Fall foliage in NYC: Where to see fall colors around the city

See spectacular fall foliage in parks and gardens across the five boroughs and beyond, with our guide to leaf-peeping around NYC.

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  • Photograph: Courtesy Long Island CVB

    Fall foliage outside NYC: Sunken Meadow State Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy Walkway Over the Hudson

    Fall foliage outside NYC: Walkway Over the Hudson

  • Photograph: Linda Engler

    Fall foliage outside NYC: Shawangunk Mountain Scenic Byway

  • Photograph: Courtesy Oneida County Tourism

    Fall foliage outside NYC: Adirondack Secenic Railroad

     

  • Photograph: Courtesy CorningFingerLakes.com

    Fall foliage outside NYC: The Black Sheep Inn

Photograph: Courtesy Long Island CVB

Fall foliage outside NYC: Sunken Meadow State Park

Fall foliage outside New York City

Sunken Meadow State Park

1.5 Hours away: Sunken Meadow State Park

Though Long Island is better known as a summertime beach destination, there are plenty of reasons to head east after Labor Day. Sunken Meadow State Park (Rte 25A at Sunken Meadow Pkwy, Kings Park, NY; 631-269-4333, nysparks.com) is just 50 miles outside of the city, and offers dazzling views of Long Island Sound and even a slice of Connecticut in the distance. The park’s diverse topography allows you to view the seasonal changes in a variety of settings, from beachfront to bluff top. And because the cold weather hits Long Island later than upstate New York, procrastinating sightseers can plan their trips well into October. The fall harvest season is also a great time to make your way to Long Island Wine Country (liwines.com) to visit the tasting rooms of more than three dozen local wineries.

1.5–2 Hours away: Walkway Over the Hudson

Think of Walkway Over the Hudson (87 Haviland Rd at Rte 9W, Highland, NY; 845-454-9649, walkway.org) as Poughkeepsie’s answer to the High Line. The former railroad overpass is more than a mile long, making it the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. And smack dab in the middle—perched 212 feet above the Hudson River and surrounded by the Catskills—is where you’ll find a spectacular, 360-degree view of fall in all its colorful glory along the banks of the river. If hoofing it isn’t your style, board Empire Cruise Lines's Mystère for a two-hour sightseeing cruise (29 N Water St between Dutchess Ave and Main St, Poughkeepsie, NY; 866-797-9024, empirecruiselines.com. $18; through Oct 27). Your captain will also point out some of the area’s stately mansions, photo-worthy lighthouses and other historic sites.

Shawangunk Mountain Scenic Byway

2 Hours away: Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway

There’s no denying that the autumnal colors of Central Park have a lot of charm. But 90 miles north of midtown, the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway (mtnscenicbyway.org), an 88-mile loop between Kerhonkson and New Paltz, NY, offers drive-by gawkers some of the state’s most picturesque views, with rustic farmlands and mountain vistas you won’t find in Manhattan. The prime leaf-spotting happens as you ascend into the Shawangunk Mountains, which rise more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Keep your camera handy during the 10.4-mile stretch of mountain road—complete with hairpin turns and switchbacks—that begins in Kerhonkson, where Route 44/55 meets Route 209. Along the way you’ll pass two back-to-back overlooks, each with imposing views of the Rondout Valley and the Catskill Mountains. If you feel the need to stretch your legs, pay a visit to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve (5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY; 845-255-0752, nysparks.com), where you can walk, cycle, hike to a waterfall or rock climb.

4.5 Hours away: Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Fall Foliage Train

No car? No problem. Pack a weekend bag and take a bucolic four-and-a-half hour ride from Penn Station to Utica, NY, aboard Amtrak’s Empire Service (amtrak.com; $87–$175). Spend the night at the century-old Hotel Utica (102 Lafayette St between Washington and Seneca Sts, Utica, NY; 877-906-1912, hotelutica.com; nightly rates from $119), then head back to the station in the morning for another train ride, this time on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Fall Foliage Train (adirondackrr.com; $27.50–$37.50). You’ll go past rivers and through the Adirondack foothills on this five-hour trek, which can be booked with (Thu, Sat 9:15am; through Oct 19) or without (Fri, Sun 11:30am; through Oct 13) a four-hour layover at Thendara Station; if you choose to stop there, you can explore the Adirondack Park (visitadirondacks.com), the country’s largest National Historic Landmark.

The Black Sheep Inn

5 Hours away: Fall into the Finger Lakes at the Black Sheep Inn

For another weekend-long excursion, head to Hammondsport, NY, in the Finger Lakes. Book a room at the octagonal Black Sheep Inn (8329 Pleasant Valley Rd between Beers Hill and Germania Rds, Hammondsport, NY; 877-274-6286, stayblacksheepinn.com; nightly rates from $155) and let the B&B’s proprietors do all the heavy lifting for you. The inn’s Fall into the Finger Lakes package (rates start at $375 for double occupancy), available during September and October, includes a two-night stay, a picnic lunch with recommendations of the best spots for foliage-spotting and a harvest dinner when you return, followed by Mexican hot chocolate and s’mores around the backyard campfire.


  1. Fall foliage in NYC
  2. Fall foliage outside NYC

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