Here’s a little secret. Corning is more than spectacular glass and fabulous food. More than an historic downtown full of awesome shops. It’s also a great place to experience the wonders of fall foliage.

Corning area fall countryside foliage
Corning area countryside fall foliage courtesy Brian Maloney

While renowned around the globe for being home to the world’s premier glass museum, and with a growing reputation for exceptional culinary offerings, the small town of Corning, New York is also a prime location for observing the remarkable colors of fall. 

Corning Fall Twilight Skyline Little Joe Tower Chemung River Pedestrian Bridge
Corning Fall Twilight Skyline Little Joe Tower Chemung River Pedestrian Bridge courtesy Brian Maloney

More specifically, high on a hilltop just minutes from charming Centerway Square, you can slip away for a special glimpse into the very heart of fall.

Centerway Square Early Fall
Centerway Square Early Fall courtesy Brian Maloney

We're talking about the Houghton Land Preserve which is one of several conservation and recreation projects in the Finger Lakes region thanks to the efforts of Finger Lakes Land Trust

“Autumn in the Finger Lakes region is impossibly scenic . . .” - Frommer’s

What better way to enjoy Autumn’s multi-colored magnificence than by being right there in it? Stroll through a forest of oak and hickory trees. Walk among birch, maple, and pine for an up close foliage experience.

Houghton Land Preserve Fall
Houghton Land Preserve courtesy Brian Maloney

At nearly 200 acres, the Houghton Land Preserve is one of the Southern Finger Lakes hidden gems. Located on Spencer Hill, just minutes from Corning’s historic downtown, is a serene spot that many locals don’t even know is there. 

A gift of Jamie and Maisie Houghton, the preserve also features open hillside meadows with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.

Whether you want to explore all two miles of moderate hiking trails, or simply stretch your legs on a casual walk through the woods, Houghton Land Preserve offers solitude and possibly an encounter with native wildlife. 

Deer courtesy Bob Magee

Have a four-legged friend of your own? Dogs are welcome, though they do need to be on a leash and kept in full control by their owners (no chasing wildlife please). 

Little Joe Tower Fall
Little Joe Tower Fall courtesy Kevin Peterson

Other towns in Steuben County that feature trails through the woods that provide unique perspectives of fall foliage and which are perfect for day hikes and brief sojourns in nature are Hammondsport (Mitchellsville Gorge Trail and Huckleberry Bog Trail), Bath (Mossy Bank Park for hiking or mountain biking options), and Dansville (Stony Brook State Park).

Stony Brook State Park Fall
Stony Brook State Park Fall courtesy Rogala Photography

Not far from the Houghton Land Preserve, you’ll also find Spencer Crest which has about seven miles of hiking trails throughout the woods. 

“New York’s Finger Lakes region is perfect for fall foliage hedonists — it’s the ultimate autumn experience.” - Arlo Hemphill, The Green Gatsby 

Learn about several other great fall hikes here

And watch a video showcasing the Houghton Land Preserve here.

Spencer Crest Nature Center
Spencer Crest courtesy Brian Maloney