Fall moves in with an invigorating get-down-to-business briskness. The kids are back in school, businesses gear up for their final quarter push, and homeowners hustle to finish outdoor tasks before the first frost. Even the dried and curled autumn leaves seem to scuttle along the sidewalks with purpose.
The season is short. When your calendar is packed with appointments, meetings, obligation, and chores, it’s easy to let the days of Autumn slip by so quickly you only notice the fall foliage when it litters your lawn and needs to be raked and bagged. Between summer’s end and that day (you know it’s coming) when your ears pick up strains of Winter Wonderland at the supermarket, there is a season of spectacular beauty you don’t want to miss.
Romantic poet John Keats called autumn “the season of mists and fruitfulness.” The sun arcs lower in the sky and washes the changing landscape in a softened light. Birches, maples, and oaks glow in shades of orange and red. Nowhere is the beauty and ripeness of the season more evident and accessible than in the Lake George Area of New York’s Adirondacks.
Forested mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and quaint rural communities combine with a sophisticated arts scene and vibrant fall festival season to make the Lake George Area a perfect fall getaway destination. It’s an easy drive from anywhere in the Northeast, and the area’s fall calendar is always packed with events and activities for fun, relaxation, and recreation.
So, What's Your Ideal Fall Getaway?
Do you imagine a leisurely bed and breakfast weekend with a little antiquing? How about an afternoon by the lake listening to innovative jazz or a weekend at a rock festival with 2,000 cheering fans? In the Lake George Area, foodies can satisfy their palates, motorheads can glory in the sound of a thousand classic automobiles revving their engines, and bargain hunters can browse miles of garage sales in a shopper’s paradise.
Press pause on the to-do list and get away this fall. You will return refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle autumn chores and embrace the approaching holiday season.
Lake George Area Fall Festivals
The Adirondack Nationals Car Show takes over the Village of Lake George each fall with an incredible display of vintage automobiles. The more than 2,000 entries are all pre-1980s vehicles, most meticulously restored to their original glory.
The Adirondack Nationals is not a static show. While vehicles are on display during the day at the Fort William Henry resort, the show’s base, the real fun comes at night when car owners parade their vehicles in a cruise along the Village’s main streets.
The Lake George Arts Project’s lakeside festival is unique among jazz festivals for its diverse and creative line-up of musicians and its up-close setting in Shepard Park. Admission is free. Visit the Lake George Jazz Weekend events page for more information.
Named one of the Top 100 events in the Northeast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival has been launching hot air balloons into the sky over Glens Falls for 45 years. Over the course of the four-day festival, crowds gather to watch as up to 100 colorful hot air balloons launch into the sky and float over the mountains and fields of the Southern Adirondacks. The Festival includes an arts and crafts fair, live music, and food vendors. For a complete schedule of lift-off times and events, visit the Adirondack Balloon Festival's event page.
Note for RVers: The Northeast Hot Air RVers club supervises a dry camping parking area adjacent to the Balloon Festival’s primary venue. For information about attending the Festival in your RV, visit the Northeast Hot Air RVer’s website here.
It started as a way for Warrensburg residents to clean out their attics and raise a little extra cash for winter heating fuel. Forty years later, it has grown to be the World’s Largest Garage Sale.
Warrensburg homeowners throughout town set up yard sales. They are joined by hundreds of vendors from across the country selling new, used and antique items. The event draws nearly 100,000 visitors each year and takes on a festival atmosphere with live music and food trucks along Main Street.
More than three dozen area restaurants offer a taste of their featured dishes at this annual fundraiser hosted by the Glens Falls Kiwanis Club. Taste of the North Country is held in the Glens Falls City Park. Admission is $5 for adults. Children younger than 18 are free. Coupons for samples are $1, with restaurants collecting between 1 and 4 tickets for each taste.
A portion of Canada Street, the Village of Lake George’s main thoroughfare, closes to traffic for this Columbus Day Weekend Bavarian celebration. A festival tent erected in the street is the center of activities with oom-pah bands, a dance floor, a beer wagon, and steaming pans of German-style sausages complete with all the fixings.
The festival includes carnival rides, arts and craft vendors, games, and competitions for children and adults. This annual street party is located in the heart of Lake George Village at Shepard Park. Admission is free.
Visit a working farm in the rural community of Thurman, New York. For the annual self-guided tour, these mountain farms open their barn doors to the public and offer a glimpse into the day of a farmer. Taste savory products ranging from award-winning goat cheeses to maple sugar candy. The Farm Tour includes children’s activities and live music. Visit the Thurman Fall Farm Tour event page for more information, maps, and directions.
Dress in your best Oktoberfest attire for this 14th annual event featuring crowd-pleasing ales and guest micro-brews, German food, games and live music.
Explore a Wooded Path with These Easy Autumn Hikes
One of the best ways to view the Lake George Area’s brilliant fall foliage is by walking along a forest path. These easy to moderate hikes are suitable for most ages and fitness levels.
Access the Berry Pond Preserve through the Village of Lake George’s Recreation Center on Transfer Road, which ends at a parking lot. There you will find a marquee with trail maps to guide you through the Village trails to the Preserve. For an easy hike, follow the Berry Pond Blue Trail to where it meets the Orange Trail. Continue to Berry Pond on the Orange Trail. Stay on the Blue Trail to ascend the mountain. This climb has two, very steep sections and may be too strenuous for some. The reward of the more difficult climb is panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
These cross-country ski trails serve as easy hiking trails during the snow-free seasons with level pathways leading to the banks of the Hudson River. The trails are located on Hudson Street Extension in Warrensburg just north of Cronin’s Golf Resort.
The 150-acre park has hiking trails ranging in length from a third of a mile to slightly over one mile. The trails also accommodate mountain bikes. Access the trails from the park’s parking lot on Gurney Lane Road.
Up Yonda Farm is an environmental education center with a museum focused on the flora and fauna of the region. Visitors may hike the 73-acre grounds over a network of trails that offer views of Lake George. Find Up Yonda on Lake Shore Drive in Bolton Landing. There is a $4 per car charge for parking September – June.
The Northern Warren County town of Chester offers several options for easy and moderate hikes with mountain views and lakeside trails. Access our Chester Challenge page for more information.
Take to the Water — Canoeing, Kayaking and the Big Boats
The brilliance of fall foliage doubles when viewed from a lake as the shoreline colors reflect in the mirror-like waters. Fall is the perfect time to take a cruise up Lake George on one of the big boats. Another option is a personal tour of the lake from an area guide service.
Warren County maintains canoe access sites (map) along the Hudson and Schroon Rivers. Each site offers free parking and safe access to the water. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation operates boat launch sites on Brant, Fourth and Schroon Lakes as well as several on Lake George (location chart) where you may put in for a lake paddle.
Fly through the Air
Gore Mountain is a premier state-owned ski area in North Creek, New York, but winter isn’t the only season at Gore. Its trails are open for hiking and mountain biking in the summer and fall. The gondola that takes skiers to the top of a run in the winter carries leaf-peepers up the mountain in the fall for a spectacular aerial view of the Adirondacks colored in brilliant fall foliage.
This event features live music, food and beverage vendors, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses, climbing wall, bungee trampoline and helicopter rides. Visit the Gore Mountain Harvest Fest event page for a complete schedule of activities.
This 3,700-foot zip line glides over the treetops offering a thrilling ride and panoramic view of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake George. Located at the Wild West Ranch in the town of Lake George, it is a must-do activity for thrill seekers and leaf peepers.
Test your strength and endurance on these aerial obstacle courses in Bolton Landing. Navigate zip lines, swaying bridges, and Tarzan swings through the fall foliage on courses with varying degrees of difficulty. A special “Little Adventurers” course is designed just for kids.
Get in the Halloween Spirit
The Great Escape theme park is known for its thrills with high-speed looping roller coasters and plunging rides. In October, the park is decorated with cobwebs and jack o’ lanterns. Ghostly spirits move in and creepy characters roam the park. During the day, Fright Fest is geared towards younger guests. Children are encouraged to come in costume and trick or treat at the fairytale cottages of Storytown. The daytime Halloween activities are fun, not frightening.
It is a different story when the sun goes down. Things get creepy. Fog machines create an eerie atmosphere; zombies stumble through the grounds. The park is divided into Scare Zones with mazes, a haunted house, and live performances.
The Six Flags Great Escape Lodge transforms into a family-themed Halloween destination from October 1-30. Kids can follow the trick-or-treat trail, make Halloween crafts, join the Monster Mash Dance Party, and more! Oh, and the indoor waterpark is included in all overnight stays. Don’t forget your costume!
The Lake George Area is the site of many bloody battles as the English and French fought for control of North America during the Colonial Wars. At the head of Lake George, on what is now Beach Road, stood Fort William Henry, the site of a gruesome massacre in 1757.
The structure that now stands on that very spot, the Fort William Henry Museum, is a replica of the original fort. Employees of the museum, as well as visitors, have felt the presence of unearthly beings within the fort walls. Evidence of ghosts in the fort was strong enough to bring out a team of paranormal investigators from the Sy-fy Channel’s Ghost Hunters show.
Throughout September and October, museum guides lead nighttime tours through the fort and regale visitors with their own ghostly encounters on this haunted site. Make it a haunted weekend and stay at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center which offers Fall Ghost Tour Packages.