5 Scenic New York Landscapes to Explore on an Autumnal Trek

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    Lace-up your walking shoes and take advantage of the crisp temperatures with a brisk hike through one of the many scenic wonders to be found in New York.

    The fall colors are past peak throughout most of the state according to the New York Fall Foliage Report, but even if you missed prime color season there is still time to enjoy the great outdoors. We’ve rounded up five sites that offer a mix of landscape, history and art to inspire you to get up and get out.

    croton aqueduct

    Old Croton Aqueduct State Park. Photo by Susan De Vries

    1. Old Croton Aqueduct State Park
    Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park runs from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to the Croton Dam in Cortlandt, following the trail of the system which brought fresh water to New York City in the 1840s. More than 20 miles of tree-covered trails wind past historic scenic views and features of the aqueduct system. The paths can be hiked and mountain biked. If you want a guided exploration, Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct offers a variety of hikes and strolls.

    How to Visit
    Address: The trail can be picked up in many locations, including at the Keeper’s House Visitor’s Center at 15 Walnut Street in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
    Hours: Sunrise to sunset, year round
    Admission: The trails are free; the guided tour offerings vary, full information can be found on the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct website here.
    Directions: Take MetroNorth to Dobbs Ferry, then walk about 10 minutes to the Keeper’s House. Dobbs Ferry is about 1.5 hours by car from Brooklyn via the Saw Mill River Parkway. If you want to start elsewhere on the trail, a map can be obtained from Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct.

    photo of untermeyer gardens by susan de vries

    Untermyer Gardens. Photo by Susan De Vries

    2. Untermyer Gardens

    Take a detour off the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail with a wander through the 43-acre landscape of the Untermyer Gardens. While the grand mansion was demolished in the 1940s, a portion of the gardens Samuel Untermyer established at his estate overlooking the Hudson River still survives. From 1889 to 1940, Untermyer accumulated and transformed over 150 acres into a botanical wonderland. Today the remaining landscape includes garden follies, woodland trails and scenic vistas.

    Address: 945 North Broadway, Yonkers, N.Y. 10701
    Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset every day, year round.
    Admission: Free
    Directions: If hiking the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, the garden can be accessed from the trail. A map can be found here. If going directly to the garden, take MetroNorth to Greystone, then it’s a brisk walk uphill to the garden or just under a mile by cab. By car, about 45 minutes from Brooklyn via I-87.

    walkway over the hudson

    Walkway Over the Hudson State Park. Photo via Walkway Over the Hudson

    3. Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
    If you prefer your hikes to be on the pavement rather than the trail but you still crave the views, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park may be a good choice. The 1.28-mile-long elevated pedestrian bridge spans the Hudson River and provides spectacular views of the river and surrounding towns.

    How to Visit
    Address: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
    Hours: Sunrise to sunset, year round (weather dependent)
    Admission: Free
    Directions: Take MetroNorth to Poughkeepsie and then walk about 15 minutes from the station to Upper Landing Park on North Water Street. A 21-story elevator takes you up to the walkway. The walkway entrance is about a two-hour car trip from Brooklyn via the Taconic State Parkway.

    olana photo by susan de vries

    Olana, home of Frederic Church. Photo by Susan De Vries

    4. Olana State Historic Site
    Olana, the 1870s home and studio of Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church, is set on top of a long slope overlooking the Hudson River. The 250-acre property offers stunning views of the river and surrounding valley as well as former carriage roads and trails that wind through a woodland landscape. To learn more about Church’s vision for the landscape you can take a guided tour on foot or vehicle. The tour via an open-air electric vehicle offers an hour-long drive along the carriage roads to the major vistas created by Church.

    How to Visit
    Address: 5720 Route 9G, Hudson, N.Y.
    Hours: The grounds at Olana are open daily, 8:30 a.m. to sunset, year-round. The interior of the house can be seen by guided or self-guided tour — tickets are required for all interior visits. For more information, visit the website here.
    Admission: Free access to the grounds; a variety of tours are available at member and non-member prices. Tickets sell out quickly so advance purchase is recommended. Visit the tour page here for full information.
    Directions: Take Amtrak to Hudson, then a taxi (about a 10-minute ride). By car, Olana is about 2.5 hours from Brooklyn via the Taconic State Parkway.

    art omi ghent

    ”Victoria, Susanna, and Leucantha’ by Philip Grausman at Art Omi. Photo by Susan De Vries

    5. Art Omi
    Combine an invigorating hike with some artistic inspiration at the roughly 300 acres that make up Art Omi. The sculpture and architecture fields are open every day for visitors to explore, with more than 60 works of art from contemporary artists as well as several architectural installations on view.

    How to Visit:
    Address: 1405 County Route 22, Ghent, N.Y.
    Hours: The park is open every day during daylight hours. The gallery space is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for major holidays. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch available on weekends and snacks and drinks during the week. For more information on special events and exhibits, visit their website.
    Admission: Free
    Directions: The closest train is the Amtrak at Hudson, from there it’s about a 20-minute taxi ride to Ghent. By car, Art Omi is about three hours from Brooklyn via the Taconic State Parkway.

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