Everything You Need to Know About Leaf-Peeping in Upstate New York This Fall

AccuWeather has provided a fall foliage "forecast" for leaf-peepers to follow.

Leaf-peeping season looks to be happening a little later than usual this fall.

So the Saratoga Summer is kaput. That doesn’t mean you should be crying the blues. In fact, you should be getting out there while the weather’s still nice and taking part in possibly the second best time of the year: leaf-peeping season.

Yes, it’s almost that time again, when the leaves begin changing color, and there are actual people who get paid to “forecast” the top times to go out and catch fall foliage at its best. Like AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok, who released his annual fall foliage forecast a few days ago.

What can we glean from it? For one, leaf-peeping season is going to be a heck of a lot better this year than it was last. “Last year, trees became stressed later in the summer in parts of the Northeast due to a couple of extended periods of dryness,” says Pastelok. “As a result, there were early leaf droppings, and the brightness was OK, but not great.” This fall, we’ll be seeing much more brilliant colors on trees, but it’s not going to be taking place on its normal schedule.

So when can you expect the best leaf-peeping to take place? While peak fall foliage usually occurs later this month or during the first week of October, expect to find it closer to the second week of October in Upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Leaf-WTF-ing, you say? For Saratoga newbies, there are multiple places in town to leaf-peep, including the Saratoga Spa State Park and Congress Park, but don’t forget to jump in your car and enjoy the foliage at the Saratoga National Historic Park in nearby Stillwater, Thacher State Park in Albany, Peebles Island State Park in Cohoes and Grafton Lakes State Park, just outside of Troy. Heck, you could even make a weekend out of it and drive down to the Catskills or up to the Adirondacks for a little forest bathing to go along with you leaf-peeping. Either way, you’re, um, golden.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.


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