7 Stunning Spots to View Fall Foliage in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers a rainbow of fall foliage to take in during the autumn.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers a rainbow of fall foliage to take in during the autumn.

The transformation that takes place during the fall foliage season in Westchester and the Hudson Valley is truly magical. With so many lovely destination parks and some of the best spots for hiking, Westchester and the Hudson Valley provide countless stunning backdrops to enjoy the autumn leaves and scenery.

Whether you want to drive right up to a scenic fall foliage spot or go for a walk in the woods, we've got you covered. Read on for seven of our favorite fall foliage spots in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

Fall Foliage Viewing Spots in Westchester County

Kingsland Point Park – Sleepy Hollow

Jutting out into the Hudson River just beside the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Kingsland Point Park offers vistas of the Palisades and Hook Mountain across the river, Westchester’s gorgeous shoreline north and south of the point, and, on a clear day, the silhouette of New York City in the distance. Walk along Scenic Hudson Riverwalk and take a tour of the historic Tarrytown Lighthouse (Note: Tours are canceled for 2020.) Time your visit for sunset and watch as the brilliant oranges and reds glow as the sun goes down behind the hills of Rockland County.

Eagle Hill, Rockefeller State Park Preserve – Sleepy Hollow

Hike to the top of Eagle Hill in Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and you are guaranteed a beautiful view in any season—but during fall foliage season, the beauty is magnified. An easy “first hike” for young children, the way up is a very gently graded gravel path that circles the hill several times before arriving at the top and doubling back down on itself. Hikers gain elevation without really noticing it, and before long find themselves looking out over the Hudson River and the towns of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow below. This hike is about a mile long and can be accessed from parking areas and trails.

RELATED: 10 Destination Parks for Westchester Families

The walkway over Croton Dam framed by fall foliage
The walkway across Croton Dam is stunning—and a little unnerving! Photo by William Doyle via Flickr

Croton Gorge Park – Cortlandt

Open dawn to dusk, Croton Gorge Park is a beautiful spot to catch leaves as they turn from green to red. Children (and adults!) are wowed by the huge waterfall cascading down the gorge. To get to the walkway above the dam, walk to the playground and pick up the trail that leads up the hill and across a few switchbacks (a 5-minute walk without kids, 10 to 15 with them, depending on how many sticks they stop to pick up) to a stone bridge that takes you right above the spillway. The beginning of the bridge feels just like walking on the road—once you get to the spillway, this is not a walk for those with a fear of heights. If you’re not sure how intrepid you’re feeling, stick to the right-hand side of the bridge. It overlooks the reservoir instead of the falls.

Bear Mountain Bridge – Peekskill/Bear Mountain

If your family has little or no fear of heights, a walk across the Bear Mountain Bridge during fall foliage is an absolute necessity—in fact, on early fall mornings, there are often more pedestrians along the walkway than there are cars on the road. From this vantage point, viewers can look north toward the peaks of the Hudson Highlands and south to the towns of Peekskill and Cortlandt. Pull-off parking is available at the bridge's base on Route 6 for a quick walk; for a slightly longer walk, drive over and park in Bear Mountain State Park.

Scenic Overlook on Route 6 – Peekskill

Not too keen on walking over the actual bridge? We suggest the scenic overlook on the way to the bridge. Heading north on Route 6/202 toward the Bear Mountain Bridge from Peekskill—a section often referred to as the "Goat Trail"—motorists pass an overlook pull-off, complete with informational placards, on the left-hand side just at the point of a rather sharp curve. There is space here for at least 10 carefully parked cars and, often, a hot dog truck and an ice cream truck. This spot looks over Bear Mountain, Doodletown, and the marshlands below, and is a beautiful observation spot on a clear day.

Fall Foliage Viewing Spots in Putnam and Dutchess Counties

Anthony’s Nose – Multiple entrance points

For a panoramic view of the Bear Mountain Bridge, the Hudson Highlands, and southern portions of the Hudson River, tackle the 2.5-mile round-trip hike from Route 9D to the tip of Anthony’s Nose. In the first 1/2-mile, you’ll gain a lot of ground going up what looks like a rough set of steps carved into the side of the mountain. After this, the path flattens out and follows an old gravel road to the tip of the nose directly above the Bear Mountain Bridge. This is a popular trail in the fall and is good for elementary-age kids.

Mount Beacon – Beacon

Mount Beacon is for adventurous hikers and older kids. Once the site of an inclined railway and a mountain-top dance hall, this autumn hiking destination offers one of the most spectacular viewpoints in all of the Hudson Valley. The hike is short in distance but strenuous in elevation and goes pretty much straight uphill, gaining 1,500 feet of elevation in just about a mile. Hikers who feel extra adventurous can continue from this point to the Mount Beacon Fire Tower, which reopened in 2013. Those who dare to climb the 60-foot metal tower are rewarded with a view spanning more than 75 miles in every direction.

This was originally posted in 2014 and has been updated since.

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