New York state offers one of the most beautiful foliage seasons in the country but the best part of its Fall is that you can enjoy it much longer than in most other states.

The thing is, New York stretches from South to North and had diverse landscape, so the foliage season comes to different parts of the state at different times. Thus if you plan your time wisely around these different zones, you can enjoy the beautiful fall colors for at least 6 weeks!

Here’s how to prolong your NY foliage season:

1. Start in Adirondacks (Week #1 – Week #2 of October)

Adirondack region fall colors

Not only Adirondack region is located in the north-most part of NY, it also has mountains, so this part of the state is the first to welcome chilly weather and the first to see beautiful Fall colors.

Mountains will be the first to welcome the first colors of foliage, so make sure to take one (or all) of those scenic drives (both High Peaks Byway and Whiteface Memorial Highway) will offer magnificent views and cool stops to enjoy more. Stop by the Chapel Pond to see all those pretty colors reflected in the crystal clear mountain pond water.

Adirondack NY foliage - reflection

Once you catch your first foliage in the mountains, spend the middle of the first week or the second week (depending on the weather) of October on Lake George. Its surroundings remain green for the most part of the year but those patches of bright colors look even more impressive when you stumble across one.

Lake George NY foliage

If you do see signs of Fall around lake George, take a The Veterans Memorial Highway (or a walking trail) up the Prospect Mountain to enjoy the views of the Lake George in pretty Fall colors from above.

Lake George Foliage view

2. Move to the Catskill Mountains (Week #2 – Week #3 of October)

Catskills Mountains NY foliage

Depending on how fast the season is approaching, beginning or end of week #2 of October should be a good time to visit the Catskills region which is located within a two-hour drive from NY. Thanks to the elevation, this region is also welcoming Fall earlier than the rest of the state but it can stretch here up until second half of October.

Make sure to drive the scenic Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway which provides magnificent views with a few picturesque stops. Don’t forget to check at least one of the waterfalls. While the famous Kaaterskill Falls is only accessible through a 2-mile trail, Plattekill Falls is just a 5-minute walk from the parking lot and it looks absolutely gorgeous in Fall.

Plattekill Falls, NY, foliage

3. Stop by the Capital Region (Week #2 – Week #3 of October)

Capital region NY foliage season

Capital Region has quite a few beautiful state parks which see the peak of the foliage season in the middle of October.

Our favorite park is Thacher State Park because it has a gorgeous waterfall (and we love waterfalls).

Thacher State Park NY foliage

Make sure you take the whole loop trail (called the Indian Ladder Trail) to walk behind the waterfall and then enjoy the beautiful views from above!

NY Fall Foliage: the Indian Ladder Trail in Thacher State Park

4. Explore Minnewaska State Park (Week #3 of October)

Minnewaska State Park NY foliage

Minnewaska State Park is gorgeous any time of the year (check out frozen Awosting Falls in winter!) but its Minnewaska Lake loop trail is absolutely breath-taking during fall.

The trail is quite easy and provides magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding rocks and trees.

Minnewaska State Park is in less than 2-hour drive from NY, so it can get quite crowded. If you can do, check it out on a week day to avoid crowd and sink in all its beauty and colors.

Minnewaska State Park

5. Stop by Hudson Valley Towns (Week #3 – Week #4 of October)

Beacon, NY foliage

While we love nature colors during Fall foliage season, we often stop by cute towns and vilages along the Hudson River as they look gorgeous wrapped in all those bright colors. Catskills and Kingston are two great towns to stop by. We also often stop by Beacon, NY because we love its rustic architecture:

6. Come to NYC by Halloween (Week #4 of October – Week #1 of November)

Central park NYC foliage

It is finally time to arrive to NYC. The city has quite a few parks that provide great Fall views but of course Central Park is the one not to miss in Fall!

Because it is situated in the southern part of NY, the city keeps foliage colors up until earlier November. While it looks gorgeous throughout the whole October, save yourself some time watching foliage elsewhere in the state and come to NYC as your final foliage spot.

This is actually a genius plan because you’ll also catch all the Halloween decorations and entertainment as well, so your Fall experiences will be complete. No one takes Halloween as seriously as New Yorkers!

NYC takes Halloween decorations very seriously!

Video: Extend your NY foliage season with these weekend getaway ideas

No year is the same, and you will notice that sometimes Fall comes earlier and lasts longer and other years it seems to pass within two weeks. But this foliage itinerary remains unchanged: Start from the north and travel all the way to NYC. Enjoy your fall!

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