15 Family Friendly Things To Do In the Hudson Valley this Fall
Fall is a popular time of year to enjoy the Hudson Valley, as the area’s natural beauty is intensified by the colors of the changing foliage. Also, the crisp fall air makes it a great time to hike, walk or spend time outdoors enjoying local events. Whether you prefer to bike, walk or want to take a leisurely fall drive, here are 15 mostly, family-friendly things to do in Fall that can make the season even more enjoyable.
Climb a Fire Tower for an Exceptional View
For an expansive view of fall foliage in all its glory, visit the 60-foot Overlook Mountain Fire Tower in Catskill Park. The tower offers incredible views of the Hudson River Valley across to the Berkshires, Taconics and Litchfield Hills, the Ashokan Reservoir and the Devil’s Path Range. Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck also features a tower with expansive views of the valley, plus walking, hiking and mountain biking options. For more information, visit the Catskills Visitor Center. Want to visit all six of the region’s fire towers? Better yet, why not take the 2022 Catskill Firetower Challenge!
Pick Your Own Apples at Greig Farm
The Red Hook farm is open for picking your own berries, asparagus, and peas in other seasons but fall is the ideal time to harvest apples and pumpkins. Apple picking begins at Greig Farm in late August and continues through late October. Whether you prefer McIntosh, Ginger Gold or Red Rome, these succulent varieties—and several others—are just waiting to be picked. For information contact Greig Farm.
Challenge Yourself With a Hike at Catskill Center
The mountains offer a variety of hikes suitable for a crisp autumn day. You could try the challenging Burroughs Range Trail, which includes Wittenberg, Cornell, and Slide Mountain or the 24-mile (one-way) Devil’s Path which spans five mountain peaks: Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, Plateau, and West Kill. This trail is considered by some to be one of the hardest trails in the Catskills. For a shorter but steeper hike with some wonderful views try the Black Dome or Blackhead trails. For more information, visit the Catskills Visitor Center.
Take a Fall-Themed Train Ride
Prefer to see foliage while relaxing with a warm pumpkin-spice-flavored drink? Why not board one of the Catskill Fall Foliage Adventure and Pumpkin Express Trains in Kingston. Traveling along the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridors, the hour-long ride is a comfortable way to view the beauty of the Catskills. The Pumpkin Express is a fun ride for kids offering special pumpkin-related activities. Visit Catskill Mountain Railroad.
Explore the Dramatic Beauty of Minnewaska
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The park features numerous waterfalls, crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, sheer cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful fall views. There are 50 miles of footpaths on which to bike, walk, hike and simply enjoy your surroundings, but an exceptional vantage point is Sam’s Point Preserve, located on the highest section of the Shawangunk Mountains. For more information, visit Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Enjoy Sculpture Amid Dramatic Natural Surroundings
Created by artist and professor Harvey Fite, Opus 40 is a world-famous nonprofit sculpture park and museum with more than 60 acres of meadows, forested paths and bluestone quarries — including 6.5 acres of earthwork sculpture. Fite hand-sculpted Opus 40 over nearly four decades from the bluestone harvested on site, fusing the legacy of local quarrying and ancient Mayan and Aztec stonework learned through his international travels. He framed his stonework sculpture with the surrounding woods, grasslands and mountains, ensuring that natural wonders would always be central to the impact of this Natural Historic Registered site. For more information, visit Opus 40.
Get a Bird’s Eye View of Kaaterskill Falls
The 7,620-acre Kaaterskill Wild Forest is famous for its scenic waterfalls, and a variety of trails with dramatic views. The trails vary in difficulty, but Kaaterskill Falls Access is only 0.3 miles to an observation platform overlooking Kaaterskill falls. The hike has a minimal elevation change and provides outstanding views of the falls and valley below. Those in search of a more challenging hike have several trails to choose from. For more information, visit NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation.
Motor Along Mansions and Through Magnificent Valley Views
Fall is a great time for a short road trip. Take a scenic drive north on Route 9 with the option of stopping along the way at any or all of the area’s notable estates. You can explore the interiors of memorable mansions or merely stroll the ground to enjoy the views at Mills Mansion, the Vanderbilt Mansion and the Wilderstein Historic Site, all of which are found en route to Olana, the Hudson home of painter Frederic Church. While exploring local history, you can stop in Rhinebeck for lunch at the historic Beekman Arms. More info at I Love NY.
Get Your Steps in While Enjoying a Panoramic View
The Walkway Over The Hudson, connecting Highland and Poughkeepsie, offers breathtaking, unobstructed 360-degree views of the Hudson River and surrounding scenic valley, seen from a height of 212 feet above the water’s surface. The walk on the steel cantilever bridge is about three miles roundtrip. For more information, visit Walkway over the Hudson.
Follow the Rail Trail for Reservoir Views
The Ashokan Rail Trail is an 11.5-mile multi-use trail that traces the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir. The trail offers spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains and the nearly 123 billion-gallon reservoir. The area abounds with red maples, birch and eastern white pine trees, and the pathway features protected wetlands and a 525-foot boardwalk. For more information, visit Ashokan Rail Trail.
Draw Inspiration From a Fall Ramble Through Poet’s Walk
Poet’s Walk landscape was created around 1850 for the owners of two neighboring estates. The park was designed as a series of outdoor rooms separated by stands of trees and stone walls. Writers such as Washington Irving loved rambling here. Legend has it he came up with the idea for “Rip Van Winkle” while gazing toward the Catskill Mountains, the site of his protagonist’s long sleep. The gazebo at the height of the hill offers exceptional views of the Hudson and the hills beyond. For details, visit Scenic Hudson.
Enjoy Exceptional Landscaping in Fall Hues
Created from the 1930s to the 1990s, Innisfree Garden merges the essence of Modernist and Romantic ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles. Yet the 185-acre garden is a distinctly American stroll garden—a sublime composition of rock, water, plants and sky, all the more beautiful in fall colors. The garden is open Wednesday through Sunday, through Oct. 16th, but thereafter only open on weekends only through Sunday, Nov. 6. For details, visit Innissfree Gardens.
Stock up on Wool and Knitting Tips for the Cooler Days
Held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival is one of the largest annual gatherings of fiber art enthusiasts. There are workshops, and book signings, livestock displays and kids activities, competitions and shows, plus exemplary sheep and llamas. The festival runs from Oct. 15 to 16. For details, visit Sheep & Wool Festival
Pick-Out a Pumpkin at Beacon’s Pumpkin Festival
The Beacon Sloop Club’s Annual Pumpkin Festival takes place at Riverfront Park in Beacon, rain or shine, on Oct. 16 from 12 pm to 5 pm. Hudson Valley pumpkins, freshly baked pumpkin pie, cider and other delicious food will be available to purchase. During the festival, visitors can sail aboard the ferry sloop Woody Guthrie. The Beacon Sloop club is dedicated to promoting public access to the Hudson River, and responsible enjoyment of this great natural resource. For information, visit Dutchess County Tourism.
Have a Blast at Kelder’s Farm
Besides being known for its Gnomes (definitely worth the trip for that alone), Kelder’s Farm is the perfect weekend for Fall farm fun, apple and pumpkin picking and so much more! And, let’s not forget the Apple Canons!
Happy Fall Y’all!