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Fall at the Falls: Where to Go Leaf-Peeping

This fall, take advantage of the natural beauty of Niagara Falls USA and the surrounding region when the trees put on their best show.

What could be a more delightful autumn activity than leaf peeping and taking in the fall colors? Try it in one of the most beautiful natural regions in New York, and you have something very special. Whether you like taking in your leaves from the passenger seat of a car or delving deep into nature on a scenic hike, there’s plenty of ways for you to take in the golden yellows, rusty reds and burnt oranges of the fall foliage in the Niagara Falls, New York area. Make sure to bring your camera, your binoculars, your hiking trail map and a passion for the beauty of autumn to immerse yourself in the season’s colors.

Goat Island

Once you’re in Niagara Falls USA, head for Goat Island where you’ll find not only spectacular views across the American and Bridal Veil Falls, but also be able to see all the changing leaves of Niagara Falls State Park. The island itself is quite wooded, so make sure to explore thoroughly on the footpaths, including the path to Three Sisters Islands. For an elevated perspective, stop for a meal at the Top of the Falls Restaurant (operates May through the end of September) on Goat Island with its bird’s eye views of Horseshoe Falls.

Niagara Falls State Park

From there you can explore more of Niagara Falls State Park, which is the nation’s oldest state park. Start your hike at the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Building, where you can choose from easier trails like the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike or go for an advanced hike with the daring Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike. You’ll see a wide variety of the species of trees that grow in the area, with the fall colors deepening earlier than downstate New York. If you are planning to visit the park for leaf peeping, keep in mind that it does hit peak color two to three weeks later than the surrounding areas in mid to late October due its particular microclimate and the warm waters flowing out of Lake Erie.


You can also start your exploration of the Niagara Gorge at Artpark in Lewiston. A unique blend of performing arts space and park, you can decide if you’d rather spend your time in Artpark staring up at the canopy of leaves while taking in a concert or hiking one of the trails for a quieter moment with nature.

Whirlpool State Park

Drop into the Dimino Lewiston Tops on the way out of town to pick up everything you need for a relaxing picnic lunch. On your drive back from Lewiston to Niagara Falls, stop at Whirlpool State Park overlooking the Whirlpool and rapids. Noted equally for its birding and fishing spots and scenic outlooks, you can happily pass an afternoon admiring the changing leaves and picturesque views.

Niagara Scenic Parkway & Lake Ontario

From Niagara Falls, head towards Lewiston via the Niagara Scenic Parkway to 18F. As you drive toward Olcott, get ready for a spectacular left-hand view as you cruise along the edge of Lake Ontario the whole way. You’ll be able to see leaves across the lake for a trans-continental experience! Once you are in Olcott, make sure to walk around the marina for an even closer look across the lake, or stop into one of the town’s well-known wineries for a glass of local Riesling or ice wine.