Fall for Ulster County

Harvest the season with these five autumn activities.

Ulster County is known as a four-season playground, but autumn might be our favorite (Shhh, don’t tell the others). We dare you to find another place on Earth that so completely embodies the spirit of the season, from the harvest bounties of U-Pick farms and the innovative flavors conjured by our exceptional chefs, to haunted hayrides through the evocative landscape that inspired “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Peep. Explore. Taste. Seek. Here’s how.

1. Peep the Leaves.

The dense foliage that blankets the Mid-Hudson Valley and the adjacent Catskills is a wonder any time of the year, but fall is particularly special. Leaf peepers the world over flock to the region to witness the kaleidoscope of brilliant earth tones that emerge from the pines, oaks, maples, and hemlocks that dot the landscape along with shrubs of huckleberry and blueberry.

2. Cast a line in the Catskills.

Slip on your waders, grab your gear, and find your stream—we have plenty to choose from. The Catskills are known to have some of the best fly fishing in the United States; American icons like Mark Twain, Herbert Hoover, and Jimmy Carter spent many an afternoon angling for trout and other species in freestone streams found throughout the region, and the area continues to be a global fishing destination to this day.

3. Taste a cornucopia of flavors.

With its rich agriculture, diverse population, and proximity to New York City and the nearby Culinary Institute of America, it’s no surprise that Ulster County carries a reputation for exceptional cuisine. Here you’ll find some of the country’s best chefs experimenting, innovating, and crafting superior menus that lean heavily on fresh, local produce and grass-fed livestock. Bring your appetite and prepare for a true farm-to-table experience.

4. Take the scenic route.

Ulster County intersects with two scenic drives so beautiful they’ve been officially designated as such: the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway. The former takes you through stunning panoramas and quiet mountain villages throughout the New York Catskills, while the latter forms an 88-mile loop encircling gorgeous hallmarks of the region, including the Shawangunk Mountains, Wallkill Valley and Rondout Valley.

5. Explore the seasonal sprawl of family farms.

Ulster County is home to dozens of family farms teeming with apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, petting zoos, and so much more. Pluck your own produce straight from the source, find that perfect pumpkin for carving or baking, make a new furry friend, sip fresh apple cider, or take a spooky hayride with the little ones.

Discover more fall activities here. Remember, in everything you do, be mindful of others, double-check the status of restaurants and scheduled events, and follow recommended health and safety protocols.