The cozy sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and colorful leaves that fall brings makes it just a little bit easier to welcome the transition to colder temperatures. Let’s face it- There’s no better way to experience fall foliage than a day drive or hike in Western New York. The autumn leaves aren’t wasting any time so neither should you! Here’s where you can experience peak fall colors at some of our favorite local spots in WNY by foot or car.
Pro tip: If you are looking for the perfect time to plan your fall foliage sight-seeing, check out this map from I Love NY for the latest predictions and peak viewing times.
New York’s largest state park, just a little over an hour from Buffalo, is filled with scenic hills, meadows, ponds and lakes surrounded by colorful forestry. Perfect for an afternoon hike, Sunday drive, or weekend camping trip, Allegany is home to 18 roads and trails where you can experience WNY fall in all of its glory.
The hiking trails at Artpark offer some incredible views (and photo ops) of the woodland area surrounding the amphitheater and leading to the Niagara River gorge. Witness some of WNY’s most vibrant changing leaves on an afternoon autumn stroll. Along the way, check out some “art in the park” installations!
Orchard Park, NY
Experience all of the fall colors at Chestnut Ridge Park, where you can get a panoramic view of trees on trees on trees. Hit the roadways or trails to take in the brisk autumn air and scenery. Invite your furry friends to tag along, too!
Niagara Falls, NY
If you’re looking for a challenge, this hike along the gorge down to the Devil’s Hole Rapids involves several stairs, but the views make it totally worth it- especially during the fall months. Catch the changing leaves, which beautifully complement Niagara River’s aqua blue water and sprinkle the stone staircase.
A drive through the quaint village of Ellicottville, just an hour from Buffalo, will have you catching all of the fall vibes this season. Ellicottville’s rolling hills and peaks give off some of the most vibrant reds, oranges and golds in the fall months. A full-immersion experience is completed on a ski lift or mountain coaster ride!
Head to the Erie Canal’s edge in Lockport this fall for a scenic walk or bike ride along the water, lined by a colorful forest of trees on both sides. We suggest starting in the city near the locks and then heading to the outskirts to take in all of the dramatically changing colors along the way.
East Aurora, NY
Knox Farm State Park, situated on a former estate in East Aurora, is home to plenty of countryside trails accompanied by pastures, picket fences, meandering pathways and acres of beautiful woodlands. During September and October, the woodlands unveil a new stunning landscape of reds, browns, and golds.
A fall guide would not be complete without a trip to Letchworth. The “Grand Canyon of the East” boasts some of WNY’s most breathtaking autumn scenery, featuring the Genesee River, its stunning waterfalls, and the surrounding forest. We promise you won’t be disappointed by Letchworth’s vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves that never fail to swarm each fall!
Boozy fall foliage experience? Count us in. Wander through Spring Lake Wineries vineyard and nature trails after sipping a glass of wine to see its gorgeous color-changing trees surrounding the property’s 8-acre lake.
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.