Photo Credit: Aja Koska
Looking for the Best Fall Foliage in New York? These 5 Places Will Blow Your Mind
Despite the common belief that the Big Apple is filled with harsh terrain, the annual tradition of seeing the best fall foliage in New York is a must for both tourists and residents. In fact, New York is known for having one of the most vivid autumns in the country — and, arguably, the world — because of its lush, colorful foliage.
The official I Love New York tourism website, in fact, makes it a point to offer the changing colors of the season as a prime tourism point for curious travelers. “You can feel it in the air—the profound seasonal change—when the wind chills and the landscape is painted with red and orange foliage,” they say. “Embark on a scenic drive to experience autumn’s vibrant colors first hand. Threaded with scenic vistas and nature hikes, taking a road trip or a spontaneous weekend getaway reveals a natural, stirring beauty that inspires every traveler. Get in the fall spirit with a visit to one of New York’s great craft cideries, or get ready to experience Halloween thrills (including all the fun in Sleepy Hollow), the autumn air is filled with adventure.”
The annual NY Fall Foliage report is usually a handy guide to finding the best fall foliage in New York. But, in our experience, here are the top 5 places to see the pretty colors every year.
Letchworth State Park
This is the Letchworth State Park located in Castile NY. This place is amazing. It’s like having your own Grand Canyon in the back yard. Happy Wednesday friends. Hope everyone has a great day. Talk to you later. Time for work.🤪🙋🏼♂️🌨☔️💐 pic.twitter.com/nahl04pzuZ
— ~ ᗰITᑕᕼ ~ (@MitchFredricks) September 22, 2021
Dubbed “The Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park is located deep in the area called “upstate.” Namely, it’s in between Livingston and Wyoming counties, near the Genesee River. In addition to having three of the state’s best waterfalls, Letchworth State Park has a gorge that cuts through the middle of the park, which is the perfect place to see the changing colors of autumn.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
— Neat Photos (@NeatPhotos) September 28, 2014
A Fall Foliage train? Sign us up! Board the Adirondack Scenic Railroad at the Utica Station, then look out the window and take pictures to your heart’s content. You’ll definitely take a lot of them!
Montauk Point Lighthouse
The historic Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington, is a cherished landmark of our state.
Today, I’m happy to announce that $24 million in funding has been secured to protect the lighthouse and its grounds for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/zPDNgROIR2
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 24, 2018
The Montauk Point Lighthouse is on the easternmost tip of Long Island — that’s why it’s called “the end.” If the lighthouse is open (and it’s a good idea to check with the lighthouse before you head out there, as it’s undergone a lot of construction over the years), take a walk to the top and look at the westernmost point. From there, you’ll be able to see all of Long Island’s amazing fall foliage.
Hudson Highlands State Park
What a day. What a hike. At Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve. pic.twitter.com/5Mg4D5y3CY
— Agata Porter (@agataporter) April 18, 2021
Hudson Highlands State Park is just off of Route 9 and across from Storm King State Park. It spans an area of 270 acres, running about four miles from Westchester County’s Peekskill to Dutchess County’s Beacon, passing through Putnam County on the way.
The best place to see the changing fall foliage within the 270 is in the park’s Breakneck Ridge. This will allow you to hike through the leaves and take some pretty pictures of yourself along the way!
Bear Mountain State Park
— Hollie S (@FueledbyLOLZ) July 19, 2016
Just 11 miles southwest of Hudson Highlands State Park is the infamous Bear Mountain, which has long been the favorite home of bikers looking for a place to do a “long haul.” But like its neighbor, Bear Mountain offers sights of the prettiest fall foliage in all of New York State.