ORANGE COUNTY – As summer fades into autumn, vibrant fall foliage bedecks the picturesque landscapes of the Hudson Valley. Blazing orange, red, and yellow leaves paint unparalleled sights for all to see during leaf-peeping season. Send off summer and welcome in fall with loved ones with a trip to one, or all, of the many must-visit spots for the most beautiful foliage in Orange County, N.Y.
“You need to get here! So, grab your sweater and discover why fall is the most beautiful time of the year in the Hudson Valley,” said Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana. “As the leaves change, the rolling hills and mountains of our region transform into a tapestry of vibrant colors. The eye-popping change begins in mid-September, building to a riot of red, orange, copper, and gold throughout October. With scenic vistas and hundreds of miles of trails, take in the spectacular views by foot, bike, or car. And, don’t forget to pick up an apple-cider donut before the day is done!”
Below are some must-visit spots to witness vibrant fall foliage in Orange County, N.Y. Before visiting any of the locations, please contact the venue directly to confirm that they are open and practice safe social-distancing.
Hawk’s Nest Drive, Route 97, Sparrowbush: Take a drive down New York State’s newest scenic byway as it winds along the Delaware River. A snake-like portion of Sparrowbush, the Hawk’s Nest connects the railroad city of Port Jervis to the bluestone village of Hancock. The unique highway has been featured in many car advertisements and commercials.
Schunnemunk Mountain State Park, 339 Otterkill Road, New Windsor: Explore 25 miles of hiking trails along 3,300 acres of rolling meadows and spectacular mountaintops including Schunnemunk Mountain, Orange County’s highest peak. Eight marked trails offer hikers thrilling 360-degree views of adjacent valleys, portions of the distant Hudson River and surrounding forest and farmlands. The park extends from Cornwall through Woodbury, Blooming Grove, and Monroe.
Seven Lakes Drive, Tiorati Circle on Route 6, Bear Mountain: This beautiful drive runs through Harriman State Park to Bear Mountain. The road winds its way through pristine forests filled with colorful trees mirrored in all seven lakes. An excellent spot for fall foliage, but the views are second to none year-round. A perfect blend of exciting curves and scenic views, Seven Lakes Drive offers drivers and motorcyclists a gorgeous spectacle of the mountain and lake.
Storm King State Park, Route 9W, South of Cornwall: This undeveloped park made headlines in the 1960s and 1970s when Storm King Mountain inspired the ecological movement in the United States. Climb the steep, rocky trails for breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley.
Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Road, New Windsor: Autumn leaves are a dramatic backdrop to the huge works on the 500 acres of Storm King Art Center, the country’s largest outdoor sculpture park. The park-like setting contains a wide variety of trees producing a veritable rainbow of colors to set off the muscle-y sculptures carefully placed within the scenery.
West Point, 2107 New South Post Road, West Point: The oldest military academy presides over the Hudson River with some of its highest points offering spectacular views of the Hudson River valley.
Fort Montgomery, 690 Route 9W, Montgomery: The ruins of this Revolutionary War, a 14-acre fortification, are perched on a cliff overlooking the magnificent Hudson River. Don’t miss the long footbridge that crosses the creek for a great view of the Bear Mountain Bridge and surrounding fall foliage.
Winding Hills Park, 1847 Route 17K, Montgomery: Commune with nature at the picturesque Winding Hills Park which offers hiking trails, a 40-acre lake, and four-acre pond. Bring a picnic and surround yourself with the crisp air and autumnal splendor as you walk around the lake.
Heritage Trail, Goshen, Chester & Monroe: A converted rail bed of the Erie Railroad, the Heritage trail invites visitors to walk, jog, and bike along its 10-foot wide, 14-mile scenic route. With trail entrances in Goshen, Chester, and Monroe, the trail winds through a bird/wildlife sanctuary, historic landmarks, murmuring streams, and rolling meadows.
Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point, Route 9W, New Windsor: Located on the banks of the Hudson River, this site boasts magnificent vistas of the Hudson gorge and a 2,000-foot sandy riverfront.
As the world reopens, Orange County, N.Y., invites residents and visitors to escape, enjoy and explore its wide-open spaces. For a full list of attractions, lodging and dining options available at this time, please visit OrangeTourism.org/summer. Additionally, a new fun, free, 56-page travel guide is available for digital download or by request at OrangeTourism.org/travel-guide.
About Orange County Tourism
Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging and events can be found at OrangeTourism.org. Like Orange County Tourism on Facebook for the latest news on local happenings.