Best Leaf Peeping Drives Through The Adirondacks In Fall 


As autumn sets in, nature transforms the Adirondacks into a breathtaking canvas of vibrant hues. The Adirondack Mountains, known for their picturesque landscapes, offer some of the most stunning leaf-peeping drives during fall. Let’s explore the best routes to witness nature’s annual masterpiece. 

The Enchanting Route 73 Experience 

Begin your leaf-peeping adventure on Route 73, a scenic drive that winds through the heart of the Adirondacks. As you traverse this route, the kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold leaves creates a mesmerizing spectacle. Stop at Chapel Pond for a reflective moment surrounded by nature’s brilliance. 

The Serenity of Route 86 

For a more tranquil experience, take a detour onto Route 86. This less-traveled road offers an intimate connection with nature, with its quiet stretches and hidden gems. Don’t miss the chance to pause at Lake Clear, where the reflection of fall foliage on the pristine waters is nothing short of magical. 

Exploring the High Peaks Scenic Byway 

Venture into the heart of the High Peaks Scenic Byway for an immersive leaf-peeping experience. As you navigate the twists and turns, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of towering mountains adorned in fall colors. Make a pit stop at Cascade Lakes for a postcard-perfect scene of mirrored reflections. 

The Charm of Route 9N 

Discover the charm of Route 9N, a road that meanders through charming Adirondack towns. This route not only offers stunning views of foliage but also allows you to explore quaint villages, each with its unique character. Grab a warm cup of apple cider at one of the local cafes and soak in the autumn ambiance. 

The Unforgettable Blue Ridge Road 

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, embark on the Blue Ridge Road journey. This scenic route takes you through dense forests and alongside pristine lakes, providing a tranquil setting for leaf-peeping enthusiasts. The crisp fall air and the scent of pine create an unforgettable atmosphere. 

Hidden Gems Along the Trails 

As you traverse the Adirondack trails adorned in fall splendor, keep an eye out for the hidden gems that add an extra layer of enchantment to your leaf-peeping experience. Along Route 73, discover the trailheads leading to secluded waterfalls, where the juxtaposition of cascading water against the vibrant foliage creates a sensory feast. Venture off the beaten path on Route 86, and you might stumble upon charming roadside stands offering freshly picked apples and handmade crafts—a perfect opportunity to savor local flavors and take home a piece of Adirondack craftsmanship.  

High Peaks Scenic Byway beckons with its hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, providing a closer encounter with the fiery hues of fall. Route 9N surprises with historical landmarks nestled amidst the changing leaves, inviting you to step back in time and uncover the Adirondacks’ rich heritage. The Blue Ridge Road, less explored but equally captivating, reveals pristine picnic spots where you can relish a packed lunch surrounded by the symphony of rustling leaves. Embrace the spontaneity of the journey, and you’ll unveil these hidden treasures that transform a leaf-peeping drive into a truly immersive adventure.  

Tips for an Unforgettable Leaf-Peeping Adventure 

Embarking on a leaf-peeping journey through the Adirondacks requires a blend of preparation and spontaneity to make the most of this seasonal spectacle. Firstly, time your trip to coincide with the peak of fall foliage, usually in late September to early October. Plan your route in advance, considering the unique features of each road and the attractions along the way. Pack a picnic basket with local treats for impromptu stops at scenic viewpoints or charming villages. Bring layers, as the weather can be unpredictable, and a cozy sweater or blanket adds comfort during roadside breaks. Ensure your camera or smartphone is fully charged to capture the vibrant landscapes. Embrace the slower pace of the journey—allow yourself the luxury of spontaneous detours and leisurely walks to fully absorb the autumn ambiance. Engage with locals along the route, as they often have valuable insights into hidden gems and lesser-known spots. By combining thoughtful preparation with a willingness to go off the beaten path, you’ll transform your leaf-peeping adventure into an unforgettable Adirondack experience, filled with the beauty of fall foliage and the warmth of spontaneous discoveries. 


The Adirondacks offer a kaleidoscope of colors during the fall season, and embarking on a leaf-peeping drive is the perfect way to immerse yourself in this natural spectacle. Whether you choose the enchanting Route 73, the serene Route 86, the majestic High Peaks Scenic Byway, the charming Route 9N, or the unforgettable Blue Ridge Road, each route promises a unique and unforgettable journey through nature’s autumn masterpiece. Pack your camera, roll down the windows, and let the Adirondacks unfold their fall magic before your eyes. 

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