Top 5 tips for catching the fall foliage in Upstate New York

Aug 16th 2017

Top 5 tips for catching the fall foliage in Upstate New York

Though we love lazy summer vacations around here at Inn at Lake Joseph, we can’t help but get excited about the dazzling display of colors that Mother Nature will be sharing with us soon! Getting ready to see the fall foliage in Upstate New York? Make the most of your trip with these five tips!

When to visit

Early to mid-October is your best bet for peak fall foliage in the Catskills and you can catch the vibrant colors and falling leaves through the end of October, though mid-September can also be very pretty as the leaves begin to turn. There’s no wrong time to come to Catskills to see the fall foliage as each stage of the color change is gorgeous.

Bookmark I Love NY’s Fall Foliage Report to stay up to date of when and where the leaves are starting to change. The site has yet to be updated with 2017 dates but the report is updated every Wednesday when the color change starts happening.

Where to go

There’s no shortage of regions to visit in New York to see the colors change but we think the Catskills are extra special when it comes to fall foliage. Other hot spots include the Adirondack Mountains, New York City (think Central Park), and the Finger Lakes region.

Know what’s changing

It’s also fun to know what you’re seeing as we have more than 20 leaves that change in the fall in New York State! Some of the more colorful leaf varieties include the reddish-purple flowering dogwood, the yellow and orange American hornbeam, the russet-red northern red oak, the orange maple leaves, the yellow American mountain ash or quaking aspen, the yellow-orange American sycamore, and purple white ash.

Check out the leaf identifier to learn more about what leaves are changing and what colors you can expect.

Plan ways to see them

Walking, hiking, and biking are great ways to see the changing colors up close. There are a variety of local trails and trail systems near Forestburgh for your hiking pleasure. If you want to combine seeing the colors with seeing some of our local wildlife, try a trail in the Basha Kill Wildlife Refuge. If you’re after something a bit more rugged with some elevation gain, head toward Tusten Mountain.

Bikers will love the nearby biking trails and roads for some exercise and stunning views. Try the D & H Canal Heritage Corridor, Walnut Mountain Park, or if you’re serious about your biking, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway! The byway is also perfect for a fall drive if you’re not keen on biking it!

Another option for a stunning fall drive is the 88-mile Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway. Besides viewing the fall foliage, you’ll also have access to recreational opportunities, historic sites, and dining along the way.

Taking photos

We bet you’ll want to snap some gorgeous photos of the fall foliage and whether you’re bringing your camera or just snapping away with your smartphone, here are some quick tips to make your photos really pop!

  • Wait for good light – If it’s overcast, it’s going to be hard to see the vibrant hues pop on the screen. Wait for good light or a sunny day to snap your fall foliage photos.
  • Make sure your lens is clean – With how many times a day we grab our phones, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the lens can get smudged or dirty. Wipe your lens off with a lens cloth or glass cloth before heading out.
  • Underexpose – On your smartphone, tap your screen to tell where you want the camera to expose. If you tap the bright sky, the exposure will darken. Try to keep a blue sky in your photo instead of one that’s been whited out for properly exposed photos.
  • Change your focus/depth – Play around with focusing on close-up elements and blurring the background or do a close up on cool details of individual leaves. You can also try to isolate specific colors to make them the focus of your photo.
  • Follow the rule of thirds – Most of us try to center the important elements of a photo but professional photographers tend to follow the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds simply says that your subject or important items should be a third of the way in from one of the sides of your photo.

Fall is also the perfect time to get cozy with your partner as you enjoy an intimate weekend away in the Catskills. Save some hard cider, enjoy pumpkin spiced everything, and just revel in each other’s company around a roaring fire. Luckily we know just the place: Inn at Lake Joseph! Find the perfect room to start planning your fall getaway to Upstate New York!


[email protected]
Fodor's Travel 10 Best Fall Foliage Trips in the US