Top 5 New York Fall Foliage Scenic Routes Near Friends Lake

Autumn in the Northeast is always a beautiful sight as the leaves shift from bright green to rich autumn hues, but few locales can match the Adirondacks’ display of trees crowned with brilliant shades of crimson, saffron, and vermillion against a clear blue sky.

With this autumn’s forecast of sunny, warm days and cool nights, the weather conditions are ideal for an especially stunning turn of the leaves. There’s a scenic route through the foliage for all our Adirondack hotel guests, from romantic relaxation to challenging thrills.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Friends Lake’s Gondola Ride at Gore Mountain

A gondola ride up Gore Mountain is one of the most peaceful and relaxing ways to experience an incredible show of fall colors. As riders gently ascend over the mountain, they take in an unparalleled view (rivaled only by item number five on this list) of trails snaking through the trees.

Gore Mountain’s summit is a perfect spot to stretch out, breathe in the crisp air, and even have a romantic picnic. And don’t forget to snap photos of the famed High Peaks and southern Adirondacks rising majestically in the distance. A trip to Gore Mountain can take a few short hours out of an otherwise busy afternoon, or an entire leisurely day—it’s all up to the memories you want to create.

Make your trip a romantic getaway weekend! We have a special New York fall foliage package that includes a night’s stay complete with the best meals, spa treatment and tickets for the Gondola Ride.

See our Adirondack Fall Foliage Package

2. Prospect Mountain A drive to Prospect Mountain combines two of the Adirondacks’ greatest attractions: their beauty, and their history. As hiking trails go, Prospect Mountain’s is short (only three miles) and the summit is easy to access, so take your time to admire the vivid contrast of autumnal foliage with lush evergreens, and the tranquil sight of Lake George. If you arrive early enough in the season, you might hear the peaceful songs of birds before they migrate south for the winter. On your way to the summit, you can take a trail that leads to the historic ruins of the once-booming Prospect Mountain hotel and the tracks of the cable railway that led guests to it, making Prospect Mountain ideal for visitors who want to escape into a brief glimpse of the past.

Visit: Prospect Mountain  

3. Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course For a more unconventional scenic route, don’t stroll—run, jump, and climb through Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course’s adult-sized jungle gym of ropes, swings, and zip lines, in an adventure attraction that is as invigorating as is it challenging. The five-part course starts out with a few easily overcome obstacles, and progresses gradually to tougher climbs and challenges. See our Adirondack Adventure Course Package.

But you might not even notice the exertion if you take a moment to wonder at the sunlit forest canopy above or enjoy the stillness of the forest floor. The Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course is perfect for anyone wanting to shake off the workaday routine with some carefree excitement in the heart of rural upstate New York. And when you’re done experiencing all the excitement, come back to Friends Lake and enjoy one or more of our 1,500 brands of wine in our wine cellar.

Visit: Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course

4. Ellms Family Farm Fall scenery doesn’t have to be just about trees: harvest time in upstate New York brings a fresh, plentiful crop of pumpkins, apples, corn, and other fruits bursting with color and flavor. At Ellms Family Farm, pick your own pumpkins, sample the farm’s famous apple cider donuts, and wander through the enormous Amazing Maize Maze, which features baseball facts and trivia for sports lovers. If you stay until nightfall, take a hayride that’s family-friendly, but just spooky enough to make you hold your companion’s hand a little tighter.

Visit: Ellms Family Farm

5. Ballooning Adventures If you’re looking for nothing less than fiery fall scenery, bucolic hills, and soaring mountain peaks all at once, take flight in a hot air balloon as colorful as the Adirondack landscape itself for an unforgettable experience. Flying under the care of a certified balloon pilot with 30 years of experience, passengers can take either a morning or evening journey over rolling farmland as they gaze out at the peaks of both New York state and Vermont’s most beautiful mountain ranges, and groups of four can experience a private flight for no extra charge. Be sure to bring a camera—you might find yourself at a loss for words.

Enjoy the romantic and beautiful balloon adventure. Then come back to Friends Lake and take part in one of our massages with full sauna treatment. We have year round Adirondack Activities.

Visit: Ballooning Adventures

Parting Thought

Whether you’re in the mood for a pleasant, day-long journey through a mountain trail, or ready for new heights of adventure, the Adirondacks surrounding Friends Lake Inn boast incredible views and moments of delight to satisfy every guest throughout the entire fall season, year after year. Do you have favorite New York fall foliage scenic routes in the Adirondacks? Share your autumn memories on our Facebook page!