February 25, 2024
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The Ultimate Fall Foliage Guide for Binghamton and Beyond

Fall is upon us—one of the most beautiful seasons in Binghamton. The valleys and hills of Binghamton and the surrounding area are a perfect location to enjoy the foliage. But when is the best time to see the leaves change?

Who better to ask than Dylan Horvath, a trusted steward who has worked in the Nature Preserve for over 17 years. “Usually it’s around October 17 or so, around mid-October. This year might be a little different because we had a wet summer,” said Horvath.

A wet summer, as long as it’s not too wet, will allow trees to keep absorbing water, keeping them green for longer and pushing their “peak color” to later in October. Horvath stressed that predictions are never perfect, but certainly don’t wait until the trees are bare. As a regular roadtripper around Upstate New York, here are a few places where you can experience the beauty of fall to the fullest.

Enjoy our very own Nature Preserve

Binghamton University nature preserve

You don’t have to go far to find breathtaking beauty on Binghamton’s campus. I go to the Nature Preserve as often as I can, familiarizing myself with the trails and finding new places to walk, write, sing, meditate and experience a different part of life outside work and school. The Nature Preserve is beautiful in every season, but fall is perhaps the most vivid and spectacular. When I talked to Horvath, he confirmed that the ‘87 walkway bridge in the Nature Preserve, facing southeast, is one of the best places to look at the changing leaves across the hills.

Take a trip to Ithaca or Whitney Point

Bridge over river surrounded by red, yellow, and orange trees.

Upstate New York has some of the most envied autumn locations in the country. Locations for sightseeing and hikes are only an hour from Binghamton! Take a drive up the Cayuga Lake scenic byway and stop at wineries, apple farms or nature centers. There are plenty of places to explore and eat in the unique town of Ithaca as well. Whitney Point has Dorchester Park, as well as a Lake Bikeway and Walkway. These provide great spots for fishing, hiking and, most importantly, a beautiful outlook on the water, which offers a stunning view of the fall foliage. One of my favorite memories is charcoal grilling chicken tacos in Dorchester Park at sunset with my friends.

Stay in Broome County!

Rock formation/creek surrounded by fallen leaves

There are more than a few nice places to get away from campus without having to drive too far. One of the best places for a fall lookout over the hills is Roundtop Picnic Area in Endicott. Visit Otsiningo Park in Binghamton if you’re looking for more open space and people. The IBM Glen, located near the Waterman Conservation Center, is a good spot to hike near the water and feel the crunch of fallen leaves. Stair Park is walkable from campus, which is a pretty little spot with a nice creek and places to picnic.

Travel to nearby State Parks

Woman stands on bride with umbrella between rock formations under a waterfall.

Binghamton is close to multiple sprawling and beautiful state parks. Chenango Valley State Park has opportunities for kayaking, fishing, hiking, sightseeing and more. Watkins Glen State Park, situated at the end of Seneca Lake, provides ample opportunity to see the leaves changing, accompanied by beautiful waterfalls and rock formations. I have been to Watkins Glen many times, and I always find something new. Make sure to bring clothes/shoes to wade. If you’re up for a longer drive, visit Letchworth State Park, which ranks consistently as one of the best state parks in the country! I can confirm that the park is huge, with beautiful waterfalls and plenty of hiking and photo opportunities.

Personal Recommendations: Skaneateles, Downsville, Corning

Rolling hills with changing leaves next to Downsville Dam

Aimlessly traveling around Upstate New York is something I do quite regularly. Here are a few more unique or secluded places that are personal favorites of mine.

The town of Skaneateles is not exactly unknown, but it is a very beautiful, almost mystifying, place with beautiful houses and sightseeing along the small lake.

If you’re heading east/south, the Downsville Dam, or Pepacton Reservoir on Route 30, is about an hour and a half away. It’s a beautiful drive along the water on winding roads, and I personally love to stop at the bridge and look out across the fall foliage on the hills, or if at night, the stars.

I lived in Corning for two years during the pandemic, and if you’re up for an hour drive, you can go to the Harris Hill Overlook, where you can see across the rolling hills and changing leaves. Visit the famous Corning Museum of Glass for an extra destination!


Stephen Folkerts is an intern for the Office of Public Media and Relations, and a senior majoring in English. He hopes to work in ministry and publishing. In his spare time, he enjoys jazz drumming, poetry and basketball.


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