One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is hike. It's a nice time to take in the scenery with the foliage, and the crisp air makes for more enjoyable hiking weather. In the end of September and early October, many of the days are clear and sunny, and the nights are crystal clear with bright stars and big moons - perfect for night hiking.
Perhaps the most iconic hike in central Vermont is Spruce Mountain in the Groton State Forest (Plainfield, VT) - a favorite of many. This hike is relatively short (2.1 miles each way) and fairly gently graded, with only a few steep sections near the top. And the summit rewards you with beautiful views to the east from a rock outcropping, from which the White Mountains can be seen on a clear, or even partly clear, day. For those with a higher sense of adventure, the rickety old fire tower offers 360 degree views - absolutely stunning when fall foliage is at its peak.
A recent Friday off from work had me heading to the summit of Spruce with four friends (two people and two dogs), and while the foliage was not yet turning, the views were still well worth the effort.
For those in good hiking shape, the hike takes only an hour-and-a-half to two hours round trip (not including time spent taking in the scenery or eating lunch at the top). For more information on this hike and directions to the trailhead, see the most recent edition of the Green Mountain Club's Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont, which can be purchased at Onion River Sports in Montpelier or at your local outdoor gear shop.