Ten Amazing Places for Leaf Peeping in the Hudson Valley
They say there’s a time and a place for everything. If your thing is leaf-peeping, there’s no better time and place than autumn in the Hudson Valley. Here are ten destinations virtually guaranteed to delight locals and visitors with a fancy for fall foliage.
Mohonk Mountain House | New Paltz NY | Visit their Website
Situated alongside the majestic glacial Lake Mohonk in the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains, the 150-year-old Mohonk Mountain House is just as stunning as its surroundings. Featuring more than 250 rooms, dining halls, cottages, access to 85 miles of hiking trails and more, Mohonk Mountain House has hosted five U.S. presidents and is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation®.
Mohonk Preserve | New Paltz NY | Visit Their Website
The Mohonk Preserve manages and protects more than 8,000 acres in the Shawangunks. Leaf peepers can take in the gorgeous foliage while biking or hiking on 70 miles of carriage roads and trails, climbing the world-famous Gunks cliffs; or even horseback riding. The Preserve is also home to the Sky Top Tower, from which, on a clear day, you can see six states.
Poets Walk, Red Hook, NY | Visit their Website
If you like to mix a touch of inspiration with your leaf-peeping, why not spend an afternoon in the park that inspired Washington Irving to write Rip Van Winkle? (According to legend, at least.) Poet’s Walk, an elegant 120-acre ramble of meadows and forests, features a designed landscape — a series of “outdoor rooms” framed with stands of trees and stone walls.
Ashokan Rail Trail | Visit their Website
The Ashokan Rail Trail (“ART”), which opened in 2019, runs for 11.5 miles along the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir. Developed by the County of Ulster through a historic partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the crushed-stone trail is ADA compliant and open for hiking, bicycling, running, nature observation from sunrise to sunset year-round.
Saugerties Lighthouse | Saugerties NY | Vist their Website
A short half-mile hike from where the Esopus Creek meets the Hudson River will reward you with an incomparable view of both the river and the Catskill Mountains, as well as the meticulously restored Saugerties Lighthouse. The working lighthouse now features a B&B and picnic facilities on a riverside deck. Of course, the lighthouse can also be reached by water and is a popular stop for kayaks and canoes.
Inness | Accord NY | Visit their Website
This 225-acre luxurious escape and members’ club features sweeping views of the Hudson Valley as well as 28 cabins and a 12-room farmhouse, a 9-hole golf course, two pools, a farm store, and a restaurant. Amenities are open to guests, members, and the public. Enjoy their outdoor BBQ cafe and pull up a seat in one of many white Adirondack chairs and behold the breathtaking views!
Olana | Hudson NY | Visit their Website
Where better to sample the beauties of the Hudson Valley than the home of one of its most renowned artists? Frederick Edwin Church, a central figure in the Hudson River School of 19th Century American landscape painters, was also a self-taught architect. He and his wife drew on a mix of their Victorian culture and their Middle Eastern travels as they designed the beautiful, eclectic Olana. Today the 250-acre Olana State Historic Site is open to the public for free every day from 8 AM to sunset.
Phoenicia Hiking Trails | Phoenicia NY | Visit their Website
With 12 trails rated “hard” and elevations up to 4,176 feet above sea level, Phoenicia, NY, is a hiker’s — and a leaf-peeper’s — paradise. One favorite destination is the Tremper Fire Tower Trail (2.75 miles, elevation: 2,740 feet), which rewards hikers with an unforgettable lookout over some of the Catskills’ highest peaks. Learn more about trail length and difficulty at their website or using your favorite hiking app.
Kaaterskill Falls | Hunter NY
The Kaaterskill Falls is the highest cascading waterfall in New York State, dropping more than 260 feet in two tiers. A destination of such majestic power it was considered by Native Americans to be the resting place of the Creator, the Falls have been featured in film, literature and art for centuries. A short (1.4 miles round trip) hike from a trailhead on Route 23A in Haines Falls rewards the visitor with a view of the falls as well as the winding sweep of the Hudson River Valley.
The Rosendale Trestle | Rosendale NY | Learn More Here
This 940-foot continuous truss bridge in Rosendale Village was formerly a railroad trestle constructed by the Wallkill Valley Railroad. When it opened to rail traffic in 1872, it was the highest span bridge in the United States. Renovated as a pedestrian walkway for the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and re-opened to the public in 2013, the Trestle rises 150 feet above Roundout Creek and helps complete a 24-mile-long segment of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from Gardiner to Kingston..
BONUS: Skydive the Ranch | Gardiner NY | Visit their Website
Fall foliage looks lovely from the ground. Or even from a nice high peak. But let’s face it: To really get a 360° view of all the autumnal beauty the Shawangunk Mountains have to offer, you’ve got to see them from above. Book a skydiving lesson, or a tandem dive today. You won’t regret it. Well, OK, you might. But you certainly won’t forget it.
You know we do!