Fall Foliage: Leaf Peeping in NY

Check out these great leaf-peeping locations before it’s too late, or plan for next year’s fall foliage viewing experience!

fall foliage blog header

Calling all leaf peepers and fall foliage-enthusiasts! Most of New York State is a scenic sea of red, yellow and orange right now, and most of us are just itching to get out and bask in all of its glory. Whether you’re in the flat environment of NYC or the mountainous landscape of the Catskills, fall foliage is truly a gorgeous kaleidoscope of color before our deciduous trees shed their leaves. With the fall season in full swing, you may be wondering: when will fall foliage peak? The peak of fall foliage differs throughout the state, and most of the state has reached its peak last week, but that doesn’t mean you’re too late to experience these colors.

You’ll get plenty of views of fall foliage aboard Amtrak along the Hudson River, among other regions, but if you’re looking to stop and smell the roses, or rather the leaves, you’ve come to the right place. Check out some of our favorite fall foliage leaf peeping spots throughout New York. Whether you’re trying to squeeze in one last look or planning for next year’s adventure, these spots won’t disappoint.

Central Park Fall Foliage
Central Park Fall Foliage

Central Park

1.5 miles from Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station (NYP)  

Some people believe you need to travel outside of the city to experience autumn’s beauty, but there are plenty of spots throughout Manhattan that boast fall foliage. One of the most iconic spots to witness the changing leaves in NYC is Central Park. Taking up most of the city, Central Park is hard to miss, but it certainly has its hidden gems 

One gem that certainly isn’t hiding is Central Park’s sweeping views of fall foliage. No matter where you’re standing, you’ll have a clear view of all of the glorious colors. Not to mention, you’ll find plenty of other things to do during your visit.  

Central Park is currently at its peak, so make sure to head over and take advantage of the views. 

Croton Dam
Croton Dam | Photo Courtesy of Enormous Creative

Croton Gorge Park

3.2 miles from Croton-Harmon Station (CRT)  

Explore 97 acres of beautiful scenery alongside sweeping views of the Croton River. Croton Gorge Park offers gorgeous views at its base and from the bridge that spans above the dam. Regardless of where you’re standing, you’ll be surrounded by colorful leaves. This park is the perfect destination if you’re looking to make a short trip out of the city.   

Westchester County is currently nearing peak foliage, making now the perfect time to visit and take in the sights. All of which is accessible via Croton-Harmon Station.  

Walkway Over the Hudson Fall Foliage
Walkway Over the Hudson Fall Foliage

Walkway Over the Hudson

0.8 miles from Poughkeepsie Station (POU)  

Currently, at peak foliage, Walkway Over the Hudson is ready for leaf-peeping with scenic views of the Hudson River. Walk, bike or run along the world’s largest pedestrian bridge while enjoying gorgeous fall colors reflecting along the river. The Walkway is readily accessible when stopping at Poughkeepsie Station.  

If you’re looking to enjoy fall foliage along the Hudson River, Walkway Over the Hudson is the perfect destination. Whether you’re staying active or stopping to take in the scenery, the Walkway will surely leave you awestruck.  

Mohonk Mountain House Fall Foliage
Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House

15.5 miles from Poughkeepsie Station (POU)  

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at POU and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Poughkeepsie office: 845-485-2222.

Another prime leaf-peeping location is a crowned jewel among the Hudson Valley, the Mohonk Mountain House. Right outside of the groovy town of New Paltz, Mohonk Mountain House is located along the Shawangunk Ridge, with the Sky Top Tower easily visible from the village. The Mohonk Mountain House is a site for getaways, filming and hiking.  

Two popular hikes that are accessible from Mohonk Mountain House are the Sky Top Tower hike and the Labyrinth, each of which leads to the tower at varying difficulties. Once you reach the top, you’ll find breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley’s fall foliage. Take it from someone who has hiked there, you won’t want to miss those views.

Visiting Mohonk Mountain House is an optimal leaf-peeping destination for anyone looking to enjoy hiking while observing the foliage.  

Catskill Mountain Railroad
Catskill Mountain Railroad | Photo Courtesy of ILoveNY.com

Catskill Mountain Railroad

13.2 miles from Rhinecliff-Kingston Station (RHI) 

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at RHI and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Kingston office: 845-336-4700.

Rather enjoy fall foliage from the comfort of indoor space? So many of us cruise through scenic drives that boast gorgeous foliage at every turn, but can’t fully take in the sights at the expense of our safety. The Catskill Mountain Railroad is a prime way to observe foliage safely, while also being able to take in more of it than you would on your typical hike.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad is reaching the end of its fall foliage trains this weekend, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more foliage to enjoy while on the train. Attend one of the railroad’s many fun seasonal events, like the upcoming Fall Harvest rides.

NY Zipline Adventure Tours SkyRider
NY Zipline Adventure Tours SkyRider | Photo Courtesy of Doug Thies

New York Zipline Adventure Tours

26.9 miles from Hudson Station (HUD)  

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at HUD and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Hudson office: 518-828-5492.

Looking for a more unique way to check out fall foliage? What better way to look at the leaves than by soaring above and through the treetops? At New York Zipline Adventure Tours at Hunter Mountain, you can enjoy views of the Catskill Mountains unlike any other.

New York Zipline Adventure Tours hosts two exhilarating tours: the Sky Rider and the Mid-Mountain tour. The former is the largest zip line in North America and features six different zip line experiences. The Sky Rider tour is an exciting way to immerse yourself in the Catskill Mountains. Book your tour and experience an aerial and upfront view of the fall foliage of the Great Northern Catskills.

Kaaterskill Falls Fall Foliage
Kaaterskill Falls Fall Foliage

Kaaterskill Falls

23.2 miles from Hudson Station (HUD)  

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at HUD and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Hudson office: 518-828-5492.

Not up for soaring above the treetops at a high speed? Take in the beauty of fall foliage in Greene County at an easier pace by visiting Kaaterskill Falls. According to GreatNorthernCatskills.com, Kaaterskill Falls is the “highest cascading waterfall in New York State.”   

Although Kaaterskill Falls is certainly a location you should take caution with while visiting, it offers glorious wide-ranging views of fall foliage among a mountainous landscape. If you’re interested in fully experiencing the Great Northern Catskills, you’ll want to visit this gorgeous waterfall at least once in your life.

Cohoes Fall
Cohoes Fall | Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ancona, Discover Albany

Cohoes Falls

12.3 miles from Albany-Rensselaer Station (ALB)

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at ALB and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Albany office: 518-427-3893.

Wondering what fall foliage the Capital Region has to offer? Just a mere 12.3 miles from Albany-Rensselaer Station, Cohoes Falls is a quick and easy rideshare away.

If you’ve never visited Cohoes Falls, you’ll quickly realize you’re in for a treat upon arriving. Located along the Mohawk River, Cohoes Falls is a perfect place to hike, fish or take photos to commemorate your trip. Not only will you get to enjoy a gorgeous view of the falls, but also of the red, yellow and orange leaves surrounding it. Cohoes Falls is a great outdoor attraction to visit during any season, but the fall is an extra special time to make your trip.

Adirondack Railroad
Adirondack Railroad | ILoveNY.com

Adirondack Railroad

0.2 miles from Utica Station (UTC)

Get ready for an attraction that’s practically built for leaf-peeping. The Adirondack Railroad, which is often referred to as the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, certainly holds up to its nickname. The railroad departs right from Utica Station, an area that is just meeting its fall foliage peak. Each year, the Adirondack Railroad offers trips in its dome car to get a better look at the foliage, but you can still get a great view from inside the train car.

Old Forge, the other end of the line, has reached its peak, making the trip still a worthwhile leaf-peeping experience. Get a fantastic view of Central NY’s fall foliage while you still can aboard the Adirondack Railroad, and plan in advance for next year’s dome car rides.

Letchworth State Park Fall Foliage
Letchworth State Park Fall Foliage

Letchworth State Park

40 miles from Rochester Station (ROC)

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at ROC and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Rochester office: 585-423-2220.

Ever visited the Grand Canyon? Over at Letchworth State Park, you won’t have to travel thousands of miles to enjoy a canyon landscape. Although lacking red rocks and a desert environment, Letchworth State Park, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the East, is a breathtaking feat of nature outside of Rochester, NY.  

Western New York surely has its own beautiful fall foliage just waiting to be experienced. Letchworth State Park is already worth visiting for any reason, so you can only imagine the views it offers of the changing leaves. If you’re looking to get some last-minute leaf-peeping in this season, travel to Letchworth State Park.  

Niagara Falls State Park Fall Foliage
Niagara Falls State Park Fall Foliage

Niagara Falls State Park

2.1 miles from Niagara Falls Station  

It’s no surprise that Niagara Falls is on this list. The state park is already a top tourism destination due to its natural construction and immaculate views. But Niagara Falls State Park isn’t just waterfalls, there are plenty of trails to explore, including the Whirlpools and Gorge, that display their own fall foliage.

A short distance from Niagara Falls Station, you can take in views of fall foliage from all angles. Leaves at Niagara Falls State Park are currently reaching their peak, making now a great time to visit.

So, where is the best fall foliage in New York? Well, after reading this you’ve probably realized that there is no single best spot for leaf-peeping in the state. Luckily, for us New Yorkers, we’re surrounded by some of the best spots around. Whether you’re by a lake, beach, mountain, forest or canyon, New York is filled with gorgeous color come fall time.

Book a trip aboard Amtrak and take advantage of the fall foliage peak today!

Further Information Regarding Travel
Amtrak has taken several initiatives to ensure the safety of its passengers. They have committed to requiring face masks for all passengers, converting the cafe car to takeout only, adding social distance signage, and much more.
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