New York’s Adirondack Mountains are a dream come to life for any true adventurer, especially in the fall. But you don’t have to be an outdoors fanatic to enjoy this magical site. From camping to photography, there are hordes of things to do during the Adirondack Mountains’ fall foliage.
Why visit Adirondack during the fall foliage?
How about a mountainous landscape lit up by the colors of a sunset? Or trees adorned with rich hues of yellow, orange, and red?
So calling all leaf peepers, mountaineers, and tree-huggers alike—this year’s fall foliage beckons to be admired!
Read on to discover exciting things one can do this fall in the Adirondacks region. You’ll also find the best places to view the Adirondack fall foliage, where to stay, practical tips, and more.
P.S. If you love the idea of exploring the East Coast Adirondacks Mountains, then you’ll enjoy this New England fall road trip!
Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!
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Best Time to Visit Adirondacks for Fall Foliage
Before getting into an exclusive list of things to do, you must pin down the perfect date for your Adirondack Mountains fall escape. First, you’ll need to know when the peak fall foliage in the Adirondacks takes place.
This will be from late September to about the third week of October.
Anytime before means the leaves haven’t hit their prime, and anytime after might be past their prime. So make sure to visit during this sweet spot.
Pro Tip: Check this tracker for the best time to see Adirondack Mountains fall colors!
Things to Do in the Adirondacks During Fall Foliage
- Pitch Your Tent and Go Camping
- Hike Through the Many Splendid Trails
- Chase Waterfalls
- Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife
- Snap Some Amazing Photographs
- Discover the Natural Stone and Bridge Cave
- See the Fall Foliage at Lake Placid
- Make Your Way Up Whiteface Mountain
- Take a Scenic Drive
- Visit The Hudson River Gorge
- Have a Drink at Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
- Dine at Bistro LeRoux in Lake George
- Pick Your Own Apples
- Watch the Sunset From an Adirondack Fire Tower
- Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Go on a Fall Canoe Ride
- Ride the Whiteface Mountain Gondola
- Visit Schroon Lake
Apart from the leaf peeping, you’d be surprised at how many things one can do in the great Adirondack Mountains!
Below is a map of all these things to do.
Now let’s discuss all the fall fun in detail!
#1 Pitch Your Tent and Go Camping
Is there any better way to experience mother nature than spending a few nights in the great outdoors? Camping in the Adirondacks will have you surrounded by falling foliage.
There are many camping sites dotted around the region.
Some best sites for foliage viewing include Babcock Campgrounds, Barber Homestead Park, Schroon River Escape, and Adirondack Camping Village!
#2 Hike Through The Many Splendid Trails
This one is no surprise, but hiking up to viewpoints is the best way to see the mountainous region in all its splendor.
Here are some fantastic scenic hiking trails that you can go on to spot some colorful leaves:
- Mount Jo (a fave for fall)
- Indian Head
- Mount Haystack Trail
- Cobble Lookout (popular for Adirondack Mountains fall foliage views)
- Mount Arab Trail
- Panther Mountain Trail
- Whiteface Mountain Trail
- Ampersand Mountain Trail
#3 Chase Waterfalls
While you’re there for the fall foliage, you might as well go and discover some hidden waterfalls in the Adirondacks. Here are some of the most majestic cascading wonders to gaze upon:
- Bog River Falls
- St. Regis Falls
- Harper Falls
- High Falls Gorge
- Beaver Meadow Falls
- OK Slip Falls
- Death Brook Falls
- Ausable Chasm
#4 Keep An Eye Out For Wildlife
Brightly colored leaves are not the only thing blossoming during fall. You’ll find animals frolicking around during this time of year as they prepare for winter.
And while on your visit, you may be lucky to spot a few critters.
Be mindful of black bears and coyotes that often roam this region!
Some of the other wildlife to spot are:
- White-tailed deer and moose
- Squirrels and chipmunks, and other small rodents
- Many species of fish, amphibians, and reptiles
- Songbirds, Woodpeckers, and Raptors
- Small mammals such as raccoons and beavers
#5 Snap Some Amazing Photographs
If you’re in the Adirondacks during fall, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have your camera glued to your hand.
Photographers will have an opportunity to capture some of the most beautiful fall foliage and surrounding natural scenery.
There’s a reason why the Adirondacks is a renowned location for wedding and wildlife photography.
One of my favorite photo spots is Heart Lake Loop near the Adirondack Loj!
Read Next: 20+ Things to Do in Stowe, VT in Fall
#6 Discover the Natural Stone and Bridge Cave
South of the Adirondacks Mountains sits a geological wonder itching to be explored. Follow one of the self-guided trails that runs parallel to a river and make your way to the Natural Bridge Cave.
This natural marble cave is 180 feet wide and even contains an underground lake.
The cave can overflow during spring when the Trout Brook River fills up.
However, the cave exposes its dry river bed and charming underground waterfalls during peak fall foliage.
#7 See the Adirondack Mountains Fall Foliage at Lake Placid
Drive to Lake Placid fall foliage for fantastic views and a relaxing outing. It’s best to visit this area from the last week of September to start seeing colors. A drive along Mirror Lake Drive affords some of the most stunning displays of autumn colors. Dotted along the way are spots that offer splendid views from your car.
If you want to feel more in tune with your surroundings, a relaxing bike ride or hike around Lake Placid will do wonders.
#8 Make Your Way Up Whiteface Mountain
For stunning views of the Adirondack foliage, climb your way to the highest point of Whiteface Mountain. At this position, you’ll be 5,000 feet above ground and observe a stunning display of bright colors from all the trees below.
You can take a trail from the Reservoir or Whiteface Landing. These two paths will take you up to Whiteface, where you’ll be met with unbelievable views.
#9 Take a Scenic Drive (Adirondack Mountains Fall Fave)
Want to go on an incredibly scenic drive? The New York State Route 10 is a north-south state highway that extends into the Adirondacks.
This drive can be a fantastic way to get a glimpse of fall colors.
Indian Lake to Speculator is another fantastic fall foliage drive!
#10 Visit The Hudson River Gorge
The Hudson Gorge Wilderness is a rugged area tucked into the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The Hudson River runs through the center of the wilderness, offering visitors an opportunity to do water activities such as kayaking.
It also allows you to see peak fall foliage as this wilderness area is rich with flora.
#11 Have a Drink at Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
Relax with a refreshing locally brewed beer on a lakeside deck at Lake Placid’s top choice for drinks.
This pub and brewery offer guests top-quality fresh beer on tap, the majority of them hand-crafted. To get a taste of this excellence, you won’t go wrong with the Patriot Pale ale or the Nippletop Milk Stout.
The Lake Placid Pub operates every week from 11:30 AM to 2 AM, except on Sundays when they are open between 12 PM – 2 AM.
#12 Dine at Bistro LeRoux in Lake George
Bistro LeRoux is a local, French-inspired restaurant with glowing reviews. This famous Adirondack restaurant serves delicious meals like tomato bisque soup and eggplant risotto—perfect for warming you up in the fall.
Wash your meals down with a refreshing drink from their extensive menu!
The atmosphere is very welcoming making it a perfect spot for casual conversation fueled by wine.
You can book a table ahead or arrive at the restaurant between 5 and 8:30 PM from Tuesday to Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays Bistro LeRoux is open from 5 to 9 PM, while on Mondays and Sundays it is closed.
#13 Pick Your Own Apples
Apple picking is a prominent fall tradition in the region. A plethora of orchards in the Adirondacks welcome visitors for a day of apple picking and tasting.
You can try the Rogers Family-, Banker-, and Billy Bob’s Orchards, amongst many others.
Many of these orchards offer more than just apple picking. For example, the Rogers Family allows you to pick from their fresh pumpkins and seasonal berries. Talk about the perfect fall outing!
#14 Watch the Sunset From an Adirondack Fire Tower
Climbing the fire towers at the Adirondacks has become a tradition amongst avid visitors! What was once used as a method to spot wildfires by forest rangers is now a haven for those wanting to get a bird’s-eye view of the wilderness—especially when fall is at its peak.
There’s no better way to take in the display of orange-yellow trees and the beautiful sunset all at once.
In fact, there are 25 fire towers in the Adirondack Mountains!
A few notable ones to consider are:
- Rondaxe Fire Tower
- Blue Mountain Fire Tower
- Snowy Mountain Fire Tower
#15 Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte
Grab a pumpkin spice latte (or a regular latte) at an Adirondack Mountains fall favorite: Old Mountain Coffee Co.
Located in Keene, NY, this coffee shop never disappoints! It’s the perfect place for a caffeine fix in the middle of your fall adventures.
#16 Go on a Fall Canoe Ride
Want to see Adirondack Mountains fall foliage from the comfort of a canoe? I don’t blame ya.
Head over to Lake Placid, grab a wooden canoe, then paddle your heart out!
#17 Ride the Whiteface Mountain Gondola
Head up up up and into all the gorgeous fall foliage by taking a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain!
This fall must starts at the White Mountain Ski Resort.
Cloudsplitter Gondola is $25 for adults and $19 for kids. Open 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
You can read more about the gondola on Whiteface.com.
#18 Visit Schroon Lake
If you’re a sucker for cute little East Coast towns, you’ll love this one!
Schroon is located in the Southern Adirondacks in Essex County.
And you can probably guess this already, but the town is known for the picturesque Schroon Lake. Come here and enjoy a fall foliage day trip, picnic, or relax and read a book on the shore!
It’s the perfect place to take in the Adirondack Mountains fall foliage views!
How to See the Fall Foliage in the Adirondacks
Now that you know what to do and where to go in the Adirondacks during the fall, you can start planning your trip!
Where to Stay in the Adirondacks
I recommend at least 3 days in the area. If that’s not doable for you, book at least one night in the area! This region has amazing accommodations, distinctive for its cabin aesthetic, lake views, rolling mountains, and lush greenery.
If you want to experience it for yourself, why not consider these places?
River Front Cabin With Mountain Views
This cozy wooden log cabin retreat offers a quiet getaway next to the Au Sable River. There’s no shortage of nature with views of the river and surrounding mountains.
You can hike or drive to the best places to see the foliage.
Get a feel for this cabin by checking out the price, ratings, and how it looks, and if you’re satisfied, you book right here.
The Village Nook
A rental near trails and waterways? Check. A place that guarantees comfort and relaxation? Check.
The Village Nook near Saranac Lake awaits your stay with amenities sorted and an opportunity for yoga therapy.
While enjoying the fall colors of your surroundings, you’ll be pleased to find that many other attractions await you. The Pendragon theater, Saranac Laboratory Museum, Adirondack Carousel, and more are all nearby.
You can secure your stay by finding the next booking for this relaxing village experience.
Stay at a Modern Studio Apartment
What better way to seek out fall foliage in the Adirondacks than staying at a cozy cabin with a convenient location? This modern studio might be an ideal choice if that’s what you’re looking for.
This newly-built studio sits snugly between Lake Placid and Mirror Lakes in the Signal Hill neighborhood.
Talk about a perfect location, with stunning views far and wide!
Wake up to the sounds of nature as you admire the Whiteface Mountains and lake from your window.
Book now to enjoy this cozy getaway and start exploring Lake Placid and surrounding areas.
Best Ways to Get to the Adirondacks Mountains
If you’re traveling from New York City, you can simply take a long relaxing drive of about four hours (without stop-overs). Driving from Albany, NY will take about 2 hours.
Flying to the Adirondacks will be more efficient and convenient if you travel from other parts of the country. The Adirondacks Mountain region has three airports that you can fly to, both nationally and internationally.
Go with the most convenient option: the Adirondack Regional Airport at Lake Clear, the Plattsburgh International Airport, or Ogdensburg International Airport.
Practical Tips When Visiting the Adirondacks Mountains, Fall Foliage
Since you’re visiting in the fall and plan on viewing foliage, It’s important not to explore the region aimlessly. Know where you’re going, plan well, and research the areas you’re visiting!
Here are more tips to keep in mind when visiting the Adirondacks Mountains:
- Choose the right hiking trail that matches your ability and fitness level.
- Temperatures start to plummet during the fall season, so prepare for cold winds and damp pathways. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing, long sleeves, and jackets will keep you warm and dry when exploring this mountainous area.
- Wear the proper footwear that is fit for hiking, muddy, and rocky surfaces. While not all hikes are the same distance and elevation, it’s always best to have a firm grip.
- Bring snacks and water with you if exploring the Adirondacks for long periods.
- Always have your camera at hand — in case you run into Bigfoot (the Adirondacks are rife with sightings of this shy and mythical creature). On a serious note, this is a must if you’re heading to this region during peak fall foliage.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do During the Adirondack Peak Foliage
The Adirondacks have no shortage of fun outdoorsy things to do. With picturesque scenery thanks to the foliage, there might not be a better way to experience fall. Whether picking apples, indulging in local beer, or camping under the stars, there’s something for any adventurer.
So grab your hiking shoes, rucksack, and camera and get ready to see the Adirondacks in all their glory! Before you head off, you might also want to visit Stow, Vermont, in the fall.