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The 5 Best Routes To See The Leaves Change In New York State

NY Route 97 in Autumn
Eric Meier Collection

Autumn means cool, crisp air and the annual explosion of color on the landscapes of Upstate New York as the leaves change from verdant to vibrant with reds, oranges and yellows replacing the green of summer. Short drives within a few hours of Utica will yield some amazing panoramas of color thanks to Mother Nature. Here are my top 5 roads to drive to find the fall colors of leaves changing.

Current 2014 Fall Foliage Report


New York Route 421


Route 421 is a short 5-mile long highway in extreme southwestern St. Lawrence County in the Adirondack Park. It begins at Route 30 and dead ends at Horseshoe Lake, making it one of the most remote roads in the state highway system. Along the short 5 mile run you’ll see some picturesque scenery of Tupper Lake and its feeder streams.

Route 421 near Veterans' Mountain Camp
Route 421 near Veterans' Mountain Camp

western-most stop on the 95 mile commuter line to Hoboken.

The Delaware River from Route 97
The Delaware River from Route 97

New York Route 408

Mount Morris to Nunda

Route 408 runs parallel to Letchworth State Park in Livingston County south of Rochester. The park and its long gorge are more reminiscent of a scene in the western United States rather than New York as it’s called the Grand Canyon of the East.

Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park

High Peaks of the Adirondacks. At its western end at Route 30 the highway passes through the heavily wooded Franklin County town of Brighton before the woods break to unveil the tallest and most majestic of the Adirondacks in Essex County. Route 86 passes through the largest village in the park, Saranac Lake, as well as Lake Placid, well known for twice hosting the Winter Olympics.

Route 86 in Paul Smiths
Route 86 in Paul Smiths

New York Route 17

Binghamton to Woodbury

The portion of Route 17 south and east of Binghamton is known as the Quickway. The fall colors on this road provide a beautiful backdrop when traveling past the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers. Route 17 passes south of the Catskills before connecting to the New York State Thruway at Woodbury north of New York City.

Route 17 in Deposit
Route 17 in Deposit

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