The 18 Prettiest Places to See Fall Foliage Near New York City

From the Adirondacks and Upstate to Queens and Staten Island.

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Nothing says fall quite like fire-hued foliage—save maybe cozy knits, pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking. From Connecticut to New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are now rife with vibrantly colored leaves. Any local will tell you that the window to snap pics of the red, orange and yellow scene will be closed before you know it. Eager to catch a glimpse of those brilliant colors but not totally into the idea of a New Hampshire road trip? We get it. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy the autumnal scenery. Here are the 18 prettiest places to see fall foliage near New York City.

When Is the Best Time to See Fall Foliage in the New York Area?

The best time to glimpse those majestic reds, oranges and yellows differs each year, but in general, peak times for a fall foliage trip around upstate New York occur at the end of September through mid to late October. To guarantee a successful leaf-peeping excursion, bookmark I Love NY’s  fall foliage report and sign up for their weekly emails, in which they provide updates on peak color.

The 24 Best Fall Festivals to Visit in the U.S.

fall foliage new york delaware water gap1
Tony Sweet/Getty Images

1. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Bushkill, PA)

Autumn doesn’t get more glorious than in the Pocono Mountains, where the eclectic mix of trees turns every color on the fall-foliage spectrum. With over 70,000 acres wrapping around the Delaware River, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is especially great for aquatic activities. Canoes, kayaks and rafts are available to rent. You’ll also find 100 miles of hiking trails to traverse. Afterward, treat your tastebuds to some seasonal sips at R.A.W. Urban Winery & Hard Cidery in downtown Stroudsburg.

fall foliage near nyc greenbelt nature center
Logan Myers/EyeEm/Getty Images

2. Greenbelt Nature Center (Staten Island, NY)

  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 40 minutes from Manhattan by public transit
  • Trees to See: oak, hickory, tulip tree, beech and maple
  • Best Time to Go: second week in November
  • Where to Stay: The Pearl New York (from $269/night); W New York – Times Square (from $505/night); Crowne Plaza (from $451/night)

Believe it or not, there are some stunning leaves on...wait for it...Staten Island. That’s right! The southernmost borough boasts the Greenbelt Nature Center, a sprawling nature preserve with 35 miles of woodland trails, including one for biking. Before heading out, make a pit stop at one of the area’s famed pizzerias to fuel up for your walk. Our top pick? Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria serves up wood-fired pies and is located less than 10 minutes away. Plus, most activities at the Nature Center (including looking at the breathtaking foliage, obviously) are free.

fall foliage near nyc essex connecticut

3. Essex, CT

Connecticut has an unbelievably impressive leaf-scape (yeah, we’re calling it that). While your mind probably goes to the more woodsy Litchfield Hills, that means overlooking shoreline gems like Essex where you can gaze at foliage from both land and sea. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat makes daily runs into the Connecticut River Valley, traversing 12 miles of prime leaf-peeping territory. Opt for the full tour, which also passes by local historic sites such as Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House.

fall foliage new york bear mountain
Victor Cardoner/Getty Images

4. Bear Mountain State Park (Tomkins Cove, NY)

Bear Mountain State Park is a certified stunner all year round, but it’s even more spectacular as the mountainside bursts into shades of scarlet, rust and gold. Scenic trails meander through the beautiful landscape. We’ll admit that the trek to the peak is a bit strenuous and there’s some rock scrambling involved, so less experienced hikers might want to sit this one out. However, the sense of accomplishment and panoramic views from up top are well worth the workout. If you and your family are animal lovers, you’ll definitely want to stop by Trailside Museum & Zoo inside the park, where rehabbed bears, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are given a second chance at life.

fall foliage new york palisades interstate park1
Doug Schneider Photography/Getty Images

5. Palisades Interstate Park (Alpine, NJ)

  • Distance from NYC: 40 minutes by car
  • Trees to See: scarlet oak, white oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut, beech, sweetgum and tulip tree
  • Best Time to Go: late October/early November
  • Where to Stay: Nook’s Delight (from $180/night, sleeps 2); Hastings-on-Hudson Cottage (from $140/night, sleeps 2); Cozy Yonkers Home (from $202/night, sleeps 6)

Just a short trip over the George Washington Bridge lies a scenic stretch called Palisades Interstate Park that’s always a sight for sore eyes, but it gets exponentially prettier in the fall. For the best view of the Hudson River, be sure to hike up the Giant Stairs Trail, which is steep but beyond worth the trek. Or you can drive up the parkway to Rockleigh and back down to Fort Lee for vibrant leaves, 30 miles of trails and a slew of excellent Korean restaurants. A warm bowl of sundubu-jjigae (soft tofu stew) from So Kong Dong is the perfect comforting dish on a chilly evening.

fall foliage new york walkway over the hudson
Christopher Ramirez/Flickr

6. Hudson State Historic Park (Poughkeepsie, NY)

Imagine the High Line, only bigger. Spanning 1.28 miles, the expansive Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. Yes, really! Record-breaking length aside, it offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and the surrounding color-changing trees. It’s a quick trip, but to make a full day of it you could easily spend a full day exploring the two towns it touches, Poughkeepsie and Highland. There are historic districts, waterfront walks and even a Little Italy on the east bank, where sandwiches from Rossi Rosticceria Deli shouldn’t be missed.

fall foliage near nyc catskill forest preserve 8203
VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Getty Images

7. Catskill Forest Preserve (Grahamsville, NY)

  • Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 30 minutes by car
  • Trees to See: red oak, chestnut oak, red maple and birch
  • Best Time to Go: first week in October
  • Where to Stay: The 40-Acre Woods (from $565/night, sleeps 12); Green Meadow Cottage (from $199/night, sleeps 6); Grahamsville Chalet (from $270/night, sleeps 5)

Have time for a full-on weekend excursion? Set your Google Maps destination to Catskill Forest Preserve. This endlessly gorgeous 286,000-acre state park is even more dazzling in autumn when the trees turn from green to fiery red and orange. The meadows, sparkling lakes, waterfalls and rock formations are nothing to scoff at either. For the ultimate relaxing weekend, unplug and get in sync with Mother Nature by renting a rustic cabin or shacking up at a hip hotel in nearby Woodstock. While you’re there, make sure to visit the KaleidOscraper, the world’s largest kaleidoscope.

fall foliage near nyc forth tyron park
Courtesy of NYC Parks

8. Fort Tryon Park (New York, NY)

Want to see incredible foliage without leaving Manhattan? We’ve got just the ticket. If you’ve ever taken a boat trip around upper Manhattan, you know exactly what we’re talking about. With three beautifully landscaped acres designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of the architect of Central Park, this park sits a few hundred feet above the Hudson River in Washington Heights and is home to over 570 species of animals and plants, including trees not typically found in New York that explode with color in the fall. With eight miles of pathways (perfect for runners), plus the Heather Garden, the city's largest garden with unrestricted public access, Fort Tryon Park is a must-visit this autumn.

fall foliage near nyc adirondack scenic railroad
Mike Steege/EyeEm/Getty Images

9. Adirondack Scenic Railroad (Utica to Tupper Lake, NY)

  • Distance from NYC: 5 hours by car
  • Trees to See: Northern red oak, sugar maple, birch, striped maple and black cherry
  • Best Time to Go: early October
  • Where to Stay: Crescent Moon Cabin (from $249/night, sleeps 5); Utica Oasis (from $104/night, sleeps 4); Remsen Spa Cabin (from $354/night, sleeps 2)

Streams and bridges and bird-watching, oh my! For something a little different, hop on this train ride upstate to experience all the best foliage New York State has to offer. If you want to really take in all the autumn beauty from the road (ahem, and not have your eyes focused on the road itself), this is a great option that goes places most paths and highways don’t. While the trip is altogether nine hours, the actual train ride is only 2.5 hours each way with a 4.5-hour layover in Old Forge, an adorable old-timey village in the Adirondacks with some of the brightest orange and red trees around. Though October is the best time to take the trip, note that there’s only one weekly train at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays throughout the month.

fall foliage near nyc eric canal
Matt Champlin/Getty Images

10. Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway (Saratoga County, NY)

Erie Canal is a historic canal that stretches through much of upstate New York between Lake Erie and the Hudson River known for its significant contributions to early American transportation and westward expansion. Located just north of Albany, the scenic byway is great for hiking, biking, kayaking, walking or driving along, with fluorescent reds, oranges and yellows bursting from the trees along the water and stretching for miles. For the more adventurous New York athlete, consider joining the Mohawk Towpath Byway Duathlon on October 16 for a stunning, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

fall foliage near nyc hudson highlands
Blake Butler/EyeEm/Getty Images

11. Hudson Highlands State Park (Cold Spring, NY)

  • Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 minutes by car
  • Trees to See: red oak, black oak, white oak, sugar maple, white ash, American beech, black birch, tulip tree, black cherry, American elm and black tupelo
  • Best Time to Go: first or second week of October
  • Where to Stay: Secluded Mountaintop Getaway (from $466/night, sleeps 6); Hilltop Hideaway Forest Villa (from $457/night, sleeps 14); Mullet Hall (from $147/night, sleeps 4)

There’s simply no better view of the Hudson River Valley than from atop Hudson Highlands State Park. Hop on the Metro-North or take a quick drive up the Hudson to this magnificent, widely undeveloped state park that boasts over 8,000 acres and 70 miles of trails for hikers and bikers of all experience levels. Bright, tri-colored leaves flow over cascading rock landscapes with hundreds of species of wildlife—including bald eagles. (Did someone say, perfect photo op?) Plus, even more good news: Dogs on leashes are welcome on the trails and in recreational areas, so your furry friend can experience the autumnal beauty with you.

fall foliage near nyc alley pond park
Courtesy of NYC Parks

12. Alley Pond Park (Oakland Gardens, NY)

Just a stone’s throw from the other four boroughs, Alley Pond Park on the border of Queens and Long Island is known for its plethora of trees, playgrounds, hiking trails and handball courts. The vast park is bike-free, so paths and fields remain tranquil and well-kept with saltwater wetlands, tidal flats, meadows and forests that create a perfect environment for birds—and, therefore, birdwatching. Trees line water throughout the park, from weeping willows to hickory-oak forests that slowly (and quite romantically) change from green to yellow to orange, red and even purple. Plus, the Q27 bus goes right by the park’s entrance.

fall foliage new york: mount arab near tupper lake
DougLemke/Getty Images

13. Mount Arab (Tupper Lake, NY)

Mount Arab is a fun fall weekend getaway spot near Tupper Lake in upstate New York. The trail is a moderate, one-mile hike with a museum and fire tower observation deck at the top. One of just two in Saint Lawrence County, the tower yields majestic views of Mount Morris, Tupper Lake and the Raquette River Valley and, yes, is open to the public. After you’ve peeped the valley of leaves to your heart’s content, warm up in one of Tupper Lake’s many breweries and taverns, including the beloved P-2's Irish Pub and Raquette River Brewing. You’ll also definitely want to put stargazing on your itinerary, as the area’s dark skies make it a prime location for constellation spotting.

fall foliage new york hunter mountain
TC Franco/Getty Images

14. Hunter Mountain (Hunter, NY)

One of the more epic ways to see fall foliage in New York? By chairlift, of course. At Hunter Mountain in the Catskills, leaf peepers can take the Skyride to the summit of the 3,200-foot peak. Good weather will allow you to spot the Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains, as well as the Green Mountains in Vermont. Once you’ve admired the views to your heart’s content, head over to the Hunter Mountain Lodge to warm up with a bite to eat at Van Winkles.

fall foliage new york cooperstown
Kyle Stephens/Getty Images

15. Cooperstown, NY

Cruise down Route 28 for a colorful drive and end in Cooperstown, a village in central New York known as the home of baseball. Fall foliage abounds, in particular at the Farmer’s Museum and Fenimore Art Museum, the latter of which showcases American and American Indian art, while the former explores 19th-century rural life through a variety of workshops and exhibits. Finish your visit with a trip to Fly Creek Cider Mill and The Rose and Kettle in Cherry Valley, where they serve up “fine comfort food.”

fall foliage new york capital saratoga
Shobeir Ansari/Getty Images

16. Capital-Saratoga, NY

The region of Capital-Saratoga encompasses the counties of Albany, Fulton, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington. With seemingly boundless culinary destinations (like Sunhee’s Farm & Kitchen in Troy) and outdoor activities, it’s easy to stretch your leaf-peeping itinerary over a long weekend. Prime foliage sightings happen in the Adirondacks, along Route 30 (Indian Lake to Speculator) and along the south bay of Lake Champlain—just to name a few).

fall foliage new york cayuga lake scenic byway
TW Farlow/Getty Images

17. Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway (Ithaca, NY)

The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway is an 87-mile loop around the body of water, and driving it will give you cathartic views of the water and woodlands, plus the myriad cultural and historic attractions. Stop at Bet the Farm Winery for fruity wines, the Cayuga Nature Center and Cinemapolis, Ithaca’s independent movie theater, for a day of varied activities as you take in the beauty of the changing leaves.

fall foliage new york trophy point
Tim Brown/Getty Images

18. Trophy Point (West Point, NY)

At West Point, the country’s longest-occupied military base, visitors can climb up to Trophy Point, an overlook with sweeping views of the Hudson River Valley. The town is also rife with mansions, including the Boscobel House, Vanderbilt, Lyndhurst and Springwood, which formerly belonged to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition to beautiful landscaping, the estates also offer tours, activities and other events.

headshot 2

Freelance PureWow Editor

Lindsay Cohn is a travel writer and serial trip planner who has visited 46 countries across six continents (and counting). When not globetrotting, she’s most likely either doing...

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Quinn Fish is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer covering all things New York City, from the tastiest espresso martinis to the best amusement parks to the perfect weekend getaways...