by Theresa Houghton
Looking for a Fabulous Fall Getaway in NY’s Capital District?
It’s fall foliage time, and in Upstate New York, that can mean only one thing: road trip!
As the leaves change color across the state, you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the unique beauty of the season. There’s still time to get out for a leisurely drive, rugged hike, boating trip or family adventure before the snow flies.
Not sure where to go first? These six amazing places offer breathless views and seasonal activities for enterprising leaf peepers of all ages.
Prospect Mountain, Lake George
Take a drive up the 5.5-mile Veteran’s Memorial Highway to the top of Prospect Mountain for a beautiful view of Lake George and the Adirondacks. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until October 19, this gorgeous lookout can be accessed for $10 per vehicle. When you park at the summit and take the shuttle to the peak, you’ll be treated to 100 miles of stunning autumn vistas in every direction. Pack a picnic to make it a day trip, and spend some time hiking on the nature trails after you’ve had your fill of foliage. If you’re up for a four-mile hike, you can make your way to the summit on foot any time of year, weather permitting.
Pine Bush Preserve, Albany
Located on New Karner Road in Albany, this 3,300-acre preserve offers almost 18 miles of trails to hike and explore. The Pine Bush is home to a number of rare plants and animals, which you can learn more about at fun events like fall foliage hikes, night hikes and “discovery journeys.” These special events are held throughout the year, and you can visit the Pine Bush any time during the week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’re looking for a different kind of outdoor adventure, you can also bike, canoe or fish.
Falls View Park, Cohoes
Waterfalls add a majestic touch to any landscape, and you can enjoy the view from primary and secondary overlook areas at Falls View Park. There are four acres to explore during daylight hours from May to October, including waterfalls 1,000 feet across and up to 90 feet high! Trek across the 192-foot pedestrian bridge, or check out the educational signage and panels along the hiking trails. The park is a great place to snap some selfies of you and your friends as you take in the beauty of the fall colors or tp just wander and contemplate the natural wonders around you.
Hunter Mountain Skyride, Hunter
Get a glimpse of fall in three states on a ride up Hunter Mountain. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during September and October, this unique attraction features a six-passenger Kaatskill Flyer detachable chair lift designed to carry you the 3,200 feet to the top of the mountain. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the Green Mountains in Vermont. The Skyride runs every weekend, weather permitting, and group reservations are available for parties of 20 or more people. Check out the view before you go with the online live camera!
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, Milford
How about getting out of the car and riding a train instead? That’s exactly what you can do on this historic railroad. Dating back to 1869, the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad offers unique themed rides with seasonal decorations and activities. The train departs from the Milford Depot in Milford and transports passengers over historic tracks in vintage rail cars. Take the whole family on the Pumpkin Patch train to enjoy a visit to a pumpkin patch and light refreshments for $21 per adult and $18 per child. Admission includes one pumpkin each for the kids!
Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Awaken your inner epic adventurer with an extended road trop on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. This 518-mile roadway has been designated as one of America’s Byways by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and there’s little wonder as to why. It stretches from Massena, New York to the Ohio state line near Erie, Pennsylvania and passes by Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The route is peppered with historical landmarks and cultural heritage sites highlighting the rich history of New York State.
Obviously, this isn’t a trip you can take all in one day! To get you started, the Seaway Trail website offers some fun road trip ideas based on specific areas of interest. Explore history, go fishing or boating, visit lighthouses, admire architecture or get a taste of unique wineries, all while admiring the vibrant colors of the changing leaves.
Don’t wait to head out for some fall fun! Hop in the car, and go soak in the natural beauty Upstate NY has to offer.
About the Author Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.