Step onto a train and, soon after, step out into an autumnal wonderland. Fall is the season for trips to upstate New York, where you can hit up farmstands for fresh baked apple pies, or do some apple picking to make your own. And don’t forget about corn mazes (who doesn’t love corn?) and pumpkin patches! But the main attraction, of course, is the splendor of the changing leaves. Between summer’s lush green landscape and winter’s snowfalls, the trees go full technicolor, and it’s worth soaking it all up in the crisp fall air. 

Step 1: Check the fall foliage map

Before you plan a trip, your first, and most vital step, will be checking the official I Love NY fall foliage report, which will give you an overview of where fall foliage is currently at peak conditions. (Currently, in mid-October, mid-to-peak foliage is about to hit much of upstate New York.) 

A fun fact about that foliage report, it’s created via accounts from passionate volunteer leaf peepers around New York, and if you want to become a part the New York State Leaf Peeper Program, you can send an email to foliage@esd.ny.gov to sign up.  

Step 2: Check the train schedule

Metro-North autumn
Let Metro-North take you to an autumn wonderland (Photo: Metro-North's Instagram)

Did you know that Metro-North runs extra trains on the Hudson Line on select weekends from October 8th through November 20th for the autumn-loving crowd? Get more details here, and here's a pro-tip once you've boarded: sit on the left side of the car heading north, by the window, for the most picturesque views.

Step 3: Choose your own adventure

There is really no wrong stop off Metro-North in the fall, but here are some suggestions if you need a little guidance.

Note: Before heading out, we strongly recommend you check applicable websites for any changes to visiting hours, or admissions fees.  

WALK ALONG TREETOPS IN POUGHKEEPSIE

There's plenty to explore off of the Poughkeepsie stop, but the Walkway Over The Hudson is a highlight, especially during the fall. Billed as "The World's Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge," you'll be walking (or biking!) through treetops as you travel from one side to another — a journey that is 6,768 feet long. But you can keep the party going because there are miles of trails and parks at either end of the bridge.

You'll also find shops and restaurants if you want to relax after your walk, and historic districts to explore. Speaking of historic, the Poughkeepsie Station itself is worth spending some time checking out — it was built in 1918 and meant to be a smaller version of Grand Central Terminal, just five years old at that point. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and today is just one of two to have received that honor on the Hudson Line outside of Manhattan.

MTAMetro-North

Hudson

The Walkway Over the Hudson is a short walk from the Poughkeepsie train station

Plan Trip

ENJOY BEACON, BANNERMAN CASTLE & STORM KING 

Beacon
Beacon, but imagine more fall colors! (Scott Lynch)

Beacon is a perfect autumn day or weekend trip. From NYC, it’s a relatively short 90-minute train ride, with plenty to do within walking distance of the Metro-North stop (see our full guide to Beacon here). And did you know that on a clear day, you can see the Manhattan skyline from Mount Beacon?

Beacon is also close to some stellar attractions, including Bannerman Castle, and Storm King.  

The fields of Storm King bring together nature, art, and the beauty of fall foliage in autumn. Plus, there's a shuttle bus on weekends with special pricing for shuttle packages. Storm King has pieces in its permanent collection along with special exhibitions and installations, typically large-scale sculptures you'll find around the open-air "galleries" outdoors.

Another unique attraction off of the Beacon stop is Pollepel Island, a 6.5-acre island in the shadow of Storm King Mountain — a ferry can get you there, and then you'll be able to explore the crumbling ruins of Bannerman Castle. Learn more about the island's history here and get the MTA Away Deal here.

MTAMetro-North

Hudson

Many Beacon attractions, or shuttles to nearby attractions, are a short walk from the Beacon station

Plan Trip

SPOOKY SEASON & AN AUTUMN GLOW IN SLEEPY HOLLOW

Philipse Manor Station
Philipse Manor Station (Photo by edenpictures on Flickr)

The other train station on the Hudson Line included in the National Register of Historic Places is the Philipse Manor station, which opened in 1911. The station sits along the Hudson River, so you'll be treated to a scenic view immediately, before exploring the surrounding area.

Several historic spots are within walking distance of the station, including the Headless Horseman Bridge and statue, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (the final resting place of the likes of Andrew Carnegie and home to the Bronze Lady).

For the completist, take a 12-minute car ride to Sunnyside, author Washington Irving's estate which includes his possessions. Tours are offered by guides who are dressed in period-appropriate garments. Note: To visit in the fall, you'll need to purchase a ticket to the Home of the Legend tour.

MTAMetro-North

Hudson

Philipse Manor station is within walking distance of many of Sleepy Hollow's attractions

Plan Trip

What's your favorite stop off of Metro-North in the autumn season? Share your photos and thoughts by tagging @MTAaway on Instagram and Twitter.