Tracking the fall colors in the Adirondacks

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:03 PM EDT
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (WCAX) - Fall is here, even though it looked like winter in some parts of our region Friday morning. The Adirondacks annually see a boost in tourism from the changing of the leaves. But just how do they track that color change?

Driving along the back roads in Lake Placid, it’s clear that the change in season is here. “Fall foliage in the Adirondacks is always one of our busiest seasons,” said Jane Hooper with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

According to the group’s Leisure Travel Study, visitors to the Adirondack region last fall for the first time exceeded those in the summer. The bright reds, yellows, and oranges bring flocks of visitors, but how do they know they will be there during the peak? Hooper says they are there to help. “Those staff members actually report each week the color as they are seeing it out their window,” she said.

Every Monday, ROOST staff in the Adirondacks drive around their community and monitor where the color change is happening, what colors they are seeing, and how vibrant it is. They send that information to a statewide database run by the “I Love New York” campaign.

“It’s really important because so many people come here because of the leaves and we want them to realize each Monday what the status is. They can make plans for the coming weekend,” Hooper said.

“Oh yeah, it’s a huge uptick. We have a lot of people who come just for the fall,” said Brandee Reiley with the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which hosts events throughout October. “Live music, festival atmosphere, food, vendors, things for the kids, and all kinds of stuff.”

That includes the Flaming Leaf Festival, which combines beautiful views and Olympic athletes, two things Lake Placid is known for. “You have the leaves but you also have the experience of being exposed to competitions that you can view these elite athletes and really see what they are doing to get ready for their winter season,” Reiley said.

While the peak may come and quickly go in the mountains, there are plenty of other valley communities nearby that offer show-stopping views, too. “You can still capture it a couple of weeks later,” Hooper said.