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Q&A

To leaf peep in Adirondack Park, how many Scenic ViewPoints can you drive up to?

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My octogenarian grandma needs walking aids. She's physically unable to hike or rove. But she still pines to leaf peep — known in Japanese as momijigari (紅葉狩) — while seated in the car. Thus we are thinking of renting a family van, and driving my grandparents into parks with fall foliage.

  1. How drivable is Adirondack Park (north eastern NY)?

  2. For leaf peeping, does it feature many Scenic ViewPoints that you can drive up to?

  3. Are its roads PAVED, SMOOTH, and accessible by personal sedan?

We have accomplished this leaf peeping and road tripping in Algonquin Park (Ontario), Laurentians (north of Montreal), and Charlevoix (east of Quebec City).

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Adirondack park is large, especially by northeast US standards. There are quite a number of roads, from main paved roads to lesser paved roads, to good dirt roads, etc. There is something for every type of car, and plenty for ordinary road cars.

There are more scenic turnouts than on a typical road that is mainly for the purpose of getting from one place to another. Even without specific turnouts, it's usually not too hard to pull over and stop at the side of the road. The more mountainous sections have more scenic turnouts with good vistas. In the more flat sections, there are better opportunities to stop at the side of the road, parking lots, etc. In general, you won't have much trouble finding a place to stop the car so that you can look at something pretty. Just driving thru the area can be pretty on its own.

You don't say where you're coming from, but if you're looking for fall foliage, then there are many options beyond Adirondack Park. Most of northern New England and New York are sparsely populated. There is much foliage to see just driving around the rural areas.

The trickiest part is timing, not finding a place to drive around in. The second week in October is usually best, but it can vary by a week from year to year. Of course, color starts and ends earlier further north and at higher elevations. Some years are also just better than others. Last year wasn't that great, for example.

Pretty much anywhere in ME, NH, VT, and western MA is a good place to see fall foliage. There are issues to consider like timing into the season and the specific weather. However, finding roads to see leaves from isn't one of them.

Update

We went leaf-peeping yesterday, 12 Oct 2022, in the White Mountains area of northern New Hampshire. It was spectacular, and apparently exactly the right day. The colors were deeper and more wide spread than in ordinary years. There was plenty to see right off of paved roads, and at turnouts from those roads.

A single day can make a big difference. It rained overnight where I am in north-central Massachusetts, and today the colors here are significantly less vibrant than yesterday. The White Mountains were supposed to get rain with high winds, so many of the leaves that made things so great yesterday are probably on the ground today. Also, with the sun behind clouds, the leaves just look duller.

As I said before, peak color can vary by a week or so from year to year. There is no guarantee when the best day will be other years, but at least there is a starting point of 12 Oct that worked really well in 2022 in the White Mountains.

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