10 Spectacular Places to View Fall Foliage in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
The transformation that takes place during the fall foliage season in Westchester and the Hudson Valley is truly magical. 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 foliage spot or go for a walk in the woods.
Read on for our top 10 favorite fall foliage spots in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
And be sure to check out our rundowns on the many lovely destination parks in the area and the best spots for hiking. Our Fall Fun Guide for Westchester Kids also has plenty more ideas for seasonal fun.
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1. 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 to the north and south 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. 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.
2. Eagle Hill, Rockefeller State Park Preserve – Pleasantville
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.
3. Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve – Yorktown Heights
Turkey Mountain Preserve offers one of the best spots to view fall foliage. From its summit of 831 feet, take in spectacular views of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain, the Hudson Highlands, and even the ridge of the Shawangunks. But don’t let the height intimidate you; the hike up is not too steep, and even less steep on the way down (although a bit longer).
Croton Gorge Park. Photo courtesy of New York State Parks
4. 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 righthand side of the bridge. It overlooks the reservoir instead of the falls.
5. 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.
6. Scenic Overlook on Route 6 – Peekskill
Not too keen on walking over the actual Bear Mountain 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. This spot looks over Bear Mountain, Doodletown, and the marshlands below, and it is a beautiful observation spot on a clear day.
The Walled Garden at Untermyer Gardens Conservancy. Photo courtesy of the garden
7. Untermyer Gardens – Yonkers
Take a walk through the woods of this sprawling urban oasis and enjoy the full spectrum of autumnal splendor. The view of the Palisades across the Hudson River is breathtaking. Furthermore, on a clear day, you can see both the George Washington and Mario Cuomo Bridges. While you take in the scenery, your kids will love climbing around the bridges and tunnels that make up the Temple of Love Rock and Stream Garden. There are benches for picnicking, and a guide for walking tours is available on their website.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Walkway Over the Hudson – Poughkeepsie, and Highland
The world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, the Walkway Over the Hudson, links Dutchess and Ulster counties. In addition, it is one of the best spots to view the autumnal splendor of the Hudson Valley. From the walkway, you can enjoy spectacular views of fall foliage on both shores of the Hudson River, as you traverse an elevated walkway suspended more than 200 feet over the river.
This was originally posted in 2014. Tom Stefanchik added additional reporting.