Dusk arrives early. Cool air demands extra layers. These signals hint that autumn stands in the wings. Slowly, scarlet and bronze flecks appear on lower slopes—and then fall sets mountains aflame. Emerald leaves turn candy red and soft plum, and fall hiking in the Adirondacks takes off.
The seasonal shift halts food production in trees and prompts chlorophyll to break down. Without this chemical, which converts sunlight into energy and gives leaves their green tint, other pigments determine color. Sugar maples turn blaze orange. Oaks fade to brown. Aspens shine gold.
The natural process transforms forests into vibrant color shows. In autumn, the Adirondack fall foliage provides a spectacular backdrop for any hiking experience. Hikers dive in, bound for summits that showcase the brilliant landscape. Linger atop 2,556-foot Pharaoh Mountain in the eastern Adirondacks for 360-degree views. But every level path through hardwood forest becomes a psychedelic tunnel. In the northwestern Adirondacks, 33 miles of trail surround Cranberry Lake and immerse hikers in a wild color riot.
Bring your camera and capture the stunning juxtaposition of evergreens, blue sky and colorful foliage. Wear warm clothes and a waterproof jacket. Rain in the forecast? Even better. Overcast skies showcase autumn hues best. Be sure to keep a look out for Adirondack wildlife and migratory birds. Don't miss out—in the Adirondacks, the most brilliant season always exits too soon.
Popular fall foliage trails in the Adirondacks:
• Mt. Jo
• Pharaoh Mountain
• Panther Mountain
• Cranberry Lake
• Otter Creek Horse Trails
• Auger Falls