Guide to Leaf Peeping and Fall Foliage in New York State

Where to catch the colors in the Empire State

By Rachel Seaboldt-Fenty and Kelly Fitzpatrick September 3, 2023

New York is known for its stunning fall foliage, especially in the upstate regions. Families love to take in the sights of the changing colors while on drives or hikes through our area and are often willing to travel for the beautiful show that autumn puts on in New York State.  The Fall Foliage tracker, New York Fall Foliage Report, can help you to plan your trip around peak fall colors throughout the season.


Here are some of the best places to see fall leaves in New York:

  1. Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks offer a breathtaking display of fall colors. The High Peaks region, Lake Placid, and the scenic drives through the mountains provide ample opportunities to witness the vibrant foliage.
  2. Catskill Mountains: Another popular spot for fall foliage, the Catskills offer stunning vistas, hiking trails, and scenic drives that showcase the changing leaves.

  3. Hudson Valley: The Hudson Valley region boasts beautiful landscapes with picturesque towns and historic sites. The Hudson River provides a stunning backdrop to the fall colors.

  4. Finger Lakes: The Finger Lakes region is known for its wineries, but it also offers beautiful fall foliage. The combination of lakeshores and rolling hills creates a colorful landscape.

  5. Letchworth State Park: Often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park offers incredible views of the Genesee River Gorge surrounded by vibrant fall foliage.

  6. Central Park, New York City: Even in the heart of the city, Central Park transforms into a colorful oasis during the fall. The park's many trees create a beautiful display of autumn hues.

  7. Bear Mountain State Park: Just a short drive from New York City, Bear Mountain State Park provides scenic overlooks of the Hudson River and stunning fall foliage.

  8. Whiteface Mountain: In the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain offers gondola rides to the summit, where you can take in panoramic views of the surrounding autumn landscape.

  9. Lake George: This popular Adirondack destination offers both lake views and mountainsides covered in fall colors, making it a picturesque spot for leaf-peeping.

  10. Taconic State Park: This park stretches across New York and Massachusetts, offering scenic beauty along with hiking trails and fall foliage.

    Remember that the timing of peak fall foliage varies each year, but generally, late September to mid-October is the best time to catch the most vibrant colors. It's a good idea to check local foliage reports, such as the one linked above, and plan your visit accordingly. Additionally, consider taking scenic drives, going on hikes, or enjoying outdoor activities to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of New York's fall foliage.