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Family Friendly Leaf Peeping



Enjoy the regions beautiful fall foliage

Hudson Valley Leaf Peeping with Kids
Here in the Hudson Valley we are lucky to have so much beautiful fall foliage spread across our region. In just a few short months many of us will be mapping out day trips up the Taconic, down route 55, across New Paltz and through Montgomery to get the full Hudson Valley Fall experience. We asked around to local Hudson Valley Moms and compiled a list of favorite family friendly places for fall foliage sightings around the Valley.


The walkway over the Hudson River is a great place to spend an afternoon taking in the beauty of the Hudson from above. Take a walk across the bridge and the new elevator down to the park or Mid- Hudson Children's Museum to make a day out of it with the family.

Another Hudson Valley Parent favorite spot is Minnewaska State Park in Ulster County. Vistors can enjoy hiking, biking or simply just walking and taking in the views. The park features numerous beautiful waterfalls, 3 lakes, forest and many trails to explore.

If you are up for the trip, maybe with older kids in tow, take the hike which is a little over a mile up to the top of Mount Beacon, the views of the Valley below are breathtaking. Bring a picnic on a warmer fall day and enjoy the afternoon.

 A popular spot for families year round in Dutchess County, Bowdoin Park is a 301 acre park on the banks of the Hudson River. With spectacular views of the river, the brightly colored trees in the fall set a beauitful scene for a fall picnic, day at the award winning playground or just a family stroll along the river. The park also has spaces for recreational sports and pavilions to rent for events.

 Vanderbilt Mansion is another family favorite spot in Dutchess County for picnics and views and in the fall the mansion grounds come to life with beautiful colors. The mansion itself is open for tours only but the grounds are free and always open for some natural family fun. Plenty of space to let little ones run and gorgeous views of the rivers and trees!

As the season changes and the leaves turn, many families in the Hudson Valley region head to Clermont Estate in Columbia County to take in the true beauty of the season. Here you can enjoy the views from a short hike, leisurely walk, tour or a spot under a colorful tree on a picnic blanket. There is something for everyone at Clermont and a great place to check out the fall foliage this year.

From the zoo to the lake to the carousel, families love to take the trip to Bear Mountain in the fall. The beauty of the season can be enjoyed even before you arrive, the roads that lead to the state park are over flowing with fall colors and the bridge leads you to what seems like another time as you arrive at the beautiful Bear Mountain State Park. Here your family can enjoy the trailside museum and zoo, the old merry-go-round, a picnic by the lake, play fields, biking or a hike up the mountain. In late October, visitors can ice skate at the outdoor rink. There is so much for families to enjoy at Bear Mountain.

Discover all that Olana State Historic Site has to offer in the fall. The beautiful landscape offers rich colors and beauty of the Hudson Valley. Walk the carriage drives, the family farm and orchard, the lake, the meadow and forest. Learn about wildlife and nature as you experience a true Hudson Valley gem. Visitors can also enjoy guided house tours, picnics, history, culture and gorgeous views.

If you love the outdoors, you might want to take a short hike and enjoy the scene at Fahnestock State Park. The Beautiful mountains and colorful fall foliage that reflects off the lake is simply amazing. If you are a camping family, the park has more than 70 campsites for the overnight fall stay.

Another beautiful place for families to explore this season is Mills Mansion at Mills-Norrie State Park. The house is open for guided tours and the gift shop is rated top 10 of the Dutchess County. The grounds are history rich, beautiful for hiking, an afternoon stroll or picnic with family or friends.

We are lucky here in the Hudson Valley to have an expansive rail trail that runs throughout most of our communities connecting the greater Hudson Valley area with paths, walkways, bridges and bike paths. Families can take in the beauty of our area along paved paths strictly for pedestrians away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. All of the trails including information and maps can be found on the New York Rail Trail Website. Some of our favorite trails are the Dutchess Rail TrailMohonk PreserveWallkill Valley Rail TrailThe Heritage Trail and Catskill Scenic Trail.

Other favorites:
Catskill Scenic Trail
Orange Heritage Trail
Tribute Gardens
Locust Grove Estate
Mohonk Preserve
Storm King Art Center


Other articles by Pam Perry


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