Not gonna lie, fall is easily one of my favorite seasons in New York. And while that’s mostly because of the stunning New York fall foliage that pops up all around you, that are still other neat things about fall in New York.
You know, like pumpkin spice lattes, ghost tours, haunted hotels, Halloween parades, and even some of the best fall foliage festivals in the world. But I am totally digressing here because we’re really here to discuss New York fall foliage and uncover all of the absolute best places to see fall foliage in New York.
After all, I’m a born and bred New York native who has lived in this great state for upwards of 30 years. Therefore, I know exactly where to go to see exquisite fall foliage in New York.
So, if marveling at an eruption of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows from within the forests that surround you is your idea of a hopping good time, then this article is totally for you.
Because I’m about to reveal the inside scoop on:
- Where is the best fall foliage in New York?
- What is the best time to see fall colors in New York?
- Where can I see fall foliage in NYC?
- What month do leaves change color in New York?
- And so much more!
So, if you’re ready, let’s swan dive into this post about all of the absolute best places to see New York fall foliage.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
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If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especialy since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Where is the Best Fall Foliage in New York?
This is a great question since there are a ton of amazing places to see New York fall foliage. As a result, it can be difficult to decide exactly where to go and what to do since there are just so many great places to see fall foliage in New York and so little time.
However, to help you plan the perfect trip to New York this fall, here are some of my picks for the best scenic drives in New York where you can enjoy sweeping panoramas of exquisite fall foliage.
And don’t worry, I’ll dive into further detail about each of these amazing scenic drives in New York later on in this post.
- Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway
- US Route 9
- Park Road, Letchworth State Park
- Route 9 D through Hudson Highlands State Park
- Mowhawk Towpath Byway
- Palisades Interstate Parkway
- Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway
- Great Lake Seaway Trail
- Upper Delaware Scenic Byway
- Allegany State Park – Routes 2/3
- Adirondack Scenic Railroad
- Adirondack Loj Road
- The Amish Trail
What is the Best Time to See Fall Colors in New York?
In New York, the BEST time to see fall foliage is the month of October. That being said, the leaves in New York will start changing around September 21st at higher elevations and in more northern parts of the state.
As fall progresses, peak fall foliage season will be in early October for more Northern parts of the state – like the Adirondacks – and mid-October for more southern parts of the state – like the Catskills.
Where Can I See Fall Foliage in NYC?
Fort Tryon Park
One of the best places to see fall foliage in NYC is Linden Terrace in Fort Tryon Park. It’s one of the highest points in Manhattan and gives you a sweeping panorama of the Hudson River and the vibrant fall foliage that erupts all throughout the sheer cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades just across the river.
Fort Tryon Park is an amazing place to catch the New York Fall foliage. Unlike many of the other places, this one is a little different because it is a landscaped park.
The 3 acres of manicured park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. who placed both slopping and dropping elms across the park.
The difference about the park is that you will find many varieties of plants that you don’t see elsewhere. Some of them even flower during the winter season which is a pleasant surprise from the usual other popular spots.
Another great thing about the park is that it is home to an 8 mile long path. So you can choose to cycle, walk or even run through the area as you please. It is easy to access and you are guaranteed spectacular views.
Pro Tip: Visit the Cloisters when you are in the area. It is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It houses over 5000 medieval works which makes it a great place to spend some time in.
However, if you really don’t feel like traveling that far uptown, (it’s in Inwood/Hudson Heights and above Washington Heights), you could visit any one of the best parks in NYC (think Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Park, etc.) for marvelous views of fall foliage in NYC.
Central Park needs no introduction and since we were talking about the best parks in the city, I just had to drop a note about this gorgeous accessible one! The park is famous across the city and anyone who visits NYC encounters Central Park at some time during their visit.
The sprawling park is a beacon of color in this season and that makes it one of the best places to catch the New York Fall foliage. Plus since it is located right in the heart of the city, it is rather easy to access.
There are a couple of iconic spots that really give you the feel of fall and these are the places where you will get the best photographs.
Gapstow bridge near the pond is one of them. The surrounding trees, vines on the bridge and the colors draw photographers here every year!
The Bethesda terrace and the Bethesda fountain are great places to catch the colors with their reflection in the water.
Bow bridge, the Ramble and Belvedere Castle are all popular favorites that definitely should be on your bucket list.
You can also check out my comprehensive guide to fall in NYC for more info on anything and everything related to fall in NYC.
What Month do Leaves Change Color in New York?
I feel like I’ve already answered this but just in case you missed that part, leaves in New York start to change color around September 21st in more Northern parts of the state – like the Adirondacks – and then peak around mid-October in more southern parts of the state like the Catskills.
Best Places to See New York Fall Foliage Part 1: Best Scenic Drives in New York
1. Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway
Located right near Lake Placid (aka the place where they held the 1980 winter Olympics), Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway is easily one of the best places to see New York fall foliage.
That’s because this is one of the best scenic drives in New York that takes you all the way to the top of, you guessed it, Whiteface Mountain – a 5,000+ foot mountain that is actually the fifth highest peak in all of New York (FYI you can also hike to the top if you’re feeling super ambitious).
However, if you want to enjoy a seemingly neverending kaleidoscope of fall colors from the summit – that stretch all the way out to Canada and nearby Vermont on a clear day – you’ll have a very small window of opportunity to do so since the road is closed after October 14th.
So, for ideal fall foliage awesomeness, try to plan your visit for the first week of October, any time between 8: 45 am and 5:30 pm. This is also one of those scenic drives in New York that is very much NOT free.
Therefore, expect to pay $20 for one vehicle and driver, $20 for each additional passenger, $10 each for between 3 and 8 additional passengers, and $20 for one motorcycle and driver.
Now, once you’ve given up that cold, hard cash, you can start at the toll house and then climb more than 2,000 feet up in the air for the next five miles, stopping at various scenic overlooks along the way.
Pro Tip: While you’re here, you can also take a leisurely walk around Lake Stevens (either before or after conquering the summit) and enjoy more of the area’s awesome fall foliage.
Also, be extremely careful during your descent since many people have totally ruined their brakes while driving back down this windy road.
2. US Route 9
I honestly sometimes forget just how scenic Route 9 is since I drive it all the time to get to various places in Westchester and Dutchess County.
But, it’s a great route to use if you’re looking for one of the best scenic drives in New York to see fall foliage.
After all, it’s a more than 500-mile long route that goes through parts of Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, culminating in a section that will take you through New York’s always lovely, Hudson Valley and into the Capital Region.
Personally, I enjoy the section near Poughkeepsie since you can visit the FDR residence in Hyde Park and the Vanderbilt Mansion just down the road. Both estates are open to the public and have tons of scenic hiking trails that can use to get impressive views of the Hudson River and the surrounding fall foliage-laden hills.
However, other popular towns for you to visit along Route 9 include Cold Spring, Highland Falls, and eventually Saratoga Springs above Albany. Although, if you’re looking to stay within the Hudson Valley, then you could always stop by Storm King Art Center.
It’s by far in a way one of the most impressive attractions in the region and is located right near Newburgh (A total hole of a place. Don’t go there), Westpoint, and Woodbury (home to Woodbury Commons, a great spot for outlet shopping if you’re in the area).
In total, this amazing outdoor museum covers an insane, 500 acres of land and is brimming over with stunning landscapes (thanks Schunnemunk Mountain) and fascinating giant sculptures that are well worth seeing, even if tickets start at $20 per car with one person.
3. Park Road in Letchworth State Park
This is one of the best scenic drives in New York that is impressive with a capital “I”. After all, Letchworth State Park is home to no less than three of the best waterfalls in New York – the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls of the Genesee River – which range in size from 70 to 107 feet tall.
It’s also an essential part of any fall finger lakes weekend itinerary and should be on your fall Finger Lakes road trip itinerary.
However, the real highlight of any drive along Park Road is seeing Portage Canyon. It’s a next-level massive gorge that cuts through the park and that reaches depths of up to 550 feet – hance the gorge’s unofficial nickname as the “Grand Canyon of the East”.
So, drive down this 17-mile road and see some of the stunning New York fall foliage that takes over this expansive, 14,360-acre stretch of wooded area.
You’ll also love that there are tons of epic viewpoints along the way, including Inspiration Point where you can get a sick view of the gorge as well as the Upper and Middle Falls.
FYI, you also will have to pay to get into the park but thankfully it’s only $10 per car.
Pro Tip: Letchworth State Park is only about an hour away from Buffalo and about 45-minutes away from Rochester. Therefore, you can easily do a day trip to the park from either city.
4. Route 9 D through Hudson Highlands State Park
This is another one of the best scenic drives in the Hudson Valley that will take you up along the eastern side of the Hudson River, through Storm King State Park, and into Hudson Highlands State Park.
Honestly, it’s a highly underrated park that covers an impressive, 8,000 acres of land that starts in Peekskill and continues all the way until Beacon (another great hipster town to check out if you’re in the Hudson Valley).
FYI, the park is very much NON-contiguous so there are pretty cool sections found on an island in the middle of the Hudson.
In total though, the park is home to over 70 miles of trails that you can use to enjoy New York fall foliage amidst the backdrop of the Hudson River and the Bear Mountain Bridge.
However, if you’re not a big hiker or are short on time, you can see much of what the area has to offer by using Route 9D. It starts at the intersection of the Bear Mountain Bridge and US 6 and runs parallel to the Hudson River in a north-south direction.
It then continues along the Eastern shore of the Hudson River for 25 miles, ending at a junction with Route 9 North at Wappingers Falls,
So, enjoy the drive, stop at various scenic overlooks along the way, do a wee bit of leaf peepin’, and, if you’re feeling extra energetic, embark on a strenuous hike up Breakneck Ridge.
5. Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway
Ready to experience the best New York fall foliage around while driving parallel to one of the state’s most famous waterways? If so then the Mowhawk Towpath Byway is one of the best scenic drives in New York for you!
Because this series of local, county, and state highways come together to form a unique byway that takes you on a stunning 26-mile journey along the Erie Canal from Schenectady (say that five times fast) to Waterford/Cohoes.
Along the way, you can stop at places like Clifton Park, Colonie, Glenville, Halfmoon, and Niskayuna to better understand how the Erie Canal (and these historic villages) was a pivotal part of the Industrial Revolution and the westward expansion of the US.
You’ll also enjoy impressive panoramas of the area’s many natural landmarks, including the Mohawk River, the Erie Canal, and Cohoes Falls, a magical waterfall on the Mohawk River that cascades 90 feet down to the river below.
Pro Tip: If you’re part of the history nerd herd-like me then be sure to download a copy of the “Discovery Guide to the Mohawk Towpath Byway” to learn more about one of the best scenic drives in New York and to get insider info on the best places to stop along the byway.
6. Palisades Interstate Parkway
Guess what? This is another one of the best scenic drives in New York that can be found within the Hudson Valley. So, if you’re in NYC and desperately seeking stunning New York fall foliage, then look no further than the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
It also doesn’t hurt that this part of the state is a mere hour to an hour and a half train ride away from NYC since it brings you up to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
However, you could always pick this scenic parkway up at the George Washington Bridge and then do the 42-mile drive from the GWB all the way to the Bear Mountain Bridge in the Hudson Valley.
En route, be sure to stop at some of these amazing scenic overlooks:
- Rockefeller Lookout – pull off at the Englewood Cliffs that is one mile north of exit 1
- Alpine Lookout – 3 miles north of exit 1 near Yonkers
- State Line Lookout – 2 miles north of exit 2 and only open during the day
Now, once you finally do make it to Bear Mountain, be sure to take some time to explore Bear Mountain State Park itself. It’s a great place to go for a leisurely stroll and take in impressive views from atop Perkins Memorial Tower.
While you’re here you can take a ride on the park’s beautiful merry-go-round, visit the on-site zoo, hike on one of the park’s many scenic trails, explore nearby West Point, stop by the town of Cold Spring, or visit the historic, Federal-style, Boscobel home.
7. Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway
Throughout the autumn season, you’ll find some of the best New York fall foliage near Cayuga Lake. It’s tucked away within the Finger Lakes Region and is known for being one of the largest of all of New York’s finger lakes, at 40 miles long.
More than that though, this beautiful body of water is home to one of the best scenic drives in New York – the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway.
It’s a picturesque, 87-mile loop drive that follows the perimeter of Cayuga Lake and that will take eager leaf peepers past awe-inspiring gorges, across vast wetlands, past amazing wineries, and through quaint little towns.
So, to get the most out of your drive, you’ll need at least three hours to complete the entire byway. Or, plan to spend a couple of days here if you want to do the area justice and make stops along the way.
Now sure, you can pick up the drive anywhere along the lake where you see a green and white sign that says, “Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway”. But, I personally like to start at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls.
From here, you can stop at Montezuma Winery (or any of the wineries along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail) before visiting the Women’s Right National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, Taughannock Falls State Park, and Aurora (home to the headquarters of MacKenzie-Childs pottery).
And since you’re in the area anyway, be sure to stop by Ithaca too. It’s a great college town that is filled with amazing waterfalls as well as fun museums, boutiques, and delicious restaurants.
8. Great Lakes Seaway Trail
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is without a doubt the longest scenic drive in New York on this list since it clocks in at a whopping 518 miles long. And while most of the trail can be found within New York, there is a small section that actually starts in Pennsylvania.
So, if you’d like to do this drive for yourself, you’ll start your journey at the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio, in Erie Country Pennsylvania.
From here, you’ll travel through four distinct sections that include:
- Lake Erie/Buffalo/Niagara Falls
- Rochester/Central Lake Ontario
- Eastern Lake Ontario
- Thousand Islands/St. Lawrence River
Eventually, you’ll end up in the village of Massena, which sits right on the Canadian border with Canada. Also, because this route is so large, it’s an all-around great way to see much of Western New York and the beautiful New York fall foliage that emerges there.
It’s also exceptionally scenic since you’ll actually get to drive along the beautiful shores of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, and Lake Erie.
You can even take some time to stop at various points of interest along the way, including Cape Vincent, Port Ontario, Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands, Presque Isle, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester.
9. Upper Delaware Scenic Byway
Otherwise known as Route 97, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is a 70-mile stretch of the road that is home to some of the best New York fall foliage in the state.
Following along the length of the Upper Delaware River/Recreation Area, this is one of the best scenic drives in New York that starts in Port Jervis and ends in Hancock, NY – smack dab in between the Catskills and the Poconos.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy awe-inspiring scenery, can discover the area’s vibrant history, and will traverse across picturesque bridges that take you through the Hudson Canal Crossing in Minisink Ford.
No matter what though, make sure you stop at the Hawk’s Nest in Deerpark since this curvacious section of the road is home to riverside pull-offs that sit hundreds of feet in the area, making this the most photographed section of the drive.
And if you need a break from all that driving, feel free to explore the Tusten Mountain Trail, the French Woods State Forest Preserve, Elks Brox Memorial Park, Crystal Lake State Preserve, Bouchoux Trail, Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area, and Hickok Brook Multiple Use Area.
10. Allegany State Park – Routes 2/3
Home to more than 64,000 acres of dense forest in Western New York – in Cattaraugus County just north of the Allegheny National Forest of Pennsylvania – this park is divided into two distinct sections, The Red House Area and the Quaker Run Area.
So, use either of the park’s two main roads – Route 2 or Route 3 – to experience all of the natural beauty that this amazing park has to offer.
If you want, head to the Red House Area in the northern half of the park to enjoy local attractions like the Stone Tower, the Summit Fire Tower, Red House Lake, the Art Roscoe Ski Area, and Bridal Falls.
Conversely, you could always explore The Quaker Run Area in the southern section of the park, which includes local highlights like Quaker Lake, Mount Tuscarora Fire Tower, Science lake, Bear Caves, Thunder Rocks, the Quaker Amphitheater, and. The Cain Hollow campground.
And for a truly memorable trip, be sure to make use of the various campgrounds and the 230 different cabins that can be found throughout the park. If you can, also try to plan around the third week of October, when fall foliage here is at its best.
11. Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Want to take a break from all that driving and go on a scenic train ride instead? If so then hop aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad! This incredible, 9-hour train journey will take you from Utica to Thendara (aka Old Forge).
Don’t worry though because the train ride itself isn’t actually nine hours long. Nope, the train ride only takes about two and a half hours each way, with a four and a half hour layover in Old Forge.
During this time, you’ll get to experience some of the best New York fall foliage in the area while visiting local shopping, dining at quaint restaurants, and exploring the great outdoors.
And on the way back? Well, you’ll get to enjoy the old-world charm of vintage train travel and can even step inside the train’s very own cafe car for for a bite to eat before returning to Utica.
Pro Tip: Aim to visit In October. However, at that time of year, trains only run on Saturdays at 9:30 am. Tickets also start at $43 for adults, $33 for children 3-13, and $41 for seniors over 62/military members.
12. Adirondack Loj Road
As you probably already guessed, the Adirondacks is easily one of the best places to see New York fall foliage. Therefore, if you’re going to do scenic drives through New York, then you might as well hop on the Adirondack Loj Road near Lake Placid.
Don’t worry, it’s not super long. It’s a short and sweet, 4.5-mile drive in North Elba that will take you from Heart Lake in the south to Cascade Road in the north.
Yup, it’s just an all-around stunning drive that will treat you to gorgeous views of the awe-inspiring Adirondack Mountains that surround you.
And if you want to get out and stretch your legs, you can always park at South Meadow Road and do some of the best hikes in the Adirondacks, including hikes to Marcy dam, Van Hoevenberg Mountain, and Mount Jo.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could also do a sunrise hike to the top of Mount Marcy, which is actually the tallest mountain in all of New York.
13. The Amish Trail
Step back in time with one of the best scenic drives in New York that will introduce you to the Amish, a conservative Christian sect that believes in a simple life that does not involve the use of electricity.
That’s why, if you happen to see a charming little horse-drawn buggy bop up and down one of these quiet country roads, then you know you’re in the right place.
And since this trail starts in the Enchanted Mountains of the far Western part of the state, this also happens to be one of the best places to see New York fall foliage too.
So, enjoy all of the vibrant fall foliage that surrounds you as you cruise past various Amish-owned shops that sell everything from quilts to baked goods to baskets and even furniture!
And if shopping isn’t your thing, you can always explore nearby Allegany State Park or stop by the town of Leon to meet some wonderfully friendly locals.
Pro Tip: While you’re doing the Amish Trail, do not take any photos of the Amish as a sign of respect. You also may want to avoid visiting on Sundays – and sometimes on Wednesdays too – since many of the shops run by the Amish will be closed.
14. Shawangunk Wine Trail
Looking for a scenic drive with a difference? One of the interesting places to head to is the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Not only does it have some epic views of the New York fall foliage, you can also pair it with some wine tours!
I’m not kidding. There are around 15 wineries in the area that offer tours and you can take your pick based on your route and the time of your pitstop. What could be better than a glass of wine alongside the gorgeous fall foliage of New York?
For those who are into more active outdoor sports, you can swap the wine tasting for hiking, trekking or rock climbing in the Mohonk Preserve which is nearby.
Pro Tip: The wineries are epic spots to take photographs. Baldwin’s in particular is a popular favorite because of its stone house.
Best Places to See New York Fall Foliage Part 2: Amazing Locations in New York
15. Planting Fields Arboretum, Nassau County
Once the lavish estate of the W.R. Coe family, this 400-acre piece of land is now an amazing state park in Nassau County where you can see some of the best New York fall foliage ever – especially if you visit towards the end of October.
So, enjoy one of the best things to do on Long Island as you explore the site’s two greenhouses – the Main Greenhouse and the Camellia Greenhouse -, various walking trails, and an impressive collection of gardens that include the Italian Garden, the Cloister Garden and Circular Pool, the Children’s Play House, the Rose Garden and Perennial Garden, and the Sensory Garden, just to name a few.
Plus, if you want to look beyond the area’s vast natural beauty, then you can always sign up for one of the many special programs that the Arboretum holds on-site, like Yoga in the Garden, Forest Therapy Walks, and theatrical performances at the East Line Theater.
Therefore, if you’re looking for stunning fall foliage and want to experience more of what Long Island has to offer then this is the place for you. Just note that you will have to pay an $8.00 parking fee when visiting.
Pro Tip: While the estate is stunning, don’t forget to take a tour of the Coe Hall Historic House Museum. It’s a Tudor Revival style residence that will show you exactly how the elite of society lives in the 1920s.
Guided tours of the facility are available between April 1 and September 30 from 12:00 pm to 3:300 pm. Tickets cost $6.50 for adults, $5.00 for seniors/students, and free for children.
16. Bear Mountain
Tucked away on the Western side of the Hudson River in Rockland/Orange County is Bear Mountain State Park, a 5,208-acre preserve that is home to rugged mountains and amazing New York fall foliage.
For the best views though, head to Perkins Memorial Tower before biking, hiking, boating, picnicking, swimming, cross-country skiing, sledding, and ice skating your way through this fantastic place.
Afterward, spend some time at the Trailside Museums and Zoo – which actually sit right on the Appalachian Trail – before enjoying the area’s many playfields, picnic areas, lakes, swimming pools, and walking trails.
Also, don’t forget to take a spin on the lovely Merry-Go-Round, which features 42 hand-painted animals that are indigenous to the region, including black bear, wild turkeys, and deer.
And if you want to extend your visit and make it extra special, you could always spend the night in the Bear Mountain Inn the Overlook Lodge.
Pro Tip: Westpoint is literally right down the road so you want to visit their amazing campus while you’re here.
17. Storm King Art Center
Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite places to go in Orange County – if not the entire state of New York.
Yeah, it’s just an all-around amazing, 500-acre open-air museum that is home to the single largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the entire country.
In fact, it’s an astounding center that was first established in 1960 and that now features pieces from prominent artists like Barbara Hepworth, Mark di Suvero, Andy Goldsworthy, and Isamu Noguchi.
And these pieces haven’t just been half-haphazardly thrown about. Instead, each sculpture has been meticulously placed across the museum’s rolling landscape to perfectly compliment the area’s natural beauty.
So, to experience the best foliage possible, stop by any time in October and make use of the fantastic visitor’s center, various indoor galleries, and a lovely little cafe.
Pro Tip: The museum actually has a feature on their website where they track the progression of the foliage in the area.
So, be sure to check that out before you visit sit so that you can enjoy the best New York fall foliage possible. And for the ultimate fall experience, rent bikes on-site and then ride through the property.
18. Walkway Over the Hudson
In its former life, the Walkway Over the Hudson was a railway bridge that was first built in 1889. Today though, this historic piece of architecture has become the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and measures in at a cool, 1.28 miles long.
And because of its scenic location, at 212 feet above the Hudson, it is the perfect place to come and see stunning New York fall foliage with sweeping panoramas of the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Bridge in the background.
Plus, if you have some extra time, be sure to do a 3.6-mile loop trail that will take you across the Walkway Over the Hudson and then back via the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
FYI, there’s also a free elevator that you can use to access the bridge from Upper Landing Park, which sits right along the river However, do be aware of the fact that the elevator is only in operation from 9:00 am until about 90-minutes before the bridge closes.
You’ll also enjoy access to restrooms, water fountains, and local food trucks while you’re here, as well as free parking in an unpaved lot with potholes the size of the Grand Canyon. So, go slow so that you don’t bottom out your car as you leave.
Pro Tip: The bridge is open daily from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm. Therefore, try to visit as early in the day as possible so that you can avoid the crowds and the mid-day sun since, as you probably already guessed, there is no shade/shelter on the bridge itself.
19. Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz
Located in the always charming town of New Paltz, this stunning, Victorian-style castle makes the perfect backdrop to any New York fall foliage fest that you might want to have.
I mean, not only is Lake Mohonk right on the property but this stunning building features a wide selection of accommodations that everyone will enjoy, including rooms, suites, and even full-on cottages.
Best of all, the exquisite vintage decor makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time and is perfectly complemented by modern amenities like WIFI, fireplaces, private balconies with stunning views, and more.
Plus, if you get bored, you can always make use of Mohonk Mountain House’s elaborate 18-hole golf course (fee on weekends), an on-site spa (additional fee), tennis courts, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a kids club, an ice rink, meals served buffet-style and afternoon tea in the lounge.
Yup, all that and we haven’t even begun to discuss all the cool things you could do in New Paltz, like exploring Mohonk Preserve, hiking the Wallkill Valley Rail trail, visiting local galleries, and more.
So, plan to visit Mohonk Mountain House the second week in October and enjoy some of the best fall foliage in New York.
Pro Tip: You can easily take the train from Penn Station to Poughkeepsie and then either rent a car or use a rideshare service since New Paltz is basically the next town over.
20. Sunken Meadow State Park
Home to some of the best hiking trails on Long Island, Sunken Meadow State Park is a great place to go to see awe-inspiring fall foliage throughout the autumn season.
Plus, it’s located right on Long Island and is an easy place to get to since it’s just 50 miles away from the city. It’s also set upon an impressive, 1,287 acres of land, making it the ideal spot for a quiet hike and for a brief respite from the chaos of the city.
However, if you don’t feel like exploring the area’s six miles of hiking trails, you could just play a not-so-quick round of golf on the park’s impressive, 27-hole golf course or use various available facilities for biking, watersports, horseback riding, and general recreation.
Otherwise – if you love the beach almost as much as I do – you could visit three miles beaches along the Long Island Sound before making use of a 0.75-mile-long boardwalk in the area.
Yup, just a great place to get outside and enjoy a nice, crisp, fall day in the New York City area.
Pro Tip: Long Island is known for its wealth of amazing vineyards. So, don’t forget to party like a rockstar and do a bit of impromptu wine tasting while you’re here this fall.
21. Green-Wood Cemetery
Yeah, I know a cemetery seems like a super weird place to see the best New York fall foliage, but, come on, hear me out on this one!
After all, Green-wood Cemetery is home to one of the best views in NYC and has the added benefit of being conveniently located in Brooklyn.
More than that though, this sprawling, 478-acre property offers visitors a rich look into the area’s fascinating history. A past that dates back all the way back to 1838, when the cemetery was first founded.
And, at the time, this place was SOO popular that it was actually the second most visited tourist attraction in the state of New York, after Niagara Falls of course.
So yeah, clearly this place is something extra special – especially since the cemetery’s mild level of creepiness will help get you pumped for Halloween.
I mean, there are a cool, 500,000 headstones here, with some elaborate, Victorian mausoleums that line the quaint, foliage-laden walkways that meander through the area.
Plus, if you totally DIG (Get it? Since we’re in a cemetery?) seeing the graves of famous people, you can always visit the final resting places of celebs like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Boss Tweed.
While you’re here, you can also say hi to the cemetery’s resident Monk Parakeets, marvel at the stunning Gothic Arch at the main entrance, and savor 360-degree city views from atop Battle Hill.
Pro Tip: This place is hella big so upon arrival, be sure to snag a free map from any one of the cemetery entrances.
You could also join a fantastic, two-hour, twilight tour of the cemetery that begin around sunset and that includes a detailed history of the area, ghost stories, a look at the catacombs, and a stop at the graves of some of the famous people buried here.
22. Sleepy Hollow
You’ve probably heard of the movie Sleepy Hollow and know why this quaint town rose to fame. It always pops up on the things to do around Halloween but did you know that Sleepy Hollow is an amazing place to visit for leaf peeping?
The Sleepy Hollow cemetery is one of the best places to snap photographs especially for people who love to get creative with their pics. The Old Dutch church which was built in 1685 also provides an excellent background for pics.
Patriot’s park in Sleepy hollow is another great place to catch the fall foliage.
Looking for something more adventurous and outdoorsy? From here you can head out to the Rocker State Park Preserve. The fall foliage here is incredible during the end of September.
Pro Tip: If you are looking for some things to do in Sleepy Hollow that are not very mainstream then head to the Old Croton Aqueduct. Not only is it an engineering marvel, it also offers you some spectacular views. Plus you can escape the crowds here!
New York Fall Foliage FAQ
What Are Some Fall Activities In Upstate New York?
Most people think of just NYC and scenic drives to see the foliage when it comes to fall in New York. Upstate New York however has so many activities that you can combine with your foliage sighting drives.
Some epic activities are:
- Naples grape festival
- The festival of witches in Sleepy Hollow, NY
- Norwich pumpkin festival
- Taste Local Hard Cider At Wayside Cider
- Hot air balloon rides to see the foliage
- Wander around a corn maze
What Is The Best Time To See Fall Colors In Catskills?
Catskills is such an awesome place to head to if you are looking for New York Fall foliage. This is because you can combine some of the epic hikes in the area. If you aren’t an outdoorsy kind of person, you can always just drive around too.
Ideally, peak season to see the foliage is between the last week of October and the second week of September. You can however avoid the peak season by visiting a week before or after.
How Long Does The Fall Foliage Last In The Adirondacks?
The best season for fall foliage in the Adirondacks lasts approximately two weeks. You want to head here between the last week of September and the first week of October if you want the best colors.
🔍 Looking for an epic fall foliage in New York experience? Then take to the skies with the Private Fall Foliage Helicopter Tour of the Hudson Valley! The view can’t get better than this!! 🚁
Map of the Best Places to See New York Fall Foliage
Additional New York Travel Resources You’ll love
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- Best things to do in NYC on Your Birthday
- 25 Places You Must Eat in NYC
- How to See NYC on a Budget
- 21 Best Waterfalls in New York