Top Spots for Fall Foliage

alexander1

Chestnut Ridge County Park photo by Amy Alexander.

This time of year, Western New York is abundant with trees practically dripping yellow, orange and red. Buffalo and its surrounding areas provide perfect autumn backdrops for any memories made over the next few weeks. Here are a handful of spots to explore:

Southtowns

Chestnut Ridge County Park is the perfect place for fall foliage views if you’re considering a trip south of Buffalo. Only about a half hour from downtown Buffalo, this park is the epitome of fall in Western New York. Whether you’re hiking to the Eternal Flame or biking or walking the many other trails, you’ll be surrounded by woods alive with color. Or take in the bird’s eye view of downtown Buffalo, Ralph Wilson Stadium and the foliage from the top of the hill outside of the park’s lodge. Another bucolic setting for fall foliage is  Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, complete with the Knox family’s former barn set in the middle of rolling, tree-lined pastures.

North of Buffalo

Niagara Gorge Autumn

The drive north from Niagara Falls to Lewiston offers stunning fall views of the Niagara Gorge, particularly at Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks.

Whether you’re exploring Niagara Falls, Lewiston or both, know that going north will also help you fulfill your fall foliage viewing desires. If you want a little mist with your leaves, Niagara Falls State Park is the way to go. Go right up on the observation deck and do a 360 – it’s hard to think of anywhere else that offers such a perfect autumn view of the falls and the Niagara Gorge.

The drive north from the falls on Robert Moses State Parkway to Lewiston offers stunning views of the Niagara Gorge. Once in Lewiston, hit up one of the cafes on Center Street before walking over to Artpark for  its scenic trails. Opt for the Woods Trail to stumble upon sculptures and take in as many trees as possible.

Buffalo

Buffalo is surprising in the best of ways, including the fact that it houses a 264-acre nature preserve. Tifft Nature Preserve provides an escape from reality, and views of colorful leaves at every turn. Explore solo or learn a little about the park with weekly guided treks and “Wellness Walks.”

dyche

Photo of Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park by Fran Dyche.

And before it gets too cold, do yourself a favor and go for a walk (or run) around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. The trees bordering the paths provide some of the best fall views Buffalo has to offer, and the historic Marcy Casino that sits upon the lake looks mores stunning than ever with a backdrop of fall leaves. Another advantage of getting your fall foliage fix at Hoyt Lake is its close proximity to the Elmwood Village. Nearby Forest Lawn Cemetery is also beautiful, with stately old trees dotting its gradually sloping terrain and surrounding Scajaquada Creek.

En Route

Just taking a drive down some local highways will give you some of the best views of vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and greens. Whether you’re cruising south of Buffalo down Route 219 toward Springville, 240 toward Colden or Route 5, make sure to cast an appreciative gaze out over the hills (or, in the case of Route 5, the Lake Erie coastline). And pull over every now and then for some photo ops.