With September 2023 right around the corner, fall colors are already starting to make their annual appearance across the North Country in New York State. While peak leaf-peeping season varies by a week or two depending on the year, the beginning of September is a good time to start making plans for a fall hike to see the leaves in just a few weeks.
Although there is no place in the Adirondacks that is a bad spot to view the amazing autumnal displays of color, here are some of our favorite hikes for seeing the mountain foliage in all its glory!
Southern Adirondack Hikes
Potash Mountain, located in the Lake George Wild Forest, is a 2.7-mile roundtrip hike along a well-maintained trail. Because the summit is relatively well-covered in trees, the later into fall it is hiked, the better the views! No matter when in the season you go, you’re sure to be surrounded by gorgeous fall color throughout the hike!
Moxham Mountain can be found in Minerva, NY, within the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. This beautiful 5-mile roundtrip hike has stunning views along the way, with a stretch of trail that follows the ridgeline on the way to the summit.
For a bit more of a challenge, the Southern Tongue Range, which is part of the Lake Geroge 12ster Challenge, can be done as a roughly 14-mile loop. Covering Fifth Peak, French Point, and First Peak, this trail provides beautiful views of Lake George and the surrounding mountains nearby. Stop at numerous lookouts from which to take in the fall views throughout the hike.
Eastern Adirondack Hikes
Snow Mountain is a 3-mile roundtrip hike located right off Route 73 in Keene Valley, NY. This short but steep hike provides sweeping views of the nearby Lower Great Range, Giant Mountain Wilderness, and beyond! Enjoy lunch on the rock slabs at the summit while you take in the beautiful fall colors from this perfect vantage point.
Hurricane Mountain, in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness near Keene, has three different route options to the summit that range from 5.4 to 6.8 miles roundtrip. No matter which route you choose, the large, bald summit is complete with a fire tower from which to see all of the amazing colors on the landscape below.
Rocky Peak Ridge is the 20th tallest mountain in NY, with an elevation of 4,390 feet. This mountain, which is one of the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks, can be accessed from Route 73 via the Giant Mountain trail – however, for peak leaf-peeping, the longer, East Trail from Route 9 should be considered. With a distance of 13.4 miles and 4,700 feet of elevation gain, this hike is not for the faint of heart. However, the stunning fall views along the extensive ridgeline on this hike cannot be beat!
Western Adirondack Hikes
Moose River Lock & Dam is a 2-mile roundtrip loop along the Moose River. While no mountaintops will be summited with this hike, it is the site of an old dam, which offers wonderful views during the fall!
With two routes up Black Bear Mountain from the same trailhead in the Inlet/Old Forge region. To make this hike a lollipop-shaped loop, enjoy about 5 miles of beautiful hiking and several rocky lookouts.
Cat Mountain, in the Five Ponds Wilderness (not to be confused with Cat Mountain in Lake George) is a 10-mile roundtrip hike from the South Shore Road Trailhead. Hikers will be treated to views of Cranberry Lake and enjoy a trail that follows part of the popular Cranberry Lake 50 backpacking trail.
Northern Adirondack Hikes
Panther Mountain, near Tupper Lake, is a short but steep hike that offers amazing mountain views. Follow this 1.2-mile roundtrip hike to a partially-open summit for perfect leaf-peeping this fall.
St. Regis Mountain is a 6.6-mile roundtrip trail that has a restored fire tower to reward hikers at the summit. Take in the gorgeous fall views of the St. Regis Canoe Area below from this vantage point.
Jenkins Mountain is a 9-mile roundtrip hike that starts at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. The trail passes a few small ponds and has lovely views from the summit. Take some time to see the Interpretive Center and gift shop after your hike!
With so many options available, it may be hard to choose just one! Remember to bring good hiking shoes, the 10 Essentials, and a camera to take in all of the beautiful fall color around you throughout your hike. If you want to time your hike in these regions – or any region in NY – just right, check out the I Love NY Fall Foliage Report, which will start sharing their weekly-updated foliage report soon!
About the Author
By: Rachel Valerio
Exclusive for JulieCoRealty.com