10/07/2011 05:06 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2011

New York Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide

New York fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing New York fall foliage. — Saira Bajwa

Hudson River Valley

The Hudson River Valley offers a variety of opportunities for New Yorkers to experience the vibrant shades of autumn. The colors bursting in the picturesque valley can be enjoyed in every imaginable way: by train, boat, car, foot, bike -- even plane. A day cruise down the Hudson River offers either a serene float or stops in some of the Hudson Valley's renowned charming small towns. Bear Mountain State Park and the adjacent Harriman State Park have biking and hiking trails that, in the fall, are aglow with blazing beech, birch, oak, and maple leaves. The two parks earn their nature street cred, too, as the Appalachian Trail passes through both. Leaf lovers can also view the opulent New York foliage from an MTA Metro-North train or on a hike up 610-foot Turkey Hill in Westchester County, near Salem. The historic mansions of the Empire State's most well-known families -- the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts, to name a few -- also showcase the area's breathtaking backdrops.

Palisades Interstate Parkway, Bear Mountain, NY 10911 | Get Directions

The Adirondacks

Autumn in the Adirondacks is ablaze with the crimson and golden glory of bitternut hickorys, american sycamores, and red maples, among many others. Spanning six million acres, the Adirondacks offer 12 scenic byways, numerous sparkling lakes and a number of fall events and Harvest Festivals for the whole family. To enjoy the fall colors in a historic setting, visit Fort Ticonderoga , which offers re-enactments of Revolutionary War soldiers defending the fort, guided tours of the original Fort Garrison Garden and a six-acre corn maze that also includes a scavenger hunt.

100 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, NY 12883 | Get Directions

Finger Lakes Region

During the peak season in October, the Finger Lakes showcase vineyards and mountainsides lit with beautiful fall colors, gorgeous vistas, peaceful lakes and spectacular waterfalls. Autumn signals the harvest season in Finger Lakes wine country. Enjoy harvest festivals by picking apples, berries or pumpkins with the family, or end a tour of the region's many vineyards with a decidedly adult wine tasting. For the adventurous with a sense of sport, try geocaching in the Finger Lakes -- it's like a "high-tech game of hide and seek," in the great outdoors. Start your quest in Watkins Glen State Park, which has hiking trails that course over and under 19 dramatic waterfalls.

Watkins Glen State Park, 3530 State Route 419 Watkins Glen, NY 14891 | Get Directions

Shots of fall foliage in the Hudson River Valley.

Did we miss a New York fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.

Interested in more stories about New York state? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.