Each fall, many of Central Park’s roughly 18,000 trees transform into golden shades of yellow, orange, red, and more. It’s one of the Park’s most photogenic times of year, and we’re asked a lot this season about when and where to find the best fall foliage. We’re here to help!
For starters, download our official fall foliage map. It tells you what trees (and colors) to find in popular Park locations. Conservancy guides also lead Fall Foliage Walks from the Pool through the North Woods’ Ravine. Visitors will discover more about these landscapes and learn easy tips for identifying trees. Curious about the science behind changing leaves? We’ve got you covered.
If you’re looking for a self-guided adventure to find the Park’s most amazing autumn colors, we suggest the following spots.
The Pool serves as a stunning location to admire the foliage turn of trees like red oak, hickory, tupelo, bald cypress, and sugar maple. It also doubles as a great spot to see turtles, birds, fish, and other wildlife. Be sure to admire the rustic bridge just east of the Pool — continuing east from here, you’ll enter the North Woods.
In addition to fall foliage, the Pool features turtles, birds, fish, and other wildlife
The North Woods
It’s hard to miss the reds, oranges, and yellows in the North Woods this time of year. As one of the Park's three woodlands, it offers people and wildlife an oasis of nature in the middle of New York City. Earlier this year, the Conservancy completed a restoration of the Ravine, a smaller landscape within the North Woods. This means you can take in amazing views of the restored Loch (Scottish for “lake”) against a backdrop of fall colors.
You may associate Conservatory Garden’s crabapple allees with springtime, but these trees also turn reddish-orange in the fall. Combined with the Garden’s glorious chrysanthemum display that is in full bloom around the time of peak fall foliage, this part of the Park makes for a must-see destination this season.
Conservatory Garden’s chrysanthemum display is in full bloom around the time of peak fall foliage
North Meadow and the Reservoir
From certain vantage points, the North Meadow feels limitless. Take in the combination of colorful leaves from the hickory, sugar maple, and flowering dogwood, while admiring this area’s rocky outcrops and hilltops. From here, it’s a short walk to the Reservoir. On the Reservoir’s west side, you’ll find the Kwanzan cherry, which turns bronze and red in the fall. On the east side, you’ll see the yoshino cherry, which becomes yellow and features sharply contrasting bark.
Make your way to the Ramble for a dense explosion of color. The Park’s most popular woodland features colors of the red oak, sweet gum, pin oak, sassafras, and more. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful three-stemmed black tupelo in Tupelo Meadow, which is north of Azalea Pond. (Last year, we followed this tupelo’s foliage change for nine weeks straight!)
The Ramble features a dense explosion of color from trees like the red oak, sweet gum, pin oak, sassafras, black tupelo, and more
Throughout the Ramble, you’ll find several rebuilt rustic features, including bridges, benches, and an overlook with a rustic rail along the length of the Gill. The Ramble also features a newly reconstructed stone crossing that previously existed above the watercourse before it was replaced by a concrete bridge in the 1930s.
Featuring a quadruple row of American elms, the Mall is home to one of the largest and last remaining stands of these trees in North America. Did you know the Mall is also the Park’s only intentional straight line? American elms form a cathedral-like canopy above this wide pedestrian pathway, and this time of year, that canopy will be bright yellow!
The Pond and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Look for the colors of the black cherry, sawtooth oak, gray birch, and tupelo at the Pond and in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. This is the first autumn that the Hallett — the smallest of the Park’s woodlands — is open to the public daily. Enjoy its rustic features, such as a scenic overlook, railings, and benches that provide meditation spots and emphasize never-before-seen views of the Pond and south end of the Park.
This is the first fall that the Hallett Nature Sanctuary is open to the public daily
Wherever you find yourself admiring fall foliage in the Park this season, we hope you’ll share the vibrant colors with us by tagging @centralparknyc and using the hashtag #centralparkmoments.