Autumn in NY: Fall Foliage in New York City

Central Park's Gapstow Bridge in autumn, NYC

Central Park’s Pond & Gapstow Bridge, decked out for the season Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Yes, you can experience the best NY fall foliage right here in New York City! With its crisp air and blue skies, autumn in NY is stunning, but it’s the trees—sporting leaves of spectacular red, orange, gold, and purple—that are the real draw. New York’s fall foliage display usually lasts two to three weeks in October/November. You can check out exactly what the fall foliage status is at moment with New York State’s Fall Foliage Report.

Want to experience New York’s dazzling fall colors? We’ve got you covered. Here are some the best places to savor the best of New York fall foliage!

Autumn in Fort Tryon Park, NYC

Brilliant colors burst from the ravines of Fort Tryon Park Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Manhattan:

The more than 20,000 trees in Central Park turn stunning shades of red, gold, orange and brown in autumn. For the best colors, head to the Pond (in the park’s southeast), the Pool (northwest), the wild North Woods, and the Literary Walk (a.k.a. “The Mall”), whose towering elm trees become a golden canopy. For a cheat sheet, the Central Park Conservancy has a map of best autumn viewing spots.

In northern Manhattan, along the banks of the Hudson River, are two parks that feature wild woodlands, valleys, ravines, and lots of colorful foliage. Washington Height’s Fort Tryon Park is home to the Cloisters while Inwood Hill Park, at the very top of the island, includes Manhattan’s only remaining native forest. In addition to their dramatic landscapes and dense woods, both parks offer sweeping views of the Hudson River and the pastoral New Jersey Palisades.

Brooklyn:

Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s great green heart, features several excellent settings to enjoy the fall colors. Some of the park’s most vibrant spots include the immense Long Meadow, the lake and Lullwater, Lookout Hill, and the Ravine, Brooklyn’s only remaining forest.  The park also hosts many autumnal special events.

Fort Greene Park is Brooklyn’s oldest major park and includes a variety of colorful trees, as well as wonderful views of surrounding autumnal colors from the hill topped by the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument.

Queens:

Alley Pond Parks native forests, ponds, and wetlands turn vivid colors every autumn. The park is a peaceful, bucolic environment in which to enjoy the colors of the season.

Central Park Autumn, NYC

Central Park’s wild North Woods Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Bronx:

According to the Urban Park Rangers, Pelham Bay Park features some of the best fall foliage in the city with its oak, hickory, and sweet–gum forest. Another highlight is the Kazimiroff Trail, which winds through rural Hunter Island.

Van Cortlandt Park, covering more than a thousand acres atop the ridges and valleys of the northwest Bronx, includes lots of forests and trails. A native forest surrounds the Putnam Trail, and the John Kieran Trail runs through an oak–hickory forest and scenic Van Cortlandt Lake. Muir Trail leads through the park’s native oak–hickory forest, which turns to vivid red and golden hues.

The New York Botanical Garden hosts Fall Forest Weekends with tours, canoe trips on the Bronx River, and lots of family fun in a colorful forest.

Staten Island: 

The Greenbelt offers 35 miles of walking trails running along the Serpentine Ridge and winding through one of the last pristine forests in the city. The Greenbelt also includes glacial ponds and a 16–acre lake, all decked out in colorful fall foliage.

Every autumn, the NYC Parks Department and Urban Park Rangers offer walks and events focused on the city’s spectacular fall foliage.

New Jersey Palisades in Autumn

Spectacular New Jersey Palisades, seen from Fort Tryon Park Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Do you have a favorite spot in NYC for enjoying the vibrant colors of autumn?  Share your tips in the comments below.

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