Top 3 Places to See Fall Foliage in New York

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The first thing that may come to your mind at the mention of “New York” might be skyscrapers, crowded streets, and clamoring city-goers. 

While that’s a typical assessment of New York City, it’s not a fair description for the state of New York

In truth, New York State is home to 18.6 million acres of rich forests, and in fact, 61% of the state is lushly forested. 

With all that staggering foliage bursting into fiery colors of amber, gold, and crimson red – you owe it to yourself to plan the perfect getaway to savor the best fall foliage tours in New York State.

When to Go: The Best Time to See Fall Foliage in New York State

Of course, every year is different and no season can be 100% predictable. 

However, it’s common knowledge the best time to catch peak-fall foliage in New York State is in October. 

While the month of October is optimal for eye-popping autumnal views, you’ve still got some wiggle room. 

New York state fall foliage Bronx Botanical Garden
Bronx Botanical Gardens

Depending upon the weather, you can start assessing the turning of the leaves around mid to end-September. 

November is also a great time to go, but again, it really depends on the weather. 

For instance, if it’s a rainy autumn, that puts a kibosh on foliage fireworks as the leaves fall earlier than ideal for camera-toting tourism. 

Your best bet for planning the right time to go is to get a foliage tracker (yes, there’s an app for that), or consult NY’s fall foliage report.

What to Take: Essentials to Pack for Your Fall Foliage Tour

Fall is a fickle mistress in NY, and the weather can be extremely unpredictable.

Temperatures can swing from the high 80s and easily plummet to freezing in the evenings. 

The best way to prepare for these erratic conditions is, in a word, layers. 

Pack t-shirts as a base layer, and then include sweaters, hoodies, and a good jacket.

New York state fall foliage Bronx Botanical Garden
Niagara Falls

This allows you to pile on clothes and peel them off as the temps rise during the day.

Also, pack extra socks and quality walking sneakers for women or men because you’ll likely be doing a lot of strolling beneath colorful canopies of changing leaves on your trip. 

And of course, pack the best camera you have and brush up on your travel photography skills because you’ll be surrounded by snap-worthy scenery wherever you are on your fall foliage tour.

Where to Go: Best 3 Spots for Fall Foliage in New York State

Now for the main event – where to go for the most invigorating views of autumn awesomeness in New York! 

Here are the top spots for viewing blazing foliage that will stun and amaze your senses.

Letchworth State Park

Referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” this 14,350-acre national park features glorious gorges and three wondrous waterfalls. 

Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park

Experience the magnificent mists of Middle Falls carved by the Genesee River, or take a hike along the 66 miles of hiking trails. 

Have lunch at the cozy Glen Iris Inn and savor all the glory nature has to offer in Letchworth in the fall.

Adirondack Mountains

With its sprawling landscapes and breathtaking 46 mountain peaks, the Adirondacks have been an autumnal inspiration for literary masters such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Adirondacks fall foliage

Now it’s your turn to get inspired in this expansive wonderland of nature’s finest glories. 

Bigger than Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades combined, Adirondack Park sprawls over a mind-boggling 6 million acres.

Adirondack Mountains fall foliage

That’s a lotta fall foliage to take in, so bring your camera and go wild in this massively magical place in New York State.

The Catskill Mountains

Pristine rivers, tiered waterfalls, and fabulous forest preserves await you in the Catskills. Every scene is eye-popping with autumnal delights. 

With over 700,000 acres to explore, the Catskill Mountain Park promises camera-worthy shots and you can peer into five neighboring states from almost any overlook. 

Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills Mountains of New York
Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills Mountains

You can opt to hike, bike, and kayak your way through these golden-studded mountains.

Or, stay in the car and get a window view of the unadulterated beauty this region is legendary for.

In closing, it’s clear that New York State is far more than towering skyscrapers and fast-paced city life. 

The wiles of autumn and the wilderness of New York State are waiting for you, so dally no longer!

Pack your bags and submerge yourself in the bodacious beauty only a New York fall foliage tour can provide.

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