Leaf Peepers, Here’s The Best Fall Foliage Destinations In NY

Landscape photo of the fall foliage and leaf changing colors next to the Hudson River

If picking apples isn't really your thing, but you still want an excuse to get out of the city for awhile and breathe in some crisp fall air, leaf peeping season is just about at its peak right now in a bunch of areas close by. And while fall foliage journeys are always a bit of a crap shoot–it seems that parts of the Adirondacks have already had their most intense flare-ups; and some years the color explosions just kind of… fizzle–there are several solid resources for making your trip as fruitful as possible. And if you have any personal leaf-peeping experience this year, please let us (and everyone else) know where to go in the comments.

Beautiful colors of red, green and yellow on the changing leaves in Upstate New York

Leaf Peeping In The Hudson Valley

The I Heart NY site releases a Fall Color Report every Wednesday at this time of year with an impressive amount of detailed, eyewitness information from spotters in the field about exactly where each region of the state is in terms colors, from "just changing" to "near peak" to "past peak". If you're heading all the way up to New England, here's a handy list of Fall Foliage Web Cams currently tracking the colors, including one looking out over Middlebury College in Vermont; another giving aerial views of Western Connecticut, called the Mohawk Mountain Cam; and the camera positioned on a single large maple tree right outside the headquarters of Yankee Magazine. For an excellent peeping option closer to home, there's always the Walkway Over the Hudson (pictured at top) up in Poughkeepsie. Soaring over 200 feet above the river with the Catskill Mountains on all sides, the mile-and-a-quarter-long Walkway offers spectacular 360-degree views of the seasonal fiireworks. You can even take a two-hour sightseeing boat ride on that stretch of the Hudson–sprawling estates, cute towns, leaves in their full autumnal glory, hopefully–via Empire Cruise Lines, which launches near the Walkway.

A canopy of yellow leaves along a trail in New York's botanical gardens

Beauty Right Here In The Big Apple

But even if you can't make it upstate or to New England, remember that we also have lots of trees right here in beautiful New York City, and they too turn color this time of year. The more obvious prime peeping spots include the North Woods, the Harlem Meer, and the Great Hill, all in Central Park, and all extremely pretty and usually under-crowded; and the New York Botanical Gardens, perhaps on one of two Fall Forest Weekends there in early November, during which you can go on a free guided tour of the 50-acre Thain Family Forest (above), the largest remaining tract of old-growth forest anywhere in the five boroughs. Another solid in-town option: the stunning vistas of the Hudson River and the Palisades beyond as seen from Inwood's Fort Tryon Park, which is also home the Met's Medieval museum outpost, the Cloisters. The 190th Street A train stop leaves you right at the base of the park, making for an easy outing that feels a lot farther away than it actually is.

A view of the changing leaves from a vista in New Paltz, NY

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