Exhilarating Experiences for Next-Level Leaf Peeping

Adrenaline rushes, aerial views, and retro river cruises are transforming the way we view the season’s changing colors.

 Zip Down a Mountain

Reaching speeds of up to 50 mph, Zipline New York’s tours — the longest, fastest, and highest in North America — transform Hunter Mountain’s fall foliage into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows. The three-hour Skyrider Tour spans more than four miles and reaches heights of 600 feet. Looking for a little less adrenaline? Try the lower Mid Mountain tour that combines zip lines with suspension bridges and platforms.


Photo courtesy of Above the Clouds

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Float Above the Trees

Let’s get one thing out of the way: You’re getting up really early. Above the Clouds’ hot air balloons launch seven days a week (weather permitting) from Middletown’s Randall Airport at 6 a.m. That said, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of floating above the trees with the Hudson Valley spread out in front of you. There’s nothing quite like the Instagram photos you’ll get from the ride, either.


Photo courtesy of the Wild Center

Elevate the Experience

When the The Wild Center in Tupper Lake opened Wild Walk in 2015, it was immediately dubbed the High Line of Upstate New York. The comparison makes sense: This 1,200-foot network of elevated walkways and bridges brings you up into the treetops, offering sweeping views in every direction. Down on Earth, don’t miss iForest, a walk through the Wild Center’s wooded paths that’s also an art installation and immersive sound experience.


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See the Foliage and GO GAMBLING!

Newly opened Resorts World Catskills offers a respite from the typical fall vacation.
By Jane Anderson

Photo courtesy of Resorts World Catskills

For an exciting escape that combines leaf-peeping and slots-playing,  drive north to Monticello and immerse yourself in the glitz of Resorts World Catskills’ casino and all-suite hotel. Unlike most casinos, RWC has windows (huge floor-to-ceiling ones) and balconies, so you can enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Relax at Butterfly Beach on the resort’s third floor, with private cabanas, a lounge-chair-lined deck, and two pools (one is adults-only). Also on the third floor: six private high-roller gaming salons with butler service, accessible via private elevator. (Lucky high rollers earn free stays in the Palace Suites’ two-tier villas with private plunge pools.) For the rest of us, there’s the casino floor, with slot machines, table games, and live music.

Want a break from gambling? Book a sumptuous spa treatment at the Crystal Life Spa, then choose among a slew of dining options, from the self-service food hall to celeb chef Scott Conant’s refined Italian-inspired steakhouse, Cellaio. Don’t forget the Epicenter, the performance venue that’s hosted stars like Jerry Seinfeld.

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From $179/night; www.rwcatskills.com


Laze on the River

Foliage, the Hudson River, and brunch (with a glass of Champagne, of course) — it’s a winning combination. During peak season, Classic Harbor Line’s sellout foliage brunch cruises sail from Chelsea Piers on weekends. The three-hour cruise aboard a 1920s-style yacht features a four-course brunch, drinks, and perfect Palisades views.


Leaf Peep in the Lap of Luxury

See New York’s annual riot of fall colors in style with Wings Air. The private aviation company’s helicopter tours give you a bird’s-eye view of the Hudson Valley’s best assets, both natural and man-made. Departing from Westchester County Airport, 30- and 45-minute tours pass landmarks like Tarrytown Lighthouse, Harriman State Park, Croton Falls, and the Tappan Zee Bridge. But don’t expect it to come cheap: Shared tours start at $275/person, while private charters are priced at $660 and up.


Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

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