Fall Foliage Update

October 19, 2018

There’s still some green out there, but you’ll get an eyeful of fall colors on your leaf-peeping adventure right now.

According to I Love NY’s statewide fall foliage map, we’re at near peak. In the past, we’ve often seen peak foliage begin in early October. That just means you have more time to get here and experience it!

Prospect Mountain

The picture above is from the summit of Prospect Mountain in Lake George (elevation is 2,030 feet). Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is located across the street from our Main Office at 2176 State Route 9 in Lake George.

The Veteran’s Memorial Highway that leads up Prospect Mountain was built in 1969 and dedicated in honor of war veterans. The 5.5 mile drive up includes three scenic overlooks on the way to the top.

Stop at The Narrows first. Then pull off for the Lake George Panorama. The Eagle’s Eye is the final overlook before you get to the parking lot at the end of the roadway.

From there you can park your car and ride the shuttle to the top, which includes a video about the history of the mountain. There’s also a pavilion at the top you can rent for $75/day.

Don’t forget to check out the historical ruins at the top. This includes a bullwheel and an old cable railway that transported people to the top. It was once the world’s largest cable railroad from 1895-1903. Prospect Mountain House, a hotel once located at the summit, burned twice.

Free Days

Hours for the road right now are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week through Sunday, November 4, 2018. The cost per car to drive up is $10, $5/motorcycle, $50/bus.

Admission will be free on November 3 & 4, 2018, in honor of Veterans Day. Weather permitting, the road will open up again November 10 and 11, and admission will be free again on Sunday, November 11. Then it will close for the season. However, if there is snow or ice on any of those days, DEC may not open the road for safety reasons.

The efforts of a few local veterans called the Lake George Veterans Memorial Group led to the state offering the free admission annually. The group was formed in 2016 by three charter members: Dennis Galloway, Dan Hurley and Chuck Wheeler.

However, if there is snow or ice on any of those days, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation may not open the road for safety reasons.

The Process

The farther north you travel along the lake, the more you’ll see. This year we’re seeing many golds, ambers and some brilliant reds. Sometimes you can catch a leaf with some really interesting colors like this one below!


This week, we experienced our first frost of the fall in Lake George. It’s not necessarily the cold temperature that makes the leaves change — it’s the shortening of the days that triggers this part of the tree’s life cycle.

Leaves produce energy for plants. They capture sunlight, which works with carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars and oxygen. You might recognize that process as photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, which makes leaves look green, is the plant molecule essential for the process of photosynthesis. With diminishing sunlight, chlorophyll levels decrease and the other pigments — we know as Autumn colors — in the leaves are reveled.

The length of daylight actually begins to lessen at the summer solstice in June. Nights continue to lengthen and cool as the season progresses toward Autumn and the tree’s cells start creating a seal between the branches and leaves as they prepare for winter when they’re aren’t enough resources — like light and water — to grow. The tree’s cells create a membrane to stop nutrients from flowing to the leaf, which stops chlorophyll production. As the remaining chlorophyll decomposes, the green color fades to reveal other pigments in the leaves like reds, oranges and yellows

Leaves Around the Lake

fall foliage

Taken at Battlefield Park on October 18.

If you want to see the leaves around Lake George itself, take a cruise on one of the Shoreline Cruises or Lake George Steamboat Company ships.

Mix history with Autumn with a Colonial Walking Tour.

Click on the link above for a 3-mile walking tour that takes you all around historical landmarks in the Village of Lake George.

You could also take a drive on Route 9N (Lakeshore Drive) with stops at the towns along the way. There’s a great pull off in Hague where you can take in the view of Sabbath Day Point (pictured below).

sabbath day point, lake george

Photo by Stephanie Howard

In total the drive from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga takes about an hour, but there are plenty of fun places to stop.

Biking & Hiking

This is also a great time for biking. You can choose from a variety of terrain and rides from 10 to 100 miles and more. Flats, rollers and challenging steeps are all available.

The Warren County Bikeway is a great option featuring approximately 10 miles of gently rolling or flat terrain with some short climbs. Fun fact — this was the first rail trail in New York State!

It includes dedicated paved bike path and some roadway shoulder. It stretches from the city of Glens Falls to the shore of Lake George near Battlefield Park. Elevation: + 375 / – 405 ft.

Click here for more information on biking from the Warren County Safe & Quality Bicycling Organization.

There are so many great hiking spots around Lake George, too. Check out the Lake George Land Conservancy page and the Adirondack Mountain Club websites for more info.

Please remember to leave no trace and wear proper attire while hiking. Also remember the sun sets earlier — last light is around 6:30 p.m. right now.

The perfect way to relax at the end of a day of leaf peeping is with a delicious local beverage. Check out the Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail website.

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