Autumn Color at Niagara Falls but Where is the Color Best in New York State?


You need to see Niagara Falls this Autumn. Wow! Put on those dark glasses, the color is blinding.

It was an overcast day, yet the sun did peek through the clouds to give a warm golden glow to Niagara Falls State Parks. Shadows were soft and the color vibrated. I only had my P510 along since I was not expecting to see such color in the trees.


You might live near a place where leaf peeping tourism helps stimulate the local economy. I never really viewed Niagara Falls as that type of place, but this year is a different story. See the peepers?


I was not even sure after coming back from Pennsylvania where Autumn leaves draw visitors from around the country, that with our horrendous drought this spring and summer we would even have an autumn show. Look at the garden below at Whirlpool Park’s visitors center. That is some color. My own garden is glowing and still has many flowers.


I guess I was wrong about us not getting a Fall show because these leaves turned almost overnight. I was talking to another photographer (shown with his camera and tripod above) and he said the same thing, they weren’t like this yesterday.


While traveling around Europe the last three years, I did notice that they seem to have fewer deciduous species of trees than do we in the US. I have been to Europe at this time of year in 2014 and 2015, and never have seen colors as bright or vibrant.


Global warming does have an effect on our trees in the Northern hemisphere in that “rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere delay the usual autumn spectacle of changing colors and falling leaves in northern hardwood forests, and increase forest productivity.” (source)

We are lucky up here in the North Eastern US because we have the best states to go leaf-peeping with the most brightly colored autumn leaf changes. Western NY has better places to visit like The Lake Erie Wine Trail, but just having returned from there, I can’t say it compares with what we have here this year. Also the Finger Lakes area and Letchworth are a popular spot. See where I was in western NY and PA on Nature and Wildlife Pics. You might pick up some photography tips.


Many go on up to Canada, shown above, but as you see in this post, we are the same as across the bridge.


Drive through upstate NY, the fall foliage paints the landscape with vibrant yellows, oranges and reds, creating picturesque settings throughout the region. With colorful mountains stretching for miles Upstate, there are plenty of places to experience fall foliage in New York.


The Adirondacks are spectacular. It has 6 million square miles, over 3000 lakes with one of my favorite, Lake George. My husband worked here for months.  The Adirondacks have miles and miles of rivers and streams with viewing spots atop mountains where one can see for miles. It is an impressive show in the Adirondacks for sure.


Of course, NY has the Catskills where one can visit the five state lookout and see into New Hampshire, Vermont, NY, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. I lived up in New England for a time and this is a spectacular viewing place since all those states get great color too.


While we get nice Autumn color, we don’t have the mountains and lakes of other parts of New York.

Here is a link that might help you decide where to go in New York for leaf-peeping.

They also list Central and Western New York. I have always wanted to take that balloon ride at Letchworth in Western New York. I can bet that would be quite exhilarating.


In the next post, we are still looking at Autumn color, but with my D750 and a macro lens. We are also looking at fall leaves in a different way. Then the following post I use a wide-angle lens on the D750. What do you think changes?

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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25 Responses to Autumn Color at Niagara Falls but Where is the Color Best in New York State?

  1. arlene says:

    What amazing Fall colors, Love them all. thanks for sharing Donna 🙂

  2. We are just starting the foliage change here in Georgia. We are very, very dry so we’ve had some leaf fall because of drought stress. I’m hopefully that we will have some brilliant color displays in the mountains in a few weeks. Thanks for wetting my appetite. I love fall!

    • We were in extreme drought so I too thought we would not have color this year, leaves dropping before turning. That happened in some areas in PA. Brown then hit the ground. Same here, higher elevations are where we see the most color. The heavily canopied gorge is an example. I too love Fall, even in the garden the golden colors of foliage mixed with colorful flowers like the self-seeding annuals, colorful shrubs still in flower like Caryopteris and Perovskia, perennials like asters and coneflower.

  3. swo8 says:

    Hi Donna, the colours are indeed out there. We’ve had some but not the most vibrant display yet. I hear that it is quite lovely further north.

    • It is better further north I believe from what others have told me. My own trees are losing golden leaves already. I suspect the Park trees in this post are shedding too. Our weather is very warm and yesterday we had high winds. At least in the Gorge, so many trees tightly together helps keep the leaves longer.

  4. Sue Link says:

    Hi Donna, I wasn’t sure we were going to get much color either with our summer drought. At first we had some dull red color in the leaves, but then (like you said) it just exploded overnight it seemed. I think the leaves peaked at least a week later than usual, too, and that might have something to do with our late spring.
    Loved your photos, and the Niagara Falls State Parks look beautiful in the Autumn Glory!

  5. Kevin says:

    Simply majestic. I do miss the color display at this time of year, especially since south Florida fall isn’t too different from south Florida summer. Thanks for sharing.

  6. karen says:

    Such glorious colours. We have a garden surrounded by mature beech trees which are turning golden now. All the windows in the house are glowing at the moment. Such a lovely light- even though it only lasts a few weeks. I also work as a garden designer- in the Midlands , U.K. The very best job in the world!

  7. aussiebirder says:

    Beautiful Donna, I love the Autumn hues of the changing season in your country.

    • Thank you Ashley. Your season is opposite and that makes life so interesting. I have never been on the other side of the equator for season change. You could almost travel the world and always be back and forth in a favorite season.

  8. When he lived most of our lives in Albany, and spent many seasons hiking in the Adirondacks. I confess your beautiful post makes me rather miss the foliage season now that I’m in Florida. I love the way you captured snippets of bright colors in the clothing of the people strolling past these brilliant fall backgrounds.

    • The Adirondacks are beautiful. I grew up near the Pocono Mountains, yet hiked and rode my horse on the Appalachian Trail. Another reader, Kevin, is in Florida now, transplanted from NYC. I mentioned the nice weather you have all year. And you can wear summer clothes, much more colorful than our winter usual wear. I was a skier, so I do have a bright blue North Face jacket. Most of my cold-weather coats are black or white though. Yes, those in red really blend in well.

  9. That is some color show! Stunning! Wisconsin and Michigan are great destinations for fall color, too. We’re just hitting peak color here. I think some other recent years have been more stunning than this year, for various reasons. But anywhere in the Upper Midwest is a very good bet for fall color, too. Happy leaf peeping! 🙂

  10. Great shots! I wasn’t sure if we would get nice color this fall, but it sure is pretty.

  11. A.M.B. says:

    Based on these pictures, I can see why Niagara Falls would attract ” leaf peepers”! What a beautiful area.

  12. debsgarden says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous! We are not getting fall color this year because of our drought, so I truly appreciate your photos. They fulfill a need.

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