Most of us have to consider our budget and how far it can stretch when we travel. If viewing the finest in fall foliage is your reason for the season, the Whiteface Region is a great place to visit. It has all the sumptuousness of New England's explosion of color, set in a frame of rugged mountains and crystal blue rivers. It offers many inexpensive ways of enjoying fall to the fullest.
Leaf peepers can easily add rocks and falling water to any photo opportunity in this spectacular part of the High Peaks section of the Adirondacks. Hike to amazing views along very short and easy trails, or simply pull over to see our roadside wonders.
A personal favorite is Monument Falls. This has its own parking area with two granite monuments, right off Route 86. A few paths lead to many different vantage points along the river, from the whitewater at the rapids section to the still waters farther into the woods.
The Jay Rocks is part of the Jay Covered Bridge Park. There is a pavilion with picnic tables for a leisurely lunch. There are many access points for photography, from the rock formations in the river to the inside of the covered bridge itself. Informational sign boards provide the history of the orginal bridge and the reconditioning process that saved it.
Stag Brook Falls is more of a hike, but with a literally higher payoff. There is plenty of parking at the Whiteface Ski Center parking lot — take the path along the river for more views. Once the climb starts, there are plenty of places to stop and take photos. This is all before the falls themselves, which are reached by following the stream. Bring a lunch and take your time.
Best Deal: High Falls Gorge
This all-inclusive scenic attraction has dining and a gift shop on the premises. There are catwalks with stairs and guardrails for incredible views of the giant boulders of the river gorge, and quiet paths that wind through the forest for easy hiking.
With admission giving access to so much, it's a wonderful choice if you want to spend a leisurely day of scenery, with just enough civilization for relaxation, fine meals, and shopping during rest breaks.
If your idea of enjoying the forest includes plenty of bird song and extra color, we have great choices in birding habitats. These are in or near the edges of our largest Wild Forest preservation areas.
Best Deal: Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center
This extraordinary wildlife complex rescues and rehabilitates native Adirondack wildlife. If they cannot return to the wild, they get to be ambassadors, and live there for the rest of their lives.
In addition to the trails during the guided tour of the facility, they have a beautiful river trail for extra scenery.
The requested donation goes to keeping the complex open and able to do their vital work. So it also bestows a good feeling on everyone in your party.
There's one little park that contains all the tree species native to the Adirondacks — that's the Lake Stevens Trail. Visit it to see every shade of autumn possible.
There's an easy hiking trail around the entire park, with picnic tables and scenic bridges for those water photos. While this is a small park, it is easy to lose an hour or more exploring and relaxing here. It is located at the foot of Whiteface Mountain, with slopes visible on all sides.
Part of the park is the toll house, the 1934 Swiss alpine chalet which marks the beginning of the road to the top of Whiteface Mountain.
Best Deal: Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway
These eight scenic miles let you take a carload of people to the summit for incredible views. There are many pulloffs to stop at on the way up and down. Four acres at the peak were donated for this 1935 project, with the owner specifying that the only requirement was that it be dedicated to the memory of America's Great War veterans.
Now, there is a gift shop, restaurant, and an elevator for all access ways to get to the top of the mountain. Miles of beautiful forest, and in fall, it is truly breathtaking.
Everything you love about fall can be found here.