5 Easy Fall Hikes  

Summer may be over, but as September turns to fall, something almost as good takes its place: fall foliage. And what better way to witness the colors of the season than getting out into the thick of it?  While there are many nature trails and paths around Schenectady where you can enjoy the fresh fall air, this list is reserved for hikes that pack some elevation—a.k.a. put you up above the trees so all you can see is a sea of oranges, reds and yellows. So strap on your hiking boots, fall fanatics: we’re going leaf-peeping.


John Boyd Thacher State Park


This one’s a no-brainer, since you can literally drive right to one of the best fall views in the Capital Region—no walking required. But, this is a list of hikes after all, so be sure to drop down below the escarpment to check out all the bridges, waterfalls and rock formations that lie below.


Peebles Island State Park


Another local hike that gets you up above the treetops without much work is the two-mile Perimeter Trail at Peebles Island State Park. As its name suggests, the trail goes around the perimeter of the island, which in many places rises far above the water level, making for unparalleled views of the Mohawk River and beyond.


Vroman’s Nose


Just west of the Capital Region, Vroman’s Nose is an incredibly "Instagram-able" hike that culminates in a defined rock ledge that juts out over the farmland below. The entire loop is just 1.5 miles—low risk, high reward.


Moreau Lake State Park


Up north a bit, off exit 17 of the I-87, Moreau Lake State Park has an abundance of walking and hiking trails that surround the park’s namesake. Take the Lake Bonita Loop trail for a leisurely stroll around Moreau’s neighboring lake, the Western Ridge trail for continuous views looking over the Hudson, or the Red Oak Ridge Trail to the Overlook, a favorite vantagepoint for many locals.


Thomas Mountain

Bolton Landing

A bit further up the Northway lies Thomas Mountain, a short, moderate hike that is often paired with neighboring Cat Mountain. The 1.4-mile path to the summit is more dirt road than trail, making for a leisurely walk in the woods with a big reward. Feeling adventurous? Head over to Cat, which is 2 miles from the summit of Thomas.