Fall Foliage Trips in Upstate New York

Fall Foliage at its Peak in Upstate New York (visitadirondacks.com)Summer’s over, and in some parts of the world, the crisper feel of fall is already in the air. One aspect of living in the northeast that I really miss is watching the leaves change.

I went to college near the Adirondacks, and fall foliage trips in upstate New York really were spectacular. While I haven’t been to Vermont in autumn, New York fall foliage never left me feeling like I was missing anything!

Mid-September through late October are the peak fall foliage seasons in upstate New York, depending on the elevation.

Leaf peepers in upstate New York are somewhat akin to birders; they track peak fall foliage seasons and compare popular scenic routes for optimal views of the changing colors of the leaves.

The Adirondacks region has 12 scenic byways that are ideal for fall foliage travel. Road trips along these upstate New York scenic byways can involve stops at B&Bs, fall festivals, and towns with adorable New England style antique shops and museums.

Scenic Byways in the Adirondacks:

Fall Foliage for Upstate New York Leaf Peepers (visitadirondacks.com)Adirondack Trail
Black River Trail
Blue Ridge Road
Central Adirondack Trail
Dude ranch Trail
High Peaks Byway
Lakes to Locks Passage
Military Byway
Mohawk Towpath Byway
Olympic Byway
Roosevelt-Marcy Byway
Southern Adirondack Trail

There are several annual fall festivals that complement fall foliage tours in upstate New York. These serve as tourist attractions, as well as bringing locals out to enjoy the fun annual activities their region offers. These are some of the annual autumn festivals that happen during foliage season in the Adirondacks.

Fall Festivals in upstate New York (adirondackballoonfest.org)Adirondack Balloon Festival – In September (before peak fall foliage, but leaves are changing already in upstate NY) Queensbury’s hot air balloon enthusiasts let loose more than 90 balloons.

Their vivid, bold colors look especially striking against the clear, bright blue sky of the season. The Adirondack Balloon Festival also involves live music, activities for kids, and fireworks.

Adirondack Harvest Festival – In October, the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake celebrates the season with cider pressing, wagon rides, pumpkin painting, music and more. The museum’s other programs and special events are interesting for history buffs as well.

Flaming Leaves Festival – Lake Placid is already a popular travel destination, and this fall attraction adds to its allure.

The Flaming Leaves Festival in October offers live music, beer and bbq, family-friendly activities like crafts for children, and – especially nice during this peak fall foliage season – an elevator to the top of the 120-meter ski jump. Views of Lake Placid’s fall foliage from here should satisfy the pickiest leaf peeper.

Autumn Travel in the Adirondacks (adirondackexperience.com)Harvest Festival – Long Lake, New York holds this festival in October, on the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend.

American crafts at their best are on display (and for sale!) here: locally made furniture, quilts, jewelry, soaps, syrup and other American craft items indicative of the northeast are here, along with cider, apples, and homemade pies. And, almost needless to say, pumpkins galore.

Whiteface Oktoberfest – Less upstate New York Americana, more Bavarian, but fun indeed.

In October, Wilmington’s Bavarian and Alps Oktoberfest has plenty of food and beer, dancing and other lively festivities, and enough lederhosen to make a Belgian blush.

A gondola ride up Little Whiteface Mountain allows for fall foliage fans to get in some leaf peeping along with all those sausages and beer.

Leaf peepers who want to experience more than just the changing colors of the leaves in upstate new York will have a great fall foliage tour on any of the Adirondack’s scenic byways, with detours to enjoy an October fall festival along the way.

It’s a great way to celebrate the season. And if you’d rather stay in the city, here are places to see the fall color in New York City.

Looking for more?  Here are some great weekend getaways in New England we know you’ll love!

Need something to keep the kids entertained?  Check out these 45+ Road Trip Games That Will Make Time Fly!

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Summer's over, and in some parts of the world, the crisper feel of fall is already in the air. One aspect of living in the northeast that I really miss is watching the leaves change.

12 Comments on "Fall Foliage Trips in Upstate New York"

  1. I like to see the leaves change colors in the fall, but I do not like the winter that comes right after it.

  2. Thanks for the pretty glimpses of the Northeast’s spectacular fall color show. I”ve been living/traveling in the tropics since 1998, so have not seen a fall leave-changing in over a decade! I grew up in Pa, where the fall season is equally splendid. But to be honest, the very very best fall seasons I’ve seen were in Kyoto, japan, where I lived for 6 years. Wow! I’d vote for the US Northeast and Japan as the 2 most gorgeous fall seasons. Thanks for the reminiscing! cheers, Lash

  3. I do love crisp fall foliage, which is a season hallmark in the Midwest. I like fall festivals as well, this is an informative list.

  4. Cornelius Aesop | September 16, 2011 at 11:54 am |

    I love fall photos. I’ve always wanted to travel north into Michigan during fall, I’ve heard they have beautiful scenes there as well.

  5. We got some cool autumn air this past week in Chicago, so I am sure it will lead to some early fall foliage opportunities. This post is a great resource for those in the New England area.

  6. THis is my absolute favorite time of the year. And living in Central America, I have to say it’s one of the only things I really miss!

  7. Don’t forget the Hilton Apple Fest in my hometown of Hilton, New York.

  8. Hi Vacation Gals! Thanks for submitting this post to the BT Blog Carnival. I’ll be sure to include it. (And please be sure to spread the word when the carnival goes live on Sept. 27th.)

    I must say I had NO IDEA there were so many festivals in New England! I guess I just missed the changing autumn colors when I visited the East Coast last year. Oh well, there’s next time 🙂

  9. I love that huge list of festivals you include. Would love to check a few of them out. I bet the photo ops and the scenic drives would be wonderful…

    Thanks for participating in the Traveler’s Show & Tell blog carnival over at Mental Mosaic. I hope to see you there again. 🙂


  10. GlobetrotterGirls | September 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    We were just driving through New York and the Northeast this August wishing it were just one month later – the trees are so just perfect for Fall Colors! At least we’re in Chicago now to enjoy the Midwest version of the beauty (and getting out before it turns winter! 🙂 )

  11. Howdy again VacationGals,

    I wanted to say thanks again for submitting to the BT Blog Carnival, and that the 8th BT Blog Carnival which was published today. (And, of course, this article was hand-picked to be included.)

    If you could retweet, stumble, or like this edition of the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  12. Fall photos are always wonderful, I just love how the colors contrast with the eye ..

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