Are you looking for the best scenic views of fall foliage this autumn? Rivertown Magazine photographer Samantha Finch shares her top 10 places for you to visit this fall to see the transition of the seasons.
Bear Mountain Scenic Overlook
Located directly across the beautiful Bear Mountain Bridge that joins Rockland/Orange counties with Westchester/Putnam counties, is a scenic overlook about a mile down the “goat trail” (U.S. 6) in Cortlandt, NY. Take a drive and stop for a beautiful view of the Hudson, especially as you watch the sun set on the west side of the Hudson.
Sam’s Point at Shawangunk Mountains
Sam’s Point Preserve is one of the highest points of the Shawangunk Mountains in Ulster County: you can bet it has some of the best fall views around. While the total loop trail includes an 8.3-mile hike, where you will witness the 180-foot Verkeerderkill Falls and majestic Ice Caves, you can also hike a mile clockwise to see Sam’s Point itself. Arrive early since the parking is limited.
Perkin’s Memorial Tower
Drive or hike the 3.8-mile out and back portion of the Appalachian Trail to the top of Bear Mountain to experience vast views of the Hudson River Highlands in all its glory. On a clear day, see the outline of the New York City skyline. Visit multiple times during the autumn season to watch as the trees turn from green to orange, yellow, or red. The tower, which is open April through November, provides a 360-degree viewpoint of fall along the Hudson River.
Plum Point Park
Take a ride upstate to New Windsor and view the mountains along the eastern side of the Hudson as they change color for the season. This park is the perfect spot for a picnic or for some mild hiking with beautiful views. Kid and pet friendly, this location brings you directly up to the Hudson for some of the most majestic views.
Prospect Mountain, Lake George
If you are looking for the perfect place for a fall weekend getaway and to find the best foliage views imaginable, look no further than Lake George’s Prospect Mountain. Situated right in the heart of the Adirondacks, approximately 2,030 feet above the “Queen of Americas Lakes” on the top of Prospect Mountain, you can see the expansive panoramic views of the Adirondacks. Whether you drive up to the summit and have a picnic, or hike up 2.8 miles there and back, the view from the top is definitely worth your time.
Fort Montgomery Historic Site
Perched on a cliff overlooking the majestic Hudson River, this historic Revolutionary War battle site features a museum and hiking trails along the Hudson River Basin. From the top of the 9W overpass in the town of Highlands, see spectacular fall views of the Eastern Side of the river. From the bottom, walk along the trails among the historical artifacts down to a walking bridge over a Hudson River inlet that brings you to just under the Bear Mountain Bridge.
Old Mansion Road in Blooming Grove, NY
Unlike many of the others on this list, this particular viewpoint can be accessed by a simple drive up north onto U.S. 6 towards Wallkill, once you exit at 129. Follow the road and make your first left and then your first right on to Old Mansion Road. As your drive up the incline, you will see Mediacom on your right; on your left you will see a beautiful view of Goosepond Mountain. While the view is unbelievable (especially at sunset), there are also beautiful trees lining that road in array of colors in the fall. This hidden gem is definitely worth the stop!
Delaware Valley River Gap/Hawk’s Nest
About an hour and a half northwest of Nyack near Deerpark, NY, Hawk’s Nest is a scenic winding drive along the mountains nestled high above the Delaware River and is part of the “Upper Delaware Scenic Byway.” In the fall, this tree-lined road transforms into an autumnal wonder that rivals our New England counterparts.
Lake Massawippa along Long Mountain Parkway
Long Mountain Parkway is a picturesque drive through Harriman State Park heading towards the Palisades Traffic Circle. Along the way, there is a parking area off to the left on Baileytown Road. You can park and walk towards the parkway to view 2 of the 31 lakes in Harriman State Park. Lake Massawippa and Lake Te- Ata both have beautiful views of fall foliage and while there are some unmarked trails, the best views come from Long Mountain Parkway itself. Just be mindful of traffic.
Indian Brook Falls/Constitution Marsh
Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a beautiful Hudson River tidal marshland located in Cold Springs, NY, only a short distance from the Bear Mountain Bridge. Enjoy a mile-long hike in either direction to view Indian Brook Falls or a boardwalk view over the protected marshland ecosystem. In the fall, enjoy the changing colors of the mountains across the river or the leaf-covered path to the falls. In addition, visit constitution.audubon.org to view the Audubon Center’s many wildlife programs.
Samantha Finch is a graduate of Pace University with a MA in Media Communications and Journalism and a minor in Photography. She has been photographing across the Hudson Valley since 2007, telling the stories of the amazing residents and business owners of our Rivertowns.