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12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage

12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage

As the fall season arrives, New York’s Hudson Valley undergoes its annual transformation from the vibrant greens of summer to the warm, golden hues of autumn. As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop, visitors from all over flock to the region to witness the Hudson Valley fall foliage in all its fiery glory.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic drive, the perfect fall hike, or to explore a historic estate, let me be your guide. So grab your favorite sweater and read on for the best fall foliage destinations in the Hudson Valley.

Explore more of the state. Here are our favorite places to experience New York fall foliage.

Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Destinations

1. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Hudson Valley fall foliage can be found at Minnewaska State Park

Just an hour and a half north of New York City lies Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Situated along the Shawangunk Mountain ridge, this park is a prime spot for experiencing the vibrant fall foliage of the Hudson Valley.

This expansive park boasts a diverse natural landscape, with numerous waterfalls, lakes, and dense hardwood forests. With 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths, there are ample opportunities to appreciate the autumn scenery through biking, walking, or hiking.

Some of the best views within the park can be found in the Sam’s Point Area, the highest point of the Shawangunk Mountains. Here, experienced hikers can enjoy sweeping views above the treetops. 

Be aware that this section of the park can get crowded, especially in October when the foliage peaks. There’s a small parking area, so arriving early is advisable if you want to explore this beautiful part of New York State.

2. Croton Gorge Park

HUdson Valley fall foliage at the Old Croton Dam
Old Croton Dam by Jkc916

Covering 97 acres, Croton Gorge Park is a popular spot for picnicking and hiking is an ideal Hudson Valley fall foliage destination. Old Croton Dam was constructed in the 1800s to supply water to New York City. While the city’s needs soon grew too demanding for the reservoir, the structure remains today and has been transformed into a public recreation area.

The best way to experience the fall colors at Croton Gorge is by hiking to the top of the old dam. There you can look down onto the spillway, as well as appreciate the autumn colors reflected in the reservoir. This easy two-mile hike is perfect for families with young children looking for an outdoor fall outing in the Hudson Valley.

3. Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park in the fall

Harriman State Park is the second-largest park in New York State and covers over 46,000 acres of diverse landscapes. With 200 miles of trails and 31 lakes and reservoirs, it’s a sprawling haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

If you’re seeking fall foliage, head to Harriman for some incredible hikes a stone’s throw from New York City. Some of the best hiking trails for leaf peeping include Long Mountain and Anthony’s Nose, which provide sweeping views of the Hudson River and the surrounding forests. 

4. Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park via Jason

Directly adjacent to Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain State Park is one of the best destinations for fall foliage in the Hudson Valley. Located just 30 miles north of New York City, the park is the perfect place for city dwellers looking for an easy leaf-peeping day trip.

To get to Bear Mountain State Park, drive along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. This 42-mile stretch from the George Washington Bridge along the Hudson River Palisades is especially scenic in mid-October when the fall foliage peaks.

Once at Bear Mountain, the best views can be found at Perkins Tower, a 40-foot-tall stone lookout tower. You can easily reach the tower via car and park at its base, then ascend the steps to get to the tower’s lookout. 

If you’re looking to get some exercise in as well, the Bear Mountain Loop hike, accessed from Perkin’s Tower, is a straightforward and moderate trail that will reward you with even more views of the vibrant fall colors. 

5. Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve in the autumn

The Mohonk Preserve, with a sprawling 7,000 acres of forest and an extensive network of 70 miles of trails, provides a range of opportunities to immerse yourself in autumnal beauty. 

The preserve has five different trailheads with hikes catering to hikers of all experience levels and fitness. If you’re looking for a moderate and family-friendly hike, consider the Millbrook Ridge Loop. This trail follows wide, level carriage roads and rewards hikers with sweeping views across the Hudson Valley from the top of the Shawangunk Ridge. 

If you want to turn your trip to the Mohonk Preserve into a fall weekend getaway, then consider treating yourself to a weekend at the nearby Mohonk Mountain House. This all-inclusive resort has retained its early 1900s charm with an all-wood interior, cozy fireplaces, and ample places to sit and stare out across the lake. 

6. Boscobel House and Gardens

Boscobel House and Gardens
Photo via NY Tourism

The Boscobel House and Gardens is a historic house museum with a remarkable collection of art from the Federalist period. The house and grounds offer a captivating setting from which to appreciate the Hudson Valley’s fall foliage.

What makes Boscobel a must-visit are the breathtaking vistas it provides. Visitors can take in magnificent views of the Hudson River and Constitution Marsh, as well as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The grounds of Boscobel are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 9 am until sunset. If you’re interested in delving deeper into history, guided tours of the house are also available. Advanced tickets are required for the grounds and house tours. 

For some of the best leaf peeping, walk the Frances Stevens Reese Woodland Trail of Discovery. This tranquil, mile-long journey through the forest, complete with river views, provides stunning fall vistas.

If you’re visiting with children, be sure to pick up the free Boscobel Activity Booklet. This booklet is designed to engage and entertain kids throughout the grounds with fun activities, scavenger hunts, and bite-sized pieces of local history. 

7. Storm King Art Center

Storm King art and Hudson Valley Fall Foliage
Storm King Art and Fall Foliage by Stanley Zimney

For a unique way to experience the fall foliage of the Hudson River Valley, head to the Storm King Art Center. Covering a vast 500-acre expanse, this is the country’s largest outdoor sculpture park. 

This impressive outdoor museum provides visitors with captivating views of hills, meadows, and forests. What sets Storm King apart are its outdoor art installations, which seamlessly integrate with nature. This one-of-a-kind art-meets-nature experience is enhanced by the backdrop of autumn’s vivid colors.

Be sure to book tickets in advance so you don’t miss out on this extraordinary Hudson Valley experience. 

8. Walkway Over the Hudson

12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage 1
Photo by Christopher Ramirez

The Walkway Over the Hudson is a remarkable site for admiring the fall foliage in the Hudson Valley. This steel cantilever bridge spans 1.28 miles across the Hudson River, connecting Highland on the west bank to Poughkeepsie on the east. Rising 212 feet above the Hudson, this bridge holds the record as the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.

From the Walkway Over the Hudson, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Catskill Mountains and the surrounding landscape. This exceptional vantage point offers sweeping views of the surrounding foliage, making it a unique and accessible spot for leaf peeping.

The Walkway is free to enter and is designed to be ADA-compliant, ensuring that visitors of all abilities can enjoy the stunning fall spectacle and Hudson River views.

9. Olana State Historic Site

12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage 2

The former home of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church, the Olana State Historic Site offers a splendid opportunity to revel in the Hudson Valley’s fall foliage. Located in Greenport, New York, Olana boasts stunning views of the Hudson River and beyond, along with many picturesque trails that visitors can explore at leisure.

Access to Olana’s 250-acre landscape is free, welcoming visitors every day from 8 am to sunset. Designed by Frederic Church himself, the landscape features five miles of carriage roads, which are perfect for walking amid the fall colors. 

To learn more about the artistic legacy of the site, you can purchase a 45-minute guided tour of the house where you’ll explore the home’s art-filled, lavishly decorated rooms, including Church’s painting studio. It’s a chance to delve into the work and life of one of America’s foremost landscape artists while also enjoying a magnificent fall setting.

10. Trophy Point at the Military Academy, West Point

12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage 3

Trophy Point at West Point Military Academy is one of the most famous local spots to take in the Hudson Valley’s fall foliage. This scenic overlook on the academy’s campus offers an iconic view of the Hudson River as it winds through a series of bluffs. The location has inspired numerous 19th-century works of art, highlighting the natural beauty of the region.

Trophy Point is also home to the Battle Monument, one of the largest columns of granite in the world, dedicated to soldiers who died in the American Civil War. The point also once served as the site of West Point graduation ceremonies, adding to its significance in the academy’s history. 

If you’re seeking an accessible and awe-inspiring place to experience the Hudson Valley’s fall beauty, then head to Trophy Point for stunning views that don’t require hiking.

11. Kykuit Estate

12 Places to Enjoy Hudson Valley Fall Foliage 4
Photo by GSZ

The Kykuit Estate, a historic Rockefeller estate, is another captivating place in the Hudson Valley to witness the fall foliage. This grand estate, which served as the home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, stands as one of the top cultural attractions in the region. Overlooking the Hudson River, Kykuit boasts panoramic river views perfect for capturing the change in seasons.

The heart of the estate is a 40-room historic home constructed in the early 1900s. To explore both the house and its lovely grounds, you must join a guided tour. 

The estate is renowned not only for its remarkable architecture and planned gardens but also for its incredible art collection, featuring works by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol. For those who want to experience the changing fall colors with a side of history and art, Kykuit Estate is the perfect opportunity to experience all three.

12. Breakneck Ridge

Breakneck Ridge Hudson Valley

Breakneck Ridge is one of the most popular hikes in the Hudson Valley. Located in the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve in Cold Spring, NY, this exhilarating hike has some of the region’s best fall foliage views.

Despite being popular, this advanced hike is not for the faint of heart. A 5.5-mile hike that ascends 1,250 feet in just under a mile, it’s a challenging one that requires lots of rock scrambling to reach the breathtaking views at the end.

As you hike up, you’ll encounter multiple cliff overlooks and ever-expanding views, making this hike a truly unforgettable experience. However, it’s essential to note that this trail is steep, characterized by rock scrambling and demanding terrain. Therefore, it’s not suitable for young children and is best tackled by experienced hikers. 

For those up to the challenge, the effort is certainly worthwhile, and you’ll be rewarded for your hard work with spectacular views of the Hudson River and the vibrant fall foliage.

Tamar is an avid traveler who loves to explore the world with her husband and two kids. She is passionate about helping busy parents plan culturally rich vacations with their children, even with limited time off. You can read more of her work at Worldbyweekend.com.

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