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Enjoy Upstate New York’s Fall Foliage by Boat, Train, or Car

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2023-09-15 10:04:00

With the leaves changing, fall is the perfect time to get out and explore the tons of trails that Upstate New York has to offer. Whether you’re looking to stay close to home or make an excursion to another part of the state, here are some excellent options for taking in the views by car, boat or train.

Boats tours and train rides are popular in the summer, but a fall excursion offers something unique: the chance to soak in the season’s best show from a one-of-a-kind vantage point. Several of Upstate New York’s boat tour companies either offer specialty fall foliage cruises, which often include food and entertainment, or continue to run their regular schedules during part of the fall.

In Central New York and Western New York, you can take a tour on the Erie Canal aboard the Colonial Belle in Fairport or Erie Canal Cruises in Herkimer. In the Finger Lakes, you can climb aboard a sightseeing cruise with MidLakes Navigation to take in the changing colors along the shores of Skaneateles Lake. Meanwhile, in the Adirondacks, you can watch the colors change
along Lake George on several cruises with the Lake George Steamboat Company, and in the Thousand Islands, Uncle Sam Boat Tours will continue running its cruises on the St. Lawrence River throughout October, allowing plenty of time to take in the foliage before the season ends.

Upstate New York’s scenic railroads are in on the action as well, with special fall-themed train tours offered at the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, the Catskill Mountain Railroad, Central New York’s Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, and Western New York’s Arcade and Attica Railroad and Medina Railroad Museum. Most offer fall foliage tours, and many have other special fall-themed rides as well, like harvest and pumpkin tours, Halloween costume parties and haunted rides, and more.

If you’d rather hit the road on your own schedule, you’re in luck, because Upstate New York is home to several scenic byways that run through wooded or countryside settings, all the better to take in the views from. The Adirondacks are home to three scenic byways. Running north to south, the Adirondack Trail begins just ten miles south of the Canadian border in the town of Malone and continues on until it meets up with the Erie Canal in Fonda, passing through Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, Tupper Lake and Speculator.

Meanwhile, moving in a curved pattern through the center of the park, from Glens Falls in the east to Rome in the west, is the Central Adirondack Trail, which passes through the popular towns of Old Forge and Inlet. The High Peaks byway winds through beautiful mountain passages connecting interstate 87 with the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. And the famously named Olympic Byway runs from Keeseville, just off the shores of Lake Champlain, along the Ausable River across the northernmost part of the park past iconic Lake Placid, home of the Miracle on Ice and the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, before joining up with the Great Lakes-Seaway Trail in Watertown, just inland from Lake Ontario.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is probably New York State’s best-known byway. It’s one of the largest and longest in the Northeast, running 518 miles along the shoes of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, from Massena, NY to Northeast, Pennsylvania. The Seaway Trail offers access to the recreation, history and entertainment of the Thousand Islands region, as well as major cities and towns like Buffalo, Rochester, and Oswego, and landmarks like Niagara Falls. Its route through some of the state’s richest farmland offers plenty of opportunities to stop and savor the flavors of fall at farms, orchards and pumpkin patches, too.

Whether you’d rather board a boat tour, take a train, or go exploring along the byways and back roads on your own schedule, don’t miss the opportunity to get a unique view of Upstate New York’s stunning foliage this fall.


Fall foliage cruise on Lake George photo credit Lake George Steamboat Company
Boat passing castle photo credit Uncle Sam Boat Tours
Fall train track photo credit Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Adirondack fall road photo credit Visit Adirondacks
Fall drive photo credit Great Lakes Seaway Trail

posted at: 2023-09-15 10:04:00, last updated: 2023-12-02 19:16:14

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