Best Leaf Peeping in the Hudson Valley
Looking for the loveliest leaf peeping venues in the Hudson Valley? Look no further. We’ve packed these ambitious 2 and 3-day itineraries with piles of colorful suggestions!
WESTCHESTER / PUTNAM
Warm up for your whirlwind fall weekend with an easy two-mile hike that includes gorgeous vistas of the New Croton Dam and an autumnal color palette.
Location: 35 Yorktown Rd, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520
Next take a ten-minute drive to Teatown Lake Reservation, a 1,000-acre nonprofit nature preserve and environmental education center, with 15 miles of hiking trails, a two-acre island refuge for over 230 species of native wildflowers, year-round programming, wildlife exhibits, and stunning fall foliage.
Location: 1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining, NY 10562
About a half an hour north, Boscobel's Great Lawn offers unparalleled views of the Hudson River, Constitution Marsh, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. You can also explore the mile-long Frances Stevens Reese Woodland Trail of Discovery.
Location: 1601 Route 9D, Garrison, NY, 10524
Travel about 30 minutes east and find a gorgeous 9-mile section of the Empire State Trail. An off-road paved trail, it welcomes bicyclists and walkers of all abilities. The scenic trail follows the Putnam Trailway north from there, winding through wooded areas, past scenic lakes, and through small communities.
Location: Trail begins in Mahopac, at a trailhead parking area at the intersection of Croton Falls Road (CR34) and Mud Pond Road in Mahopac, NY.
ROCKLAND / ORANGE
Only 30 miles north of New York City, Bear Mountain is an outdoor lover’s paradise offering spectacular panoramic views of fall foliage from Perkins Memorial Tower . Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway (PIP), a scenic 42-mile ride from the George Washington Bridge along the Hudson River Palisades for vibrant colors and breathtaking views of the Hudson River. After your exploration, recharge at the 1915 Bar & Restaurant located at the Bear Mountain Inn.
Location: Palisades Parkway or Route 9W North, Bear Mountain, NY 10911
Less than 30 minutes away, you’ll find the second largest park in New York State! Harriman State Park features more than 40 marked trails (225 miles worth), 31 lakes/reservoirs, and miles of great biking roads with spectacular vibrant foliage during the fall. Enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and more!
Location: 54 Seven Lakes Dr, Sloatsburg, NY 10974
More oohs and ahh await! Not far away, autumn leaves make a dramatic backdrop for the huge sculptural works on the 500 acres of Storm King Art Center, the country’s largest outdoor sculpture park. The park-like setting contains a wide variety of trees producing a veritable rainbow of colors.
Location: 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553
Next, take a drive down New York State’s newest scenic byway as it winds along the Delaware River. The Hawk’s Nest connects the railroad city of Port Jervis, NY to the bluestone village of Hancock, NY. See for yourself why this unique highway has been featured in many car advertisements and commercials.
Location: Route 97, Sparrowbush, NY 12780
DUTCHESS / ULSTER
Not only will you discover Scottish-style castle ruins in the middle of the Hudson River—but also brilliant views of changing leaves throughout the Hudson Highlands. Guided walking tours around the castle, residence and restored gardens run through the end of October during peak fall foliage. Bundle up and board the Estuary Steward in Beacon, NY for an unforgettable autumn ride on the water.
Location: Pollepel Island, Beacon, NY 12508
A little more than two miles long, Ferncliff Forest trail culminates with a fire tower climb—and a dramatic panoramic view of the Hudson River, Catskill Mountains and Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. Few vantage points are better for fall foliage! One of many excellent leaf-peeping spots on the Dutchess Tourism Zen Finder Outdoor Experience Trail.
Location: 68 Mt Rutsen Rd, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
About a half hour away, you’ll find this former railroad bridge built in 1888. The Walkway spans 1.26 miles and stretches 212 feet above the majestic Hudson River. It's the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Enjoy a magnificent birds' eye view of the Catskill Mountains and adjacent landscape covered in autumn’s colorful hues.
- Highland entrance: 87 Haviland Road Highland, NY 12528
- Poughkeepsie entrance: 61 Parker Avenue Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
- Upper Landing Park (Elevator Entrance): 83 N. Water St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Once you’re on the west side of the Hudson River, you’ll want to head to Mohonk. Featuring more than 7,000 sprawling acres of natural areas and hundreds of trails, Mohonk Preserve provides access to some of the best views of fall colors in all of Ulster County and New York State.
Location: Gardiner, NY 12525
Travel north to find the Ashokan Rail Trail (ART)—a shared-use recreational trail running 11.5 miles along the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir. Boasting a variety of environs from wide-open views to quiet forest glades, rocky cliffs and deep forest valleys to rush-filled wetlands and protected ponds, the trail serves up many opportunities to stop and enjoy the view. In autumn, the trail is an explosion of fall color.
Location: NYS Route 28, West Hurley, NY 12491
COLUMBIA / GREENE
Looking to add a little adrenaline to your leaf peeping? Experience the longest zipline in the United States while traveling up to 55+ mph while 250’ above the ski trails. Open Saturdays and Sundays for the month of October (weather permitting). Or enjoy the beautiful fall colors via a relaxing scenic chair lift ride or a leisurely walk.
Location: 78 Catamount Rd, Hillsdale, NY 12529
Home of one of the most celebrated Hudson River School artists, Frederic E. Church, Olana offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River and beyond, as well as many trails. “When the autumn fires light up the landscape you will see Nature’s palette set with her most precious and vivid colors…” Frederic E. Church to fellow Hudson River School painter, Jervis McEntee, autumn 1874.
Location: 5720 NY-9G, Hudson, NY 12534
The Hudson River Skywalk is a pedestrian path that connects Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Frederic Church's Olana allowing you to walk in the path of these historic artists. Cross the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects Hudson, NY with the charming riverside town of Catskill, NY. From three viewing decks along the Skywalk, hundreds of feet in the air, enjoy panoramic views of the colorful Hudson Valley.
Location: 99 Route 23, Catskill, NY 12414
Take an easy .6 round trip hike to the Viewing Platform overlooking Kaaterskill Falls and the Kaaterskill Clove to experience the highest cascading two-tiered waterfall in NYS and one of America's oldest tourist attractions (featured in some of the most prominent books, essays, poems and paintings of the early 19th century.) Especially breathtaking in the fall!
Location: Laurel House Rd, Palenville, NY 12463
ALBANY / RENSSELAER
Follow the leaf-covered road up to John Boyd Thacher State Park! Perched atop the Helderberg Escarpment, the park boasts drop dead gorgeous panoramic scenes of fall foliage. Venture to the Overlook and marvel at sweeping views of the landscape draped in a blanket of reds, oranges and yellows. This iconic spot is a must-see for leaf peepers!
Location: 1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186
Washington Park is an urban oasis nestled within the nearby city of Albany. During the autumn months, the historic park transforms into a fall foliage paradise with leaf-covered paths and vibrant trees. Stroll across the romantic footbridge, the only remaining original structure in the park, and marvel at seasonal views of the lake. After walking through the park, wander into the nearby Center Square neighborhood. Admire the charming architecture, from wood-framed houses to brownstone mansions, accented by the fall-colored tree lined streets.
Location: State and Willet Streets, Albany, NY 12210
Autumn is an adventure here! More than 30 different ecological communities call this park home, along with 19 species of mammals and over 50 species of birds. Explore six miles of trails on picturesque, self-guided hikes.
Location: 475 Dyken Pond Rd, Cropseyville, NY 12052
About 30 minutes away, you’ll find Poestenkill Community Forest. Vitally important for watershed and wildlife protection—this 436-acre forested parcel provides recreational trails, demonstrates best management practices for forest stewardship, and is a spectacular place to experience fall in NY.
Location: 200 Legenbauer Rd, Averill Park, NY 12018