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Map of Tompkins County indicating that the leaves are almost at mid peak for the 2021 season.

Ithaca Fall Foliage Report

It's not fall in Ithaca without a fall foliage report. Find up-to-date info on how much our colors are changing throughout fall and plan your next leaf-peeping visit to the area!

Fall Foliage in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region

Fall colors typically begin to change across the region in mid-September and peak around the second or third week of October. But don’t worry too much about exact timing. The Ithaca area has a long foliage season due to its variable terrain and the moderating influence of 40-mile long Cayuga Lake. If you’re thinking of a weekend visit, be advised it's a busy time of year as many want to take in the rich fall colors and scenic vistas. Check out availability for local accommodations and book your leaf-peeping visit today. Consider visiting midweek for the best accommodation rates and a more relaxed, socially distanced experience.

For updated foliage conditions statewide, visit the official I LOVE NY Fall Foliage Report.
To learn more about The Science Behind Leaf Color Change, read Understanding Autumn Foliage (Cornell Daily Sun, Sept. 2019)

November 9, 2021: In this weekend's Foliage forecast, Ithaca and Tompkins County should expect to see a 100% change in peak leaf colors. Depending on where you are in the county, expect to see mostly bright yellow, orange, and brown colored leaves. The occasional green and red leaves can still be seen.



Best Places to see the changing colors: 

  • The Cayuga Waterfront Trail running from Cass Park to Stewart Park is flat, accessible and offers beautiful hillside views with a shoreline perspective of some of the late-season changing trees.

  • From the water aboard the MV Teal with Discover Cayuga Lake! Fall boat cruises are available for learning pods and homeschool groups, as well as socially distanced 1.5 hour fall eco-cruises open to anyone. 

  • Feeling a little more adventurous, take in the beauty from above and get a view like the one above with Southern Tier Balloon Tours.

  • While driving along the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway around Cayuga Lake. Take your time and stop in at any number of wineries, cideries, breweries and farms along the way. 

  • The overlook at Taughannock Falls State Park, or as you hike or stroll among any of the more than 150 waterfalls all within 10 miles of Ithaca.

  • Stroll through the Cornell Botanic Gardens for the latest seasonal blooms and foliage views. 

  • Please check the Cornell University and Ithaca College websites for updated safety guidelines in regards to COVID-19. 


Foliage Progress: see how the colors changed in previous years

View from October 20, 2020 

Buttermilk Falls late fall
October 20 2020 Buttermilk Falls State Park


View from October 14, 2020 

Cayuga Lake view in the fall from balloon
Image provided by Southern Tier Balloon Company.


Get your Free Waterfall Guide

Finding waterfalls in the Ithaca area is easy with a free waterfall field guide. The full-color guide highlights public-access waterfalls, gorges and hiking trails in and around Ithaca and Tompkins County. Sites range from 215-foot tall Taughannock Falls, to the cascading series of drops at Buttermilk Falls, to the 25-foot Potters Falls, a "local secret" in a hidden wildflower preserve. Pick up your copy at one of the Visitor Centers, view it online or get one mailed directly to your door.

Share your favorite fall pictures and use #VisitIthaca
Guide to Fall in Ithaca

Discover all things Fall in the Ithaca area!

Visit Ithaca Waterfalls Challenge

Known for waterfalls and gorges views, the Visit Ithaca Waterfalls Challenge is your guide to exploring some of the area’s most notable natural assets. For avid adventurers or new outdoor enthusiasts, this passport will enhance your visit and allow you to earn prizes while you keep track of where you have gone. 

Request a Brochure
2022 Visit Ithaca Travel Guide
Download our brochure or request a hard copy by mail.
Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A division of the Tompkins Chamber
110 North Tioga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 272-1313 | Toll Free: (800)-28-ITHACA
The official web site of Ithaca, New York and Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Finger Lakes. Complete guide to Ithaca, NY hotels, attractions, dining, shopping and recreation with maps and driving directions.
I Love NY is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.