dam here. Looks like both of these ponds were created by dams on City Stream.
In another 2 1/4 miles on 9, you will come to State Park Road on the right (South). This is Woodford State Park. The State Park Road loops down around Adams Reservoir to the south. It ends in a loop. I don’t see any marked trails, but its hard to believe there wouldn’t be foot trails down to the water. Its not far from the road. You are looking North at this point with a pretty steep hillside/mountainside to your left (West) and a pretty good grade to the right.
Another 1/2 mile on 9 is Red Mill Pond (South Side of Road). Looks like you can only see/access it from the highway.
1/4 mile further, is the entrance to the North to Red Mill Campground on the left (North) (looks like a stream runs between the Red Mill Pond and Billings Pond. The campground is back in about a mile. Doesn't look like the roads get any closer to Billings Pond but there are probably trails. Looking on the topo map, it appears that you might be high enough on 9 just past Billings Pond to see it. There is a high hill or mountain on the South East side of the road (which would be behind you) as you face the pond to the North West from the road. Looks like the campground is uphill from the pond but not way up.
About 3/4 mile further on 9 (you are now ust under 12 miles from Bennington), you’ll cross a stream which empties to the north into Billings Pond. Looks like the Pond is at least 1/4 mile from the road. Looking on the topo map, it appears that you might be high enough on 9 just past Billings Pond to see it. There is a high hill or mountain on the South East side of the road (which would be behind you) as you face the pond to the North West from the road. Hard to tell if there are any cascades, but there is some gentle elevation from the road down to the pond. Don’t know if you could follow the stream back to the pond or not.
Looks like it gets more mountainous as you head East. About 3 1/2 miles further (through the town of Searsburg -- about 2 miles) you will cross Somerset Road. If you follow it to the North, you will drive by the Searsburg Reservoir, which is created by a dam on the Deerfield River. The dam is at the South end of the Reservoir. Somerset Road goes by the West side of the reservoir, which is down in a valley, with mountains on both sides to the East and the West. Looks like you are up fairly high on the road. Depending on the sun and foliage, there might be some reflections here.
Back on 9 and about 3 miles further, you’ll reach the Harriman Reservoir, which appears to be very large, again with significant elevations around it. Access appears somewhat limited, but there is a road that goes to the south of it and appears to be up on a ridge. It is called Woods Road and should be to the South (Right turn) about 3 miles from Somerset Road. Looks like you could also continue on 9 to Wilmington at or near the junction of 9 and 100 and go back to the South West on several roads to get a view from the East. May not be the best angle in the afternoon.
By then you are out of the Green Mountain NF.
9 looks like a great ride. There appear to be brooks and streams paralleling and crossing on and off most of the way. Hope you’ll report your findings back to the board.
If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .