Fall Activities Around the Finger Lakes

From cozy nights by the crackling fire to lakeshore vineyard tours, autumn in Aurora is an exceptionally beautiful season, framed by trees bursting in vivid hues of saffron and burgundy. With endless activities to do here in the fall, we’ve carved out your to-do list this season.

Here are our recommendations (updated for 2019) for some fabulous fall excursions. For your convenience, most listed attractions below are within 25 miles of Aurora. Stop in to see our concierge team at the Inns of Aurora Schoolhouse for more suggested itineraries.

Businesses throughout the Finger Lakes are often independently owned. While we make every effort to provide updated information, tasting rooms, local farms, and other points of interest may close with short or no notice. To ensure a seamless experience, we recommend you call ahead before embarking on your journey.

Montezuma National wildlife refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is only 22 minutes north of Aurora, and one of the best places on Cayuga Lake to enjoy an autumn hike. This particular wildlife refuge offers exceptional opportunities for birdwatching: Montezuma has more than five active bald eagle nests and over 60 regularly observed eagles, as well as many other species of migratory birds. The Refuge's trail loops allow visitors to enjoy the fall colors, as well as the chance to see one of North America's most majestic bird species in its natural habitat.

The Montezuma Visitors' Center is located at 3395 U.S. Route 20 East, Seneca Falls, NY. Phone: 315.568.5987.

Open from mid-March until mid-November: 10am-3pm on weekdays, and 10am-4pm on weekends. Trails and observation areas open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset.

Didn’t pack your hiking gear? Visit the Inns of Aurora Schoolhouse to check out binoculars, a birding guide, and a pair of our complimentary Hunter boots.

Courtesy of TourCayuga.com

Great Gully

Looking to get off the beaten path – literally? Great Gully Falls is our local, unmarked, 1.6-mile trail loop. Only five minutes north of Aurora, this spot is perfect for a quick afternoon hike to enjoy some local scenery and fall foliage. The trail takes you past a series of small falls, and is also an excellent place for birding. Those with hiking experience should be able to complete this hike in under two hours. Nevertheless, because this trail is unstaffed, make sure you're well-prepared and confident in your fitness. Bring adequate clothing for the weather, as well as plenty of water and a snack, which you can pick up at the Village Market.

Great Gully Falls has no visitors' center or formal park service. Limiting hikes to after sunrise and before sunset is always recommended. The pull off is 0.25 miles north of Dill’s Run Vineyard. Look for a dirt pulloff, the trail is unmarked, but you’ll walk east – away from the lake.

Visit the Inns of Aurora Schoolhouse to check out binoculars, a birding guide, and a pair of our complimentary Hunter boots.​

Hayrides

Nothing evokes the fall season in upstate New York like a hayride, and there are some great local options available. Penny's Country Farm & Pumpkin Patch is only 12 minutes northeast of Aurora, and offers the full fall experience: "u-pick" pumpkins, a farmers' market, corn maze, and wagon rides.

Further north, DeFisher Fruit Farms is home to the Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester - a very popular local attraction. Their haunted hayride takes you through the acreage of the DeFisher apple orchard, where you’re bound to run into all sorts of ghosts and goblins. Be sure to head over to their tasting room afterwards for a variety of drink options.

Penny's Country Farm & Pumpkin Patch is located at 1540 Gray Road, Union Springs NY. Phone: 315.497.1347. Open weekends from Sept. 13 to Oct. 27: Friday, noon to 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

The Haunted Hayrides at DeFisher Fruit Farms run from the last week of September through Halloween. Tickets must be purchased at the Box Office, and rides begin at dusk. Check the schedule to verify dates and times.

U-Pick Apples

Apples picked fresh from the orchard is one of the best things about fall in the Finger Lakes. Grisamore Farms (25 minutes southeast of Aurora) offers pick-your-own produce and a selection of treats at their fifth-generation family operated farm. Assorted “u-pick” is available throughout the summer and apples are the highlight in the fall. While there, stop by the Grisamore Cider Works tasting room for a flight of craft hard cider!

Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard is a little further afield (1 hour east of Aurora) but worth every mile. Founded in 1911 by George Skiff and Andrew Beak, the Orchard now has pick your own apples, hard cider, and their own line of spirits.

Grisamore Farms & Cider Works is located at 749 Cowan Road, Locke NY. Phone: 315.497.1347 Hours vary by day: call ahead or check online for your specific date.

Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard is located at 2708 Lords Hill Rd, Lafayette NY. Phone: 315.696.6085. Open seven days a week from 10am-5pm; tasting room open until 7pm. Distillery open Friday to Sunday, 12pm-7pm.

Throw on that fall sweater and come explore the Finger Lakes with us!