Adirondack Fall Foliage: Leaf Peeping in the High Peaks

Fall foliage

Fall foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The old maple trees in front of our house remain green except for a few splashes of color. Unlike higher elevations deep in the Adirondacks, most of the foliage in Essex village is only just beginning to change color. But on Wednesday I experienced a Technicolor preview while driving south on I-87, soaking up the Adirondack fall foliage in and around the High Peaks.

Driving one of the Adirondack highway’s most handsome stretches always affords decadent views, but yesterday spoiled us with near peak Adirondack fall foliage. It was breathtaking despite overcast conditions. The flat light desaturated autumn’s cacophonous palette, rendering a landscape more nuanced than the scenes typically conjured up on postcards, calendars and television cutaways. This was especially true in higher elevations of the High Peaks where damp leaves and wispy mist intensified my melancholic, almost nostalgic longing. (Rosslyn Redux)

Fall foliage

Fall foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That excerpt is from a whimsical (and yes, wistful) reflection on autumn in general and the disconnect between our climate in Essex and deeper into the Adirondacks. I tangled myself up a bit in pursuit of the bittersweet emotions brought on by Adirondack fall foliage, so I had better pull back a little to share this upbeat snapshot.

In the Adirondacks, autumn descends with a whisper of cool air, rich with the scent of changing leaves and fragrant balsam fir… The Adirondack Region boasts the longest fall foliage season in the northeast, starting in mid-September and lasting through mid-October. When autumn’s rich shades blaze along mountain ranges and around tranquil lakes, it’s the perfect time to… [explore] forests glowing in the golden light of aspen, sugar maple and sweet birch, tour through historic villages and enjoy an evening cruise on a scenic Adirondack lake. (

That’s better. Melancholy banished; Adirondack fall foliage celebrated!

This spectacular time lapse video created by roooftopmedia offers a glimpse into one more reason that many of us are drawn to this sacred corner of the earth.

Here’s what the photographer/producer says about the video:

this is a collection of some of the time lapses i shot in the the adirondacks, fall 2011. for this project, i initially photographed up north, in the saranac lake and high peaks region. this is the most visited part of the park and home to lake placid, which hosted 2 winter olympics. as the leaves began to fall up north, i followed the foliage south to the lake george area. (rooftopmedia)

Although the Champlain Valley is conspicuously absent in this compelling video, the images and sensations are familiar, and they offer an enticing reminder of the Adirondack fall foliage in store over the coming weeks.


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