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Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Beautiful New York

Autumn is here and now is the time to enjoy all the beautiful fall foliage as the leaves begin to change into their bright colors of reds, oranges, and vibrant yellows. Go ahead and jump in the car, pack a picnic and take a fun trip to some great places to see the sights of the season all found in beautiful New York State.

Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New York State! Grab your planner and get ready for a colorful road trip as you travel through this great state exploring beauty around every turn.

Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New York State!

  • The Adirondack Mountains.  This region has one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country and with that comes a bevvy of wonderful driving routes and scenic areas to visit September through November.  The best way to get plenty of fall travel info is to check out the FREE brochures and download them for easy planning. If it is a cold year, be sure to go late September to mid-October, as colors burst on the trees quickly and fade away just as fast. Be sure to bring your Blanket Scarf to keep you warm!
  • Finger Lakes Region. Nothing says autumn like a visit to this gorgeous region full of impressive vineyards and lake views.  The Finger Lakes region is incredibly scenic, with the golden hues of vineyards gracing the banks of deep-blue lakes. Fall is the perfect time to visit excellent wineries, take a boat cruise, enjoy a picnic lunch, or visit nearby Watkins Glen State Park for a hike while surrounding yourself with autumnal colors.
  • Hudson River Valley.  With the fall temperatures just right and the many beautiful great estates, a must visit the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, another National Park in New York State should be on your list.  Find a spot along the river to admire the views and stroll through the meticulous gardens. 
fall foliage leaves in New York

Autumn foliage downstate too

Be sure to check out fall leaf colors close to the city! Upstate leaves reach peak foliage colors early in autumn because of the cooler temperatures. Colors will reach peak the further south you travel around mid to late October.

  • New York City.  You really can’t go wrong checking out the top of the Empire State Building for a superb look at this glorious city and every tree that is in and around it.  You can also make your way across the Brooklyn Bridge, which spans NYC and Brooklyn, to see some amazing views of fall foliage. Another awesome way to get some fall leaf-peeping is to head to the 70-story Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center, then a visit to Central Park for Mother Natures beauty. 
  • Letchworth State Park. Known as “The Grand Canyon of the East,” this is a gem of a park that hasn’t been traversed as often as many of the other parks in the state.  Located south of Rochester, enjoy a scenic drive through many of the small, gorgeous towns such as Mumford, Caledonia, and Mt. Morris along Route 36 South.  If you start at the North end of the park, you can leisurely drive through 15 miles of scenic terrain.
  • Rochester.  Everyone who explores Rochester this time of year seems to automatically fall in love.  All season long, and before the cold winter sets in, the lovely bursts of autumn colors are everywhere you look; so head downtown for a cup of coffee and stroll along the gorgeous streets.  Try East Avenue and Park Avenue for some of the most magnificent trees and all of their vibrant colors. Columbus Day does kick off a start to the fall foliage tour season, so it’s the perfect time to visit.
  • The Catskills.  The Catskills are recognized as a very easy area to reach from just about any region of the state.  The mountain ranges are centrally located and have long been a favorite destination of New York visitors.  The Catskills are beautiful year-round, but truly show off all their glory in the fall. For great ideas for those who want the best views, check out the Catskill Mountains.

Best fall leaf colors

These are just some of the spectacular places to visit for fall this season.  It is such a beautiful time of year in New York State, so be sure to get out there and take the time to explore everything this amazing state has to offer.  It doesn’t matter if you are driving through, hiking the many mountain trails, or boating on the waters, New York’s fall foliage is a must-see from any vantage point!

If you are looking for more to do with your free time, don't miss our list of the 7 best fall festivals to visit in Capital District! 

7 Best Fall Festivals to Visit this Season in the Capital District

fall foliage in new york state

Original Post: 9/16/16

Updated Post 9/23/20

Julie Gardner

Saturday 17th of September 2016

This post is beautiful (and delicious) in every way. My husband's parents live an hour outside Albany and I've never visited these of these places, besides the Empire State Building.


Kelly Pugliano

Tuesday 20th of September 2016

Really? Where about? If you ever visit during the fall season (or any season for that matter!) you should take our list and explore! So many places-and gems off the beaten path.