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Colorful Routes for Taking in Fall Foliage

There’s no bad time to visit the Finger Lakes, but it’s hard to argue with the burst of natural colors and crisp evenings that arrive once autumn sets in. The Lake House grounds are surrounded by the constantly shifting natural beauty of the region, and there’s endless winding routes to take around the region to make the most of the fleeting peak leaf season. Whether you’re looking for the prettiest route to approach The Lake House for your stay or a day trip once you’re already here, we’ve got a few ideas for drives and day trips for maximum leaf peeping potential.

Rt. 21 South to Naples

This 30-minute drive will take you down the length of Canandaigua Lake, following the natural ridge for sweeping views of the trees and farmland that makes up the area. If you start at The Lake House, you’ll end right around the High Tor Wildlife Area, a massive protected nature preserve that’s known for a combination of steep hills and wetland areas perfect for an afternoon hike or counting the numerous songbirds that inhabit the region.

Rt. 21 to Stony Brook State Park

After taking in the views in Naples, continue South on Route 21 another 30 minutes to Stony Brook State Park. One of the area’s famous gorges, the park features stunning rock formations that lead to towering forests along the rim. Stop and have lunch in the park after your drive, or get out and try one of the walking trails to get up close and personal with the changing leaves.

Rt. 20 Letchworth State Park

About an hour’s drive through the northern part of the Finger Lakes, this curving route will land you in the famous Letchworth State Park, a gorge area that’s often called “the Grand Canyon of the East.” Three dramatic waterfalls offer plenty of photo ops, and 16 miles of trails mean lots of options for viewing the leaves on foot. You can even take a hot air balloon ride over the park and see the colors from a birds-eye view.

Rt. 14 to Watkins Glen

If you’re up for a longer drive, this hour-long trip to the tip of neighboring Seneca Lake offers incredibly scenic views of the lake and surrounding woods, ending in Watkins Glen. Home to a sprawling state park that features bridges crisscrossing the gorge, it’s a dreamy place for a day trip that’s also a part of the Seneca Lake wine trail. The town itself is home to plenty of great restaurants if you’re not in the mood for a hike—hit a up a tasting room or two, have a great meal, and head back as the sun sets over the lake.