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The 10 best places to go leaf peeping in the Catskills

Make a trip north to see some of the best fall foliage in New York

Time Out in association with I LOVE NEW YORK
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Fall in New York State means sweater weather, pumpkin patches and, of course, leaf peeping. There’s perhaps no more idyllic place in the world to check out the fall foliage than in the Catskills—with ample locations within the mountainous region to take in the changing colors—and we’re here to guide you to the best spots.

Plan your escape to the Catskills now.

Photograph: Courtesy Greene County Tourism

Five State Lookout

As the name suggests, this point offers views of five different states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. If you’re looking to see a full spectrum of colors and a diverse range of tree species flaunting their foliage, this is a sure bet.

Catskills Hunter Mountain Zipline
Catskills Hunter Mountain Zipline
Photograph: Courtesy Empire State Development

Hunter Mountain Zipline

Taking in the glory that is fall in the Catskills while standing still might just take your breath away, but doing so while whizzing 50 miles per hour on a zip line is guaranteed to leave your heart racing. New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain offers more than five miles of zippiness, some of which towers 600 feet above the ground.

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Catskills Train Tour
Catskills Train Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Empire State Development

Relax on a fall foliage train tour

If you are looking for a fresh leaf peeping perspective, try this unique mode of transportation. The Catskill Mountain Flyer is a great way to peacefully check out the area’s changing foliage. The fall foliage train rides leave from the Kingston Westbrook Lane Station, and complete an hour loop that offers views of the tree line you just can’t find in a car. If you really want to show your love for autumn, you can take the Pumpkin Patch Express train from the same station, which offers great views of leaves and an excursion to a pumpkin patch to boot.

Catskills Hudson River School Art Trail
Catskills Hudson River School Art Trail
Photograph: Courtesy Greene County Tourism

Hudson River School Art Trail

If you’ve see a landscape painting of the Hudson Valley and thought, “Wow, I need to check that out,” then this is the hike for you. Hundreds of legendary painters have explored this historic trail to capture the beauty of the area. Following in their footsteps is a great way to take in the beauty that has inspired generations of artists.

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Catskills Hannacroix
Catskills Hannacroix
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andy Arthur

Hannacroix Creek Preserve

This 2.6-mile trail brings hikers through one of the most inspiring areas in the entire state, featuring some incredible waterfalls. You’d be hard-pressed to imagine a more tranquil experience than looking at the technicolor leaves while listening to a babbling waterfall.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andy Arthur

Catskills Hawk's Nest Drive
Catskills Hawk's Nest Drive
Photograph: Courtesy Orange County Tourism

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway

If you’re exploring the Catskills by car, it’s worth your time to drive through the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway. The 70-mile stretch of New York State Route 97 is one of the prettiest drives in the country—the area encapsulates passersby in bright, amazing trees and foliage.

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Catskills Shawangunk
Catskills Shawangunk
Photograph: Courtesy Ad Essentials

Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway

If you thought the Catskills had just one byway, you’re sorely mistaken. The 88-mile Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is broken up into several segments that offer the perfect spot to take in fall vistas along the countryside. If you want to stop along the route and take in the glory that is autumn in Upstate New York, your best bet is Sam’s Point Preserve—the view will take your breath away.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs

While enjoying the changing leaves, stop by the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs and marvel at the fact that this is where most of New York City’s water comes from. And both are worth visiting right now. The massive bodies of water are truly sights to behold, surrounded by incredibly colorful forests.

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Photograph: Courtesy Empire State Development

Overlook Mountain Fire Tower

This hike is not for novices, but those who complete it will be handsomely rewarded with an inspiring vantage point. The peak of Overlook Mountain (home to the Fire Tower) offers exactly what its name suggests: Extensive views of the entire Catskills region and beyond. The round trip hike is about 10 miles, so plan accordingly.

Photograph: Courtesy SUNY Delhi College Golf Course

The College Golf Course at Delhi

Venturing into the wilderness to check out the changing leaves isn’t for everyone—and we totally get it. If you’d rather spend your foliage-seeking in leisure, the College Golf Course at Delhi is the place for you. The 18-hole public golf course is surrounded by gorgeous views of the mountains and forests, making for one of the most delightful rounds of golf in the whole state.

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