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State Parks + Other Locations To Go “Leaf Peeping” in Western New York

Randi Deuro, flickr, fall foliage
Randi Deuro, Flickr

With the Bills and Sabres both on your TV, high schoolers getting into the spirit with crazy-themed homecoming days, Halloween costumes lining the shelves of every store, and too many pictures of pumpkin spice lattes on Instagram, it’s clear that autumn is here.

Whether it’s your favorite season or you’re still mourning the loss of our brief summer, there’s one thing about fall that we definitely take for granted in Buffalo: the foliage. People in other states have to travel just to see what we have (possibly literally) right in our backyards. Luckily, as of the beginning of October, our leaves haven’t fully changed and fallen yet like most places in New York. So if you’re looking for something relaxing to do this week, why not check out some of the most beautiful leaves in Western New York?

Here’s a list of places to go to check out one of fall’s greatest assets – right up there with pumpkin spice lattes, of course.

State Parks

State parks highlight the beauty of every season, but especially fall! With an abundance of trees, they’ll certainly look colorful as fall progresses. We recommend just about any park, but some in particular are:

Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile
Although it’s a bit of a drive for most Buffalonians, Letchworth State Park is known for its incredible views. While in the Letchworth area, be sure to check out the leaves changing around Chautauqua Lake.

Amherst State Park & Glen Park
400 Mill St., Buffalo
Although it’s small, Amherst State Park and Glen Park, both located just between Amherst and the Village of Williamsville, is the perfect place for a walk through trails and to enjoy the colors of the new season.

Allegany State Park
Salamanca
Allegany State Park has not only one of the best displays of fall colors in the area, but it’s among the best in the state, too. This is the largest state park in New York and includes hiking trails.

Whirpool State Park
3180 De Veaux Woods Dr., Niagara Falls
Whirpool State Park’s hiking trails possess some of the most beautiful views imaginable. With an abundance of trees overlooking the Niagara River, this is an experience that receives no complaints. Here in Buffalo, we often take having one of the wonders of the world in our backyard for granted. After this trail, you certainly won’t.

Other Areas

Other locations also have an excellent view of the changing scenery.

Chestnut Ridge Park
Orchard Park
Named for the chestnut trees on its hills, Chestnut Ridge is a premier destination for hiking and admiring the color change.

Artpark/Lewiston
450 S 4th St., Lewiston
Lewiston is a lovely, quaint town, where the view of the Niagara River is breathtaking. The changing leaves are a sight to see!

Hoyt Lake
Parkside and Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo
Hoyt Lake is often underrated, but nonetheless, it’s one of the nicest areas in Buffalo to just sit and enjoy the view. Visitors comment that it is typically “not crowded” because often, we take the area for granted. Located right in Delaware Park, Hoyt Lake is an enjoyable place to see the changing colors, and when you’re done, walk around Elmwood and find new places to love in the city.

Forest Lawn Cemetery
1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Forest Lawn is a naturally beautiful place located right in between the city’s streets. While we’d recommend every park in Buffalo, Forest Lawn is a place many Buffalonians never visit but should. Take a tour of one of the most breathtaking places in the city and enjoy watching the leaves change by the water.

Ellicottville
According to ellicottvilleny.com, Ellicottville is a “hiker’s paradise.” Commonly known for its ski slopes, Ellicottville is stunning for a unique reason each season. Take a trip out to Ellicottville and just enjoy the natural beauty.

Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve
Honorine Drive, Depew
Whether you wish to take a free guided tour or explore on your own, this area is among Buffalo’s best, full of acres of forests and ponds in Depew.

Fall Foliage Train Tours

Medina Railroad Museum
530 West Ave., Medina
This train’s tickets range from $13-20, and it takes visitors on a tour of some of New York’s most beautiful colors. Ticket price includes museum admission.

Arcade and Attica Railroad
278 Main St., Arcade
These two-hour fall foliage runs visit the magnificent countryside in Wyoming County. Tickets are $13.

While this is an extensive list, there are surely many more hidden gems in the Buffalo area.  If nothing else, take a drive through a town like East Aurora. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful Western New York really is!


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Contributed by Rachel Specht and Katherine Trautwein

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