3 Things to Know About Leaf-Peeping in Upstate New York  

In Upstate New York, we have to endure both the sweltering heat and humidity of July and the bitter cold and knee-deep snow characteristic of January.  The silver lining?  We get to experience fall—the sweet spot between the two extremes when not only is the temperature perfectly pleasant, but the trees turn brilliant red, orange and yellow, if only for a fleeting moment.  And, the Kingsway Community team is thrilled to report, leaf-peeping season is officially here.


For those unfamiliar with the term, leaf-peeping is just what it sounds like—going out into nature to “peep” changing leaves.  Here are three things to know about the fall-tastic pastime in Upstate New York.


  1. The Adirondacks are the leaf-peeping capital of the state.

Obviously, leaf-peeping is at its best in wooded areas, as individual trees team up to become a sea of vibrant colors (urban environments can also provide quality peeping opportunities).  The Finger Lakes and Catskills regions are known for their great fall foliage, but no foliage in the state beats that of the Adirondack Park, whose dense patches of deciduous forest are a leaf-peeper’s dream.  You can see for yourself by taking a hike in the Adirondack Park, booking a boat cruise on Lake George, rail biking at Revolution Rail Co. in North Creek, or simply taking a drive up the Northway to the land lawmakers have deemed “forever wild.”


  1. The vibrancy of a fall season’s leaves depends on a few factors.

While a tree’s species determines what color its leaves will turn come autumn, the environment determines how vibrant their color will be.  For one, a wet summer (like the one we just had!), makes for healthy trees that hold their leaves better.  Add in warm, sunny days and cool, frost-free nights, and foliage will be at its best.  Wind storms, on the other hand, can cause trees to lose their leaves prematurely, making for bad leaf-peeping conditions.


  1. The foliage in different regions peaks at different times.

Across New York State, late-September to mid-October is prime leaf-peeping time.  But some parts of the state will see foliage reach its peak (i.e. when the colors are at their most vibrant) earlier than others.  The Adirondacks and Catskills will peak first, followed by the rest of Upstate and finally the New York City area.  To stay up to date on foliage across the state, keep an eye on I Love NY’s Fall Foliage Report, which is updated weekly.