Here’s the annual NYCOTC guide to the best NYC parks in each borough for multi-colored magic, including white oak trees whose leaves turn purple, and maples whose reds, oranges and yellow epitomize fall color.
Great places to start are Central Park’s Literary Walk and around the Bow Bridge, and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park’s Pond, and Alley Pond Park in Queens, to see the tallest tree in New York City..
Find the borough-by-borough listing on the NYC Parks Dept. website.
You can also take a hike with NYC’s Urban Park Rangers, who lead guided tours year-round in parks in all five borouughs.
New York City parks, and the guided walks are FREE.
The Urban Rangers website includes information on park and coastal clean-ups, which you can participate in – it’s a great family event, teaching the kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves and protecting the environment.
Also check the I Love NY state map of where to find the best fall foilage, updated weekly during fall foliage season.
Best Parks for Fall Foliage – Manhattan
Inwood Hill Park
Trees to see: Oak, hickory, Tulip poplars
There’s no wrong place to go leaf-peeping in Inwood Hill Park, at the northern tip of Manhattan, where NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter grew up, and where Peter Minuit purchased the island from the local Manhatta tribe for just $24.
One recommended route is along the blue trail, a marked trail that picks up at the Gaelic Field in the northern side of the park and leads up to the Overlook, which will give you a gorgeous view of the Hudson River and the Palisades.
Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail takes you through the last natural forest in Manhattan, and treated to picture postcard views of the Hudson River. Allow two hours to complete this trail, which is about two miles.
Especially the Promenade between 79th and 95th Streets, and Cherry Walk, between 97th and 125th Streets. Plus, there are views across the Hudson River.
Just about anywhere in this 840-acre urban oasis is ideal for fall foliage.
Always popular is the area around the famous Bow Bridge, and now that the equally iconic Belvedere Castle which has re-opened after a lengthy restoration, the view from the terrace.
Check the park’s own autumn guide to Sugar maples, Black Tupelo and more of the 20,000 trees dotting what is arguably the best and most famous urban park on the planet.