Published on: September 16, 2021

Foliage season in Upstate New York

LAKE PLACIDWhere did summer go in Upstate New York? One day, it’s May 1 and before we realize it, we’ve reached Labor Day.

In the North Country, as the kids are getting ready to return to school, it’s a reminder that the leaves are starting to turn. Taking a drive through nearby North Hudson on Route 73 last month, we could see that metamorphosis begin to take shape. Now, with each passing week, the reds, yellows and oranges of the season become more evident.

Fall foliage season around Lake Placid sneaks up on many travelers who are accustomed to seeing those brilliant colors well into November. But that’s to the south of us. In these parts, you’ve got to start paying attention much sooner, because our foliage season ends in mid-October.

Tree changing color
Observe changing foliage by simply walking around Mirror Lake

It’s with that schedule in mind that we recommend you begin your fall tour in the North and work your way to the south. The leaves in the Northern Adirondacks turn first, followed by the Southern Adirondacks, then the Catskills, Hudson Valley and the NY-NJ-CT Tri-State area.

If you plan your trip in that sequence, you will enjoy the longest foliage season of all.

At the moment, the Lake Placid region is just 25 % converted to fall colors, according to I Love NY. But remember, our foliage season will be over in about a month.

Where to view the colors?

Fall in the Lake Placid region is an attraction unto itself, as visitors are able to gain magnificent vistas from a number of unique perches. One of them is the summit of Whiteface Mountain, the state’s fifth highest peak, and accessible by car. Nearby you’ll find the Cloudsplitter Gondola at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area where a beautiful ride to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain awaits. Another is the 26-story elevator ride to the top of the 120-meter ski jump tower. Very few destinations provide such positions from which to appreciate the change from green to red, yellow and orange.

Hikers in the High Peaks are surrounded by this radiance as are those who drive to Heaven Hill Farm and walk about its meadows.

What’s the weather like?

In late September and October, travelers should pack for two seasons, summer and fall, as temps tend to be cooler in the morning and evening. Those of us who live here await the first frost of the season, which usually triggers more of the transformation.

With this colorful palette all around us, bikers must not get distracted as they pedal our mountain roadways.

Golfers will love playing the game against this fall tapestry; it makes that three-putt bogey easy to explain when you are distracted by such beauty. But again, make plans sooner because our season will shut down by the third weekend of October.

When that happens, you can start thinking about moving your foliage tour to the south.