To fully enjoy the sights and smells that autumn in New York has to offer, try walking or biking along a multi-use trail. Take your time as you stroll or pedal your way through a canopy of bright fall foliage, breathing in the fresh air, and drawing in the scenery around you.
Multi-use trails such as rail and canal trails, greenways and bikeways are family friendly places to walk, run, or bike. Many are along historic railways or canal corridors and are mostly flat. Many of the trails are also located near scenic rivers and streams. One thing they have in common, however, is that they all offer a view of the beautiful foliage during the fall months.
Parks & Trails New York has put together a list of Ten Terrific Trails we recommend for fall.
To find a trail near you, use TrailFinder, Parks & Trails New York’s online guide to multi-use trails across New York State at www.ptny.org/trailfinder. TrailFinder can be used to search for trails in several ways—by trail name, by trail attributes such as length, surface, allowable uses, distance from a particular location, or by browsing the interactive map.
Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. Find out more about Parks & Trails New York by visiting www.ptny.org and our Facebook and Twitter sites.
Erie Canalway Trail – Between Albany and Buffalo more than 270 miles of Erie Canalway Trail provide the opportunity to experience quaint towns and a bounty of fall color along the state’s historic New York State Canal System. The longest continuous stretch of trail begins in Lockport, about 10 miles east of Buffalo, and continues 100 miles to Lyons along the Erie Canal in western New York. Other long stretches can be found in the 36-mile Old Erie Canal State Park between Dewitt and Rome in central New York and the more than 40 miles of trail between Little Falls and Amsterdam in eastern New York. When completed, the Erie Canalway Trail will provide 365 miles of multi-use trails along the canal, making it the longest intra-state trail in the country.
Genesee Valley Greenway - In western New York, the Genesee Valley Greenway’s well-known “tunnel of green” turns to red and yellow as more than 60 miles of trail follows the Genesee River and the abandoned Genesee Valley Canal through woodlands, farmlands, and historic villages from Rochester to near the Pennsylvania border. Within Letchworth State Park, the Genesee Valley Greenway affords sweeping views of the famous gorge and waterfalls of the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Catharine Valley Trail – The hillsides resplendent with autumn color above Seneca Lake are a perfect backdrop to begin a visit to the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen. The 10-mile trail follows abandoned railroad and canal towpath corridors through the 900-acre Queen Catharine Marsh, historic villages, and a heavily wooded, glacially carved valley Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes.
Pat McGee Trail – In the western Southern Tier, the relatively rural 12-mile Pat McGee Trail offers the opportunity to experience the colors of fall while passing through woods, wetlands, and open fields filled with rich a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife.
Cato-Fairhaven Trail – Ponds, wetlands, and old farm buildings add to the rural and agricultural charm of the 14-mile Cato-Fairhaven Trail. Dense stands of sumac, beech, maple, and aspen trees provide plenty of fall color along this corridor near the shores of Lake Ontario in Central New York.
TOBIE Trail – What better place to experience autumn color than in the Adirondacks. There are plenty of opportunities to be surrounded by the best of fall foliage from this 12-mile trail that connects the five mountain communities that give the trail its name – Thendara, Old Forge, Big Moose, Inlet, and Eagle Bay.
Catskill Scenic Trail – The Catskill Scenic Trail follows the route of the former Ulster and Delaware railroad. Young and old will find this an easy and enjoyable route through the foothills of the Catskills. The trail parallels the West Branch of the Delaware River for the entire route and offers many delightful fishing spots.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park: Drink in breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley fully decked out in autumn color from more than 200 feet above the middle of the river on the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The Walkway is the center piece of a 3.6-mile loop that links riverside parks, cultural attractions and historic points of interest on both the Poughkeepsie and Highland waterfronts.
North County Trailway – Following the bed of the former Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad, this paved trail winds more than 22 miles through the woodlands, parks, and suburbs of Westchester County. Historic rail stations and a beautiful bridge across the New Croton Reservoir add to the appeal of the route.
Bethpage Bikeway – The 6.5–mile Bethpage Bikeway links Long Island’s Bethpage State Park with the South Shore at Massapequa. From the Park, the trail passes through a mature forest cover along the Bethpage State Parkway before entering the mixed evergreens and deciduous forests of the Massapequa County Park and Preserve. The park’s ponds, wetlands, and Massapequa Lake and Creek can all be experienced from the trail.