Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Guide:
The Best Views, What to Do & What to Pack
Leaf peeping Time or the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Season is a favorite activity around these parts.
You can feel the buzz in our typically quiet small town as people flock up north to see the leaves change color and participate in apple picking season.
When I began taking Weekend trips to different areas of the Hudson Valley, I never really thought about how much more stuff I would need when heading somewhere in the fall versus a more set holiday, like the winter or the summer.
Fall or Autumn can be tricky. Some years we have what my mother used to call ‘Indian Summer’ and other years, it has snowed in October.
Most importantly, though, where is the Best Hudson Valley fall foliage and the Best Hudson Valley Events and Hudson Valley Fall Activities during this time of the year.
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Essentials you need for any Hudson Valley Outing:
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When does the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Change begin to happen?
We notice the days getting shorter and shorter and the nighttime chill is beginning to settle in on us and that just means one thing in the Hudson Valley: It’s the annual preparation for the Hudson Valley Autumn season and the beginning of Hudson Valley Fall Foliage time.
The colors will begin changing soon, and although many trees on my property are already losing their leaves, the peak of the season has not begun yet.
Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Reports Through the ‘I Love NY’ Website
The ILOVENY.com website has a great ‘Fall Foliage Newsletter’ that’s sent out weekly during the season to keep everyone up-to-date on the changing of the leaves. You can sign up for it right on their website.
You can also apply to an Official Volunteer Leaf Peeper for your area in New York State. How cool is that? Each week you would submit a report to I Love NY detailing what the leaf conditions are in your area.
Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Reports Through SmokyMountains.com
SmokyMountains.com estimates the changing of the leaves for the entire United States, not just the Hudson Valley.
Since this tool is just an estimate, you can use it as a guide before your outing.
According to their website, the Hudson Valley should start seeing minimal change beginning the week of September 14th and we should be between ‘near peak’ and ‘peak’ by October 5th.
Tips for the Perfect Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Outing
Before we dive into the best spots to see the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage, here are a few tips for you. Whether you are going for the day or a weekend getaway, these tips are vital for success.
Before you begin your Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Outing
#1: Check the weather
Check out the how the weather will be before you plan your outing.
I have made the mistake several times of leaving without checking the weather and regretted not being prepared (colder than usual/ warmer than usual/raining/pouring).
#2: Make a list of Activities you will be doing
Make sure you are prepared with any essential gear that you will need for some popular Hudson Valley Fall Activities & Events.
Hudson Valley Fall Events Not to be Missed!
Check this article all about Hudson Valley Fall Events to stay up-to-date with all the great things happening in the month of September, October and November.
#3: Pack what you may need according to the weather & the activities
Depending on whether you are doing a Day Trip or a Weekend Outing, there are certain things that you will need.
#4: Examine where you’ll be staying the majority of the time
Check and see if you’ll be spending the majority of your time in the city or in the county.
Why is this important? If you’re visiting the city, then you will have more resources at your disposal. You can always run into a coffee shop to warm up. You can get away with taking less with you.
If you’re visiting the country, you will be out in the elements for longer periods of time without an indoor break and you will need to be better prepared because there will be limited stores around.
Our experience has been that many bigger mini-marts are equipped with many things you may need when you are out on the road.
The Best Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Locations
#1: Route 9W up Storm King Mountain
If you have ever driven on Route 9W North from Fort Montgomery towards Cornwall, there are several scenic overlooks where you can stop and get a grand view of all the trees and towns below.
#2: Take a Fall Foliage Train Ride on the Catskill Mountain Road
The ‘Catskill Fall Foliage Train’ boards in Kingston and takes you on the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad Corridor where you will see spectacular views. Offering both closed and open air cars, this is a unique experience everyone will enjoy.
In addition, they have a few days when they do the ‘Pumpkin Express’. During this special event, passengers get to pick their own pumpkin to take home and decorate.
Check their website for more detailed information and prices.
#3: Take a drive through the Shawangunk Wine Trail
Starting in Ulster County, driving the Shawangunk Wine Trail is a great way to see the Mid-Hudson Valley Region and also a wonderful way to check out all the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage.
Starting approximately 60 miles of New York City, this trail consists of 15 wineries.
In addition to these wineries there are various stops along the way to catch sight of the changing leaves.
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve
- Mohonk Preserve
- The Walkway over the Hudson State Park
Make sure to stop at Benmarl Winery in Marlboro. With its amazing views of the valley below this is one place you will definitely get spectacular photos of the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage.
Visit their website for more information and a list of the participating businesses.
#4: Head on up Hunter Mountain on their Scenic Skyride or Zipline Adventures
Imagine taking a chair lift up Hunter Mountain to view the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage. Not to ski… but to enjoy the view from the top.
Well, it’s possible. The ride itself from base to top is about 10 minutes, but the views are worth it.
Once at the top, you can take a hike to the highest fire tower in NYS. And see even better views from the top.
Visit their website for more information and to make a reservation.
If ziplining are more your speed, then the New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain should be next on your list.
As of the time of this posting, the Mid-Mountain Adventures were open and ready to welcome visitors.
Visit their website for current openings and to make a reservation.
#5: Drive along the Hawk’s Nest
On Route 97 outside of Port Jervis, NY sits a stretch of road that sits high above the Delaware River. The views are spectacular butthe road is windy.
According to Wikipedia, the name is came about from the hawks that make their nests in the area.
#6: Drive on Route 9 Starting in Hyde Park
Starting in Hyde Park and heading north, the scenery on Route 9 changes drastically. Route 9 is the longest north-south highway in New York and forks off into Route 9G between Rhinebeck and Red Hook, NY.
The drive from Hyde Park NY to Hudson NY, is approximately 1 hour long. Along the way, there are many places to stop and take in the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage.
Here are some places to stop and admire the amazing Hudson Valley Fall Foliage:
- Home of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site
- Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
- Staatsburgh State Historic Site
- Ferncliff Forest
- Poet’s Walk Park
- Clermont State Historic Site (off of Route 9G)
- Olana State Historic Site (Route 9G)
#7: Take a Hike up a Mountain
Some popular places that are prime spots for viewing Hudson Valley Fall Foliage include:
- Anthony’s Nose
- Mount Beacon
- Mohonk Preserve
- Breakneck Ridge
- Hudson Highlands State Park
- Kaaterskill Falls
Trendy Tees for your Autumn Hudson Valley Outings
These stylish t-shirts are perfect for any outing in the Hudson Valley:
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#8: Visit Outdoor Art Center
I may be biased, but a trip to an outdoor art center is a good idea anytime the weather is good. So these places make the best spots to admire the changing colors of the season.
Storm King Art Center, located in New Windsor, is a popular place to not only view the outdoor sculptures but also the impressive natural landscape all around.
Art Omi, located in Ghent, houses an impressive collection of art amongst its more than 100-acre property.
Opus 40, located in Saugerties NY, is not only an impressive place to visit but the views of the Catskill Mountains from the property are awe inspiring!
#9: Leaf Peep ANYWHERE along the Hudson River
With so many Historic Hudson River Towns up and down the river, there is no shortage of places to see the breathtaking fall foliage.
For those willing to take it a step further, a tour of Bannerman Castle on the Hudson River makes the perfect trip for the ideal leaf peeping adventure.
West Point’s Trophy Point is a wonderful place and has been the area that has inspired many artists since the early 19th century. In addition to the spectacular view, Trophy Point is also home to the Battle Monument, one of the largest columns of granite in the world.
Tips for exploring the Hudson Valley like a Pro!
Reference this Guide for Exploring the Hudson Valley like a Pro before heading out on any Hudson Valley New York outing.
Weather during Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Season
Fall weather in the Hudson Valley (Late September – Early December) can consistently range from 30 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of the three distinct areas of the Hudson Valley regions, the weather can differ and range drastically.
It’s always best to check the weather before making any plans and prepare accordingly. We’ve gone apple picking in t-shirts and shorts one year and coats and gloves another year.
The cooler temperatures are favorable, though, later on during the season.
Essential Packing List for a Weekend of Hudson Valley Fall Foliage Adventures
- A cardigan/sweater/sweatshirt for cooler days & nights
- Short and long-sleeved t-shirts
- Sunglasses and/or hat
- Crossbody bag
- Sneakers/Hiking Boots/Sturdy Shoes
- Socks for sneakers
- Long pants for cooler days & nights
- Insulated water bottle (collapsible preferred)
- Bug Spray (if hiking and/or spending the majority of the day outdoors)
- Poncho for rainy days
MORE THINGS TO DO IN THE FALL IN THE HUDSON VALLEY:
- LIST OF POPULAR FARMERS MARKETS
- A VISIT TO THE GREAT JACK O’LANTERN BLAZE
- STUART’S FARM: THE OLDEST WORKING FARM IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY
TIPS FOR AN AMAZING TIME DURING HUDSON VALLEY FALL FOLIAGE SEASON:
- Check individual destination websites for updated days/hours of operation
- Have a Plan B in case the weather does not cooperate with your original plan.
- Bring and extra set of clothes/shoes on your outings.
- Be prepared for any kind of weather.
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Until The Next Adventure…
Jackie is one of the top bloggers in the Hudson Valley. She has been featured (along with some of her photos) in several local and national publications. Read Jackie’s crazy story, “From a Naive NYC Girl to Popular Hudson Valley Blogger & Author“. Feel free to send Jackie a message here.