A Bike-and-Hike Leaf Peeping Weekend
Westchester County is an excellent place to experience Mother Nature’s spectacular fall display. Because the morning and late afternoon hours show the leaves in their best light, we’ve crafted an active, outdoor itinerary that puts you in the right spot at the right time to capture the magic.
Rent a bike from Pedal Peekskill, pick up a sandwich (build your own or order from the extensive signature menu) at Fuhgeddaboudit Deli, Bagel, Grill and head for the bike trails in Blue Mountain Reservation, where options range from the easy Boundary Trail to the black-diamond Ned’s Left Lung. Afterwards, head to Main Street in downtown Peekskill for a healthy refresher at PK Blenz juice bar.
Or, for a longer, flatter ride, rent from Yorktown Cycles (Yorktown Heights) and point your bike south on the North County Trailway—a paved multi-use trail along the former New York Central Railroad's Putnam Division line. Pedal 15 miles to Elmsford, where you’ll exit the trail for a well-earned lunch break in the beer garden at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, then head back north for a smoothie at Trailside Café in Yorktown Heights.
For prime leaf peeping, catch the late-afternoon light at Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt, an easy two-mile hike that includes gorgeous vistas of the New Croton Dam and its autumnal color palette. Stop in Croton-on-Hudson for a scoop of wholesome ice cream with locally sourced ingredients from The Blue Pig, where fall flavors range from Thompson’s apple cider sorbet to salted local maple, or a fresh apple turnover at Baked by Susan.
Toast the day with a fine French dinner on the outdoor patio at Irvington-on-Hudson’s Red Hat on the River while you watch the sunset over the Hudson.
If you have energy for one more adventure, embrace the season’s spooky side with one of several themed evening tours of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Fall offerings include the Classic Evening Lantern Tour, Bicentennial Blues and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and many sell out in advance, so reserve early.
Call it a night with a Westchester hotel stay. Insider tip: Peekskill’s The Abbey Inn & Spa is offering a two-night Leaf Peepers Package complete with trail maps, two bottles of water and a boxed lunch for two, plus complimentary cider and caramel apples to enjoy on the porch at day’s end.
Order coffee and a fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon sugar donut to start your day at G.E. Brown Fine Food & Provisions in Bedford.
It’s time for the morning show, and Bedford’s Mianus River Gorge Preserve offers another great vantage point for peak foliage. Its hiking trails wind through woodlands 40 feet above the Mianus River to the Reservoir Overlook and Havermeyer Falls.
Brunch in Bedford brings the adventure to a close—make it a special one at the Old Post Inn’s The Barn. Recipient of a Michelin Guide 2021 Plate Award, The Barn earns raves for its locavore menu, casual ambience and lovely outdoor dining area.
Customize it: Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Path and Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway also offer prime leaf peeping opportunities and make great alternatives or additions to your hike and bike itinerary.