6 Incredible Fall Foliage Hikes in the Adirondacks

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Adirondacks fall foliage valley scene Jay Mountain

Fall Foliage view from Jay Mountain in the Adirondacks

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These Adirondack fall foliage hikes range from easy to very challenging — but they all pack incredible fall punch!

Every fall, so many Adirondack scenic views blast into overdrive as the leaves switch from lush summer green to blood red, crimson, tangerine, yellow finch yellow, and shining gold.

Here are six amazing Adirondack fall foliage hikes, from peaks high and low, where you can catch the best Adirondack fall views.

When is the best time to visit Adirondacks for fall foliage?

October is the month. Although it’s different every year, the first two weeks of October are a solid bet for your planning. Fall Foliage peak tends to wind down after mid-month — though it’s still gorgeous after peak for a week or two, depending on weather and any storms (which knock the leaves from the trees).

So, yeah, it’s a 2-3 week window that starts at the very end of September.

It doesn’t last long so get there soon!

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What About The Catskills…

Missed the Adirondack Fall Foliage show? Because The Catskills are further south, the fall foliage change there is usually a few days to a week behind the Adirondacks. Come visit! We have plenty of amazing fall foliage hikes down here too!

Useful for you…

My Yearly Foliage Tracker › Where to See the Best Catskills Fall Foliage

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Easy Adirondack Fall Foliage Hike: Baxter Mountain

This is one of the most accessible hikes in the Adirondack Park. A great starter hike for the ADKs because it has multiple great views for not a ton of leg-work.

The total hike length is less than 3 miles with under 800’ elevation gain. Allow just two hours to get half-a-dozen amazing views like this…

Adirondack Fall Foliage
Adirondack Fall Foliage: Baxter Mtn

You don’t even have to go all the way to the summit to get the best views!

Adirondack Fall Foliage
Adirondack Fall Foliage: Baxter Mtn

Baxter Mountian also has three trailheads — so, even on busy days, there’s a good chance you’ll get parking.

Easy Fall Foliage Hike: Moxham Mountain

This is a gem of a hike on a gem of a mountain. A great example of how lower peaks can often be way more fun to hike than higher summits.

summit of moxham mountain in the distance, snowing
Scenic ledge looking at Moxham’s summit

Moxham provides a wonderfully rewarding, and very do-able, introduction to mountain hiking. The valley view from the summit is breathtaking.

hiker on moxham mountain
Moxham’s summit offers a sheer drop to the long valley below

I mean, not on the day I was there with friends! A storm rolled in right as we got to the summit. LOL. But, trust me, you’ll be delighted you went.

AllTrails categorizes this hike as moderate but, for an Adirondack hike, it’s definitely one of the easiest I’ve done to date.

Moderate Adirondack Fall Foliage Hike: Rooster Comb

This short steep hike ends spectacularly with a crazy good view of Giant Mountain and the Route 73 valley…

Best Adirondack Fall Foliage Hikes
Adirondack Fall Foliage Hike: Rooster Comb

…and then an even crazier view from a wide open rocky summit where you can take in Lower Wolf Jaw and Big Slide mountains too.

Best Adirondack Fall Foliage Hikes
Adirondack Fall Foliage Hike: Rooster Comb

This hike is 4.5 miles in total, and includes 1700 feet or so of elevation gain.

Moderate Fall Foliage Hike: Hadley Mountain

Just a delightful hike along a delightful trail — sometimes steep, but then you get such a rewarding payoff from the Hadley Mountain Fire Tower.

photo of fire tower at Hadley Mountain
Hadley Mountain Fire Tower

Hadley Mountain scenic view
Hadley Mountain Fire tower view

This hike is just over 3¼ miles and has about 1450 feet of elevation gain.

Challenging Adirondack Fall Foliage Hike: Jay Mountain Ridge

After a delightful hike through glowing fall forest, you’ll reach the first summit of Jay Mountain with its two lookouts. The first lookout looks southwest toward the High Peaks. The second lookout looks northeast into Lake Champlain, which is just an incredible view, looking along Jay Mountain Ridge toward the water…

Adirondack Fall Foliage Hikes
Adirondack Fall Foliage: Jay Mtn

However, make sure to hike beyond Jay Mountain’s first summit. Head toward the eastern, higher summit. (On maps, it’s labeled as Jay Benchmark.) The ridge walk between the two summits is absolutely incredible.

Adirondacks fall foliage valley scene Jay Mountain
Fall Foliage view from Jay Mountain in the Adirondacks

I don’t remember seeing any blazes along this section, so it may be only a herd path. It’s easy to follow but good backcountry navigation skills are recommended before stepping off any marked trail.

This hike is just under 9 miles and has about 2600 feet of elevation gain.

Challenging Fall Foliage Hike: Dix Range

Demanding and spectacular, this is one of the most rugged, scenic Adirondack hikes.

fall foliage elk lake adirondacks
Elk Lake seen from Dix Range

Elk Lake closeup
Elk Lake, seen from Dix Range

clear pond Dix Range hike
Clear Pond in the distance

20 miles / 5500 feet elevation gain / craggy, crumbly, difficult trail / insane views once you get up high. This is one of the greatest and grandest hikes in the Adirondack Park.

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