Top 9 Leaf Changing Experiences

For spectacular views of colorful leaves and fall foliage, New York's Finger Lakes are the place to be! Here are nine suggestions on things to do and places to see when you're looking to take in stunning views. These experiences will have you coming back year after year. 

#1. Whisk to the top of a mountain (or zip down!)

Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides, Canandaigua, South Bristol

A family waves while on a chairlift skyride at Bristol MountainRide the Comet Express chairlift to the summit of Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. A tranquil 15-20 minute ride to the summit provides breathtaking views of the Bristol Hills and the valley below. This family-friendly event is a unique opportunity for people of all ages to view Mother Nature at her best. On a clear day, a glimpse of Canandaigua Lake is visible from the summit. 

The truly adventurous can reserve a space on one of Bristol Mountains Zip Line Canopy Tours for some high-adrenaline leaf viewing!

#2. Mother Nature's place to learn

Cumming Nature Center, Naples and South Bristol

Tall pines line a trail through the woods at the Cumming Nature CenterSee the changing leaves all around you at the Cumming Nature Center. Walk the six miles of gentle hiking trails through woods and wetlands and learn along the way as you explore educational trails about the birds and other animals of the area, the different wildlife habitats, Native Americans, and conservation.

#3. Cruise your way through fall colors

The Canandaigua Lady embarks on a voyage on Canandaigua LakeAutumn is a sight to behold on Canandaigua Lake. A perfect way to see the foliage is on a fall sunset dinner cruise aboard the Canandaigua Lady. The 19th century replica paddlewheel boat is a proud successor to locally famous steamboats that operated on the Finger Lakes between 1820 and 1930. You’ll see the leaves changing colors in every direction you look!

#4. Lakes, leaves and lots of fresh air

Hemlock - Canadice forest overlooks Canadice LakeIf you’re looking to see the Finger Lakes as natural as they get, there is no better place than Hemlock-Canadice Lakes State Forest, especially in the light of fall colors. The area surrounding Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake is protected as “forever wild" meaning no further development is allowed and no motorboats are permitted on these waters. With steep forested hillsides guarding the clear water, the state forest offers a glimpse of the past when the Finger Lakes Region was truly wild. This is also an excellent spot for geocaching and hiking.

#5. Celebrate Native American heritage

A statue of a Native American found at GanondaganGanondagan is the site of a once thriving Seneca village, part of the Haudenosaune (Iroquois) Confederacy. Today, the land is preserved and it is the only official Native American Historic Site in New York State. Enjoy the fall colors while walking along Ganondagan's self-guided trails. Afterwards, visit the replica 17th-century Seneca Bark Longhouse and the Seneca Art & Culture Center.

#6. See the Rochester Skyline and Honeoye Lake

Harriet Hollister state park offers a view of Honeoye lake like no otherFrom a hilltop in this recreation area near Honeoye, there’s a view that goes on for miles. In the distance you have hills, forests, a lake and plenty of blue sky to captivate the lens during the fall! There are also a number of trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as plenty of space for a picnic! 

#7. Experience Finger Lakes Wine Country

A Drive on Route 14, Seneca Lake

the sun sets on Seneca Lake during a clear skied afternoonRoute 14 runs the entire length of Seneca Lake, connecting Geneva and Watkins Glen. In between these two communities is more than 30 miles of colorful fall landscapes and scenic views. Route 14 is also a great way to experience Finger Lakes wines, as much of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail traverses this road. Make sure to stop at Belhurst, Billsboro, White Springs, Fox Run and Anthony Road, to name just a few of the many wineries along this route.

#8. Voted best view of Canandaigua Lake

Carolabarb Park, Naples/South Bristol

Canandaigua lake as seen from the County Road 12 Scenic overlookJust north of Naples, this stunning view of Canandaigua Lake and its surrounding hills has been the backdrop for many photographers. Locals and visitors find the location irresistible! The Overlook has picnic tables as well, making it the perfect place for a romantic autumn picnic.

#9.  Feel like you are on top of the world

Ontario County Park, Naples, South Bristol

View of Ontario County Parks' "Jump Off", a scenic overlook with views of the surrounding landscape and homes in the distance.Ontario County Park, located on Gannett Hill, has over 400 acres of open space and woods. This park has some of the best views in Ontario County and the Finger Lakes Region. Follow the Bristol Hills Trail from the West Look Parking Area and you will arrive at the “Jump Off,”, pictured above. It’s a “Must do” while at the park.