FROM COUNTRY ROADS TO STATE PARKS, SPENDING THE DAY LEAF-PEEPING IS THE PERFECT AUTUMN ACTIVITY THAT CAN BE ENJOYED BY EVERYONE.
Depending on your tastes, you may prefer some fall-favorite activities over others. You might love a good spooky scare or prefer watching the big football game every weekend. You could eagerly await picking that first fall apple every year or carving up the perfect pumpkin. However you envision your perfect fall, there’s one fall activity that everyone can enjoy: leaf-peeping.
Leaf-peeping — or the simple act of taking in the gorgeous fall foliage — can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Maybe you want to take a scenic drive that lasts all afternoon. Maybe you want to hike your way to an overlook. Maybe you prefer to take in the leaves as you ride your bike or walk the dog. Whatever your preference, Livingston County offers you plenty of options where fall foliage is awash with vibrant splashes of orange, gold, and crimson red.
Are you a traveler who’s always looking for that perfect pic to post to all your socials? Leaf-peeping provides near-endless perfect backdrops for every post, too, whether you’re on the hiking trail, exploring an apple orchard or pumpkin patch, or attending one of LivCo’s great fall festivals. Do note, however, that some days are better for leaf-peeping than others. Foliage changes each season according to altitude and weather (which means that some areas of LivCo might boast more vibrant colors than others). That being said, you can safely expect to enjoy full leaf-peeping season right around early to mid-October. How will you take in the spectacular scenery this fall?
Here's a round-up of some of our favorite fall destinations in Livingston County that will take your breath away.
Avon Five Arch BridgeBack to Top of List
Want to explore the area’s scenic and historic railway bridges? Head to the Avon Five Arch Bridge, which was built in the mid-19th century over the Conesus Lake Outlet. While a train hasn’t crossed this bridge in more than 70 years, you can still visit this beautiful example of masonry construction today. Be sure to snap plenty of photos of the bridge set against the surrounding fall foliage!
Conesus LakeBack to Top of List
There’s nothing quite like taking in the fall foliage from the water. Head out onto the westernmost Finger Lake, Conesus Lake, and see why this beautiful, eight-mile-long body of water is considered the jewel of Livingston County. Numerous providers along the lake offer boat rentals, from pontoons to paddleboards, so book your preferred craft and spend a day sightseeing on the lake.
Hemlock LakeBack to Top of List
Another of New York’s eleven Finger Lakes, Hemlock Lake is known as the least developed of them all. Thanks to this, as well as the boat size and horsepower limitations, Hemlock Lake serves up a placid, tranquil environment where you can either hike along the lakefront or take to the waters for bountiful views of unspoiled shorelines.
Erie-Attica TrailBack to Top of List
The Erie-Attica Trail offers scenic views with a side of history. Named for the area’s railroads, the trail still contains the original truss bridge that crosses the Genesee River for 220 feet. The trail starts in Avon and connects with the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park after approximately a mile.
Nations RoadBack to Top of List
Prefer to leaf peep from the comfort of your car? Take a scenic drive through the Genesee River Valley when you travel Nations Road, located off Route 39 in Geneseo. The Nations Road scenic loop is just five miles long, so it’s a quick and easy addition to your itinerary; however, despite the loop’s small size, it offers big views, thanks to the historic, 250-year-old white oak trees that line the landscape.
Ossian State ForestBack to Top of List
While many travelers appreciate Letchworth State Park’s many amenities, if you’d rather explore an outdoor adventure hub where you can truly get lost in nature, try the 1,303-acre Ossian State Forest. This minimally developed state forest offers primitive camping, paddling and fishing. If you visit this pet-friendly park, be aware of hunting seasons and differing regulations between neighboring forestlands and wildlife areas.
Harriet Hollister Spencer Recreation AreaBack to Top of List
Located six miles south of Honeoye Lake, Harriet Hollister Spencer Recreation Area offers panoramic views of the countryside along hiking and biking trails. The area was created after 680 acres of land were given to New York State from the estate of Harriet Hollister Spencer, a horticulturist, rose expert, and civic leader, after her death in 1962.
Stony Brook State ParkBack to Top of List
For an afternoon spent hiking among gorge, waterfall and woodland views, visit Stony Brook State Park. There are three hiking trails to pick from, all of which are about a mile long and all of which include stone stairs. Each allows you to view the park’s multiple waterfalls and rock formations, as well as foliage, from different vantage points, so, if you consider yourself an accomplished hiker, you may want to try all three trails in one day. A small entrance fee is required at this state park and guests may bring along a maximum of two dogs.
Letchworth State ParkBack to Top of List
Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park is a favorite scenic spot in LivCo throughout the entire year, but the fall months are truly special here. Explore the many trails and take in the fall colors contrasted against the rugged gorges and cascading waterfalls. Families will want to stop by the Humphrey Nature Center during their visit. The center offers educational and interactive exhibits highlighting the park’s plant life, animals, geology and ecology. Do note that there is a minimal per-car entrance fee at this dog-friendly park.