Fall Foliage in the Adirondacks
Experience the subtle shift of air as summer bursts into a colorful array of reds, purples and yellows – and watch as the seasons change before your eyes. The Adirondack Region boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country, providing an incredible getaway for leaf-peepers, hikers and couples looking to experience the rich history, diverse dining options and natural attractions unique to the Adirondacks.
The Adirondacks are larger in size than Vermont, and with the longest fall foliage season in the northeast, one of the most breathtaking places to explore the subtle shift of seasons. Travel through the Adirondack Regions, from the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain, to the deep woods of the Adirondack Wild, and enjoy special events geared toward first-time visitors who want to experience a mountain adventure. Watch as 100 hot air balloons launch into the sky during the annual Great Adirondack Balloon Festival in the Lake George Region, or enjoy an afternoon drive through the mountains.
Best Time for Fall Foliage
As August wanes across the six-million-acre park, the leaves begin to change, eventually bursting into full color beginning in the Adirondack Mountains in early September. The best time to see fall foliage in the Adirondacks is late September into early October. The progression of color change decreases steadily in elevation, until mid-to-late October when the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain and Lake George begin to shed the last of the season's vibrant colors.
Scenic Drives for Adirondack Fall Foliage
The Adirondacks are crisscrossed by 14 New York State Scenic Byways, providing easy opportunities to explore off the beaten path. Download one of our Adirondack travel guides to start planning your fall vacation and find an array of fairs, festivals and cozy lodging properties in each Adirondack Region.
Adirondack North Country Scenic Byways include:
- Mohawk Towpath Byway
- Adirondack Trail
- Black River Trail
- Central Adirondack Trail
- Military Byway
- Olympic Byway
- Roosevelt-Marcy Byway
- High Peaks Byway
- Southern Adirondack trail
Top Fall Attractions in the Adirondacks
Fall is a special time to visit Adirondack attractions, when cooler temperatures and annual harvest festivals make for a one-of-a-kind experience. Discover the Adirondack Museum's Rustic Furniture Fair in Blue Mountain Lake, or the Frederic Remington Arts Festival in Ogdensburg. Tour wineries, pick your own apples at orchards, or visit restored military forts along the Adirondack Coasts for reenactments of naval battles, spooky ghost tours and more.
There are many ways to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Adirondacks; by hiking the region's 2,000 miles of hiking trails, canoeing the region's waterways or simply relaxing at one of the region's charming resorts. Find Adirondack vacation packages, book your next getaway online to save and check out some of the top fall attractions, including:
- Crown Point Historic Site – A National Historic Landmark featuring the ruins of Fort Saint Frederic and Fort Crown Point - circa 1700s. Visitors' center and exhibits. Open through October.
- John Brown Farm State Historic Site – Home and gravesite of abolitionist John Brown featuring nature trail and tours. Open through October.
- Almanzo Wilder Homestead – Boyhood homes of Almanzo Wilder, husband of famed author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Open through Labor Day. Tours daily. Open in off-season by appointment.
- Great Camp Sagamore – Historic Adirondack Great Camp built by William West Durant. Features 26 fireplaces and 29 buildings. Open daily through Labor Day. Off-season by appointment.
- Fort Ticonderoga – Restored military fort featuring military museum, fife and drum parades, weapon demonstrations and historical re-enactments. Open through mid-October.
- Adirondack Museum – The "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks" hosts a series of fall festivals for visitors to enjoy the exhibits and the changing seasons. Open through mid-October.
- Whiteface Mountain Gondola Rides – Experience the autumn foliage from the breathtaking vantage point of the region's famed ski resorts. Open through October 14.
In addition, these attractions offer unique ways to look at foliage during an Adirondack Autumn:
- Adirondack Scenic Flights - Lake Placid, NY
- Historic Boat Tours - Blue Mountain Lake, NY
- Great Adirondack Corn Maze - Gabriels, NY
- Scenic Northwoods Gondola Skyrides - North Creek, NY
- Upper Hudson River Railroad - North Creek, NY
- Ausable Chasm - Ausable Chasm, NY
- Whitewater Rafting - Hudson, Sacandaga and Moose River
Fall Festivals and Events
In the Adirondacks, there's no shortage of family-friendly fall festivals to experience. From the Adirondacks Tug Hill Region's Cream Cheese Festival, to the Adirondack Wild's Great Adirondack Moose Festival – autumn festivals and events capture the imagination and inspire adventures among the colorful leaves.
- The Great Adirondack Moose Festival, September - Indian Lake offers guided hikes, scenic driving tours, fly-fishing and fly tying demos, a car show, and open houses - not to mention a lot of moose.
- Whiteface Oktoberfest, October - Wilmington offers a Bavarian and Alps extravaganza at Whiteface Mountain that offers live music, dancing, Bavarian food, children's activities and vendors. Take in the mountains and surrounding foliage with a gondola ride to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain.
- Remington Arts Festival, October - Canton offers historic tours of the Village of Canton, wagon rides, children's games, an art show and sale, food, music and special demonstrations. This event celebrates the life and times of famed artist Frederic Remington.
- Adirondack Harvest Festival, October - Blue Mountain Lake offers a step back in time with wagon rides, cider pressing, music, pumpkin painting and so much more at the Adirondack Museum's extensive grounds.
- Flaming Leaves Festival, October - Lake Placid is a popular fall attraction with live music, beer, bbq and a ski-jumping competition. Craft vendors are on site for kids, or take an elevator to the top of the 120-meter ski jump for a panoramic view of Lake Placid's fall foliage.
- Adirondack Balloon Festival, September - Queensbury offers the stunning flight of more than 90 hot air balloons, live bands, children's activities and fireworks all set against the brilliant foliage of the Lake George region.
Antique stores, boutique shops and historic sites open their doors in the fall, offering unique shopping opportunities in a treasure trove of history
Indian Lake - Adirondack Mountain Antiques Weekend
Warrensburg - World's Largest Garage Sale
Saranac Lake - Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage and Tearoom
Lake George - Scherer's Antiques
Peru - A Poor Man's Collectibles
Plattsburgh - Town & Country Antique Shop
Queensbury - Glenwood Manor Antiques
Fall Family Adirondack Activities
- Fright Fest at the Great Escape – Thrills by Day Chills by Night! By day a Halloween playground, costume & scream contests & Trick-or-Treat Trail. When the sun starts to set the ghouls come creeping out, hair-raising shows, electrifying street entertainment, haunted attractions.
- Hiking the Adirondack Peaks – Many Adirondack hikes are perfect for families with easy-to-access trail heads and spectacular rewards at the top.
- Blue Mountain Lake – This Adirondack town is right in the center of the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Museum, Great Camp Sagamore, the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts and Raquette Lake can be found nearby.
- Fort Ticonderoga - On the shores of Lake Champlain sits this historic, restored fort. Tour the Heroic Corn Maze, join in reenactment events and stroll along the King's Garden.
- Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom - Fall themed events like Fright Fest, Oktoberfest and Rocktoberfest make this Six Flags Park near Lake George a must for families.
- Pick-Your-Own apples at Rulf's Orchard and Applejack's Orchard, both in Peru, NY.