4 Hudson Valley Fall Drives to Take This Weekend
The Hudson Valley becomes filled with striking colors and picturesque vistas when fall is in full swing. Whether you’re heading into the mountains for a hike, going into town for pumpkins and cider doughnuts, or just looking for a relaxing outing with gorgeous autumn views, take the scenic route with these four fall drives.
Walkway to Rhinebeck
Start: Walkway Over the Hudson
End: Ferncliff Firetower
Bring a jacket for a windy walk along the Walkway Over the Hudson. If you haven’t visited this historic railroad bridge-turned-state park, this is an ideal time to enjoy both the river and the foliage views. After your stroll, hop in the car and head to Route 9. After passing the busy college areas, you’ll begin the long stretch that passes through Hyde Park; visit the home of FDR for a history-rich side trip. The route continues past rolling meadows and mountain views as you approach quaint-yet-bustling Montgomery Street in Rhinebeck. Stop for coffee at Bread Alone before heading to Ferncliff Forest, tucked away off Mt. Rutsen Road. After a short hike you’ll approach a tall fire tower. Views are gorgeous any time of day, but awe-inspiring just before sunset.
Gardiner to Gunks
End: Rough Cut Brewing Co.
Route 208 in Gardiner is dotted with charming farm stands and idyllic countryside; start your trip at Tantillo’s for a cup of hot cider, or nearby Wright’s Farms for homemade pie. Travel along 208 to admire the views of the Shawangunk Mountains, known as the Gunks, until you reach Main Street New Paltz. Continue towards the Gunks, eventually driving up the mountain (turning right onto US-44 E). Continue past Minnewaska State Park — unless you want to stop to see how the Awosting Falls waterfall is running — and soon you’ll be able to pull over onto a parking area to view the valley below, rich with autumn hues. Continue heading down the mountain to treat yourself to a bite and a brew at Rough Cut Brewing Co.
Start:Storm King Art Center
End: Brotherhood Winery
There are many places in Orange County to view fall foliage, but one of the most popular areas is where Orrs Mills Road. meets Jackson Avenue in Cornwall, looking over the Moodna Viaduct trestle. The trestle is an active railroad bridge that runs high over a valley surrounded by trees. This scenic spot sits right in between Storm King Art Center, which will also be gorgeous this time of year, and Brotherhood Winery, America’s oldest winery. Though the views are plentiful, this drive is short, so start at Storm King to browse huge outdoor sculptures and take in the surroundings first. Then, drive along Orrs Mills Road until you reach Rte. 94, pause for snapshots of the trestle and end at Brotherhood Winery for a tasting.
End: Rte. 32, Tillson
Winding roads and scenic waterways are along the route of this 11-mile drive. After grabbing lunch at one of the many eateries along the waterfront’s Rondout District, take W. Strand Street to Abeel Street, which follows along the Rondout Creek. Stay on 213, where you’ll pass plenty of colorful foliage before entering Rifton, a low-speed-limit hamlet of the Town of Esopus. There’s a dam and hydroelectric plant along this winding road that offers occasional views of rushing waterfalls. As you approach Rte. 32 in Tillson, you’ll pass Perrine’s Bridge, a historic covered wooden bridge, and a few picnic tables at which you can relax and enjoy the views.