10 Amazing Places to View Fall Foliage in PA

The Happy Traveler is a proud leaf peeper and tours the commonwealth to capture the vibrant colors of fall. From soaring over the Allegheny National Forest in an open cockpit biplane to canoeing along Pennsylvania’s only seashore, there are many ways to Pursue Your Happiness during the commonwealth’s most beautiful season.

  1. Northern Zone: Peaks in early October
  2. Central Zone: Peaks in mid-October
  3. Southern Zone: Peaks in late October

Before going out to enjoy the season’s scenic views, make sure to check for any revised hours and always practice social distancing!

1. Pine Creek Gorge

Wellsboro
Northern Zone

Pine Creek Gorge view
Pine Creek Gorge

Almost 50 miles long and 1,450 feet deep, the Pine Creek Gorge features a brilliant fall display of deep reds, yellows, and purples in early October. Some of the best fall views of the canyon can be found at Leonard Harrison or Colton Point State Park.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
The historic Pine Creek Rail Trail is a gem of the Pine Creek Gorge and offers a tremendous way to view fall foliage. Voted by USA Today as one of the "10 great places to take a bike tour," this 60-mile trail travels through the gorge for an up-close and personal look at foliage for hikers, bikers, or equestrians.

2. Big Pocono State Park

Tannersville
Central Zone

Big Pocono State Park, located at the top of Camelback Mountain, is home to breathtaking views in the fall season by foot or by car. The best place for viewing foliage is at the park’s summit, where a scenic overlook offers views for miles from the popular Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and beyond.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
Ride the Pocono Express through charming Pocono Mountain towns and see scenery that changes with the seasons. These fall foliage train excursions are a wonderful way to celebrate autumn in the Poconos.

3. Allegheny National Forest

Bradford
Northern Zone

Allegheny Reservoir Allegheny National Forest
Allegheny National Forest 

Scenic drives through the hardwoods of Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren counties in northern Pennsylvania provide spectacular fall foliage touring. In the Allegheny National Forest, visitors can hike hundreds of acres of trail ways, ranging from short birding trails to the challenging North Country Trail. Throughout, the Allegheny National Forest offers a variety of scenic vistas, mountains, brilliant colors, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
For a unique way to experience the awe-inspiring views of the Allegheny National Forest, visit the Kinzua Sky Walk, a walk that extends out 624 feet into the Kinzua George or float along the Allegheny River by boat, kayak, or canoe and sightsee along 107 miles of water trails.

4. Oil Creek State Park

Oil City
Central Zone

Oil Creek State Park, situated in the heart of the Oil Heritage Region known as birthplace of the first commercially successful oil well, is home to beautiful waterfalls and 52 miles of scenic hiking trails. Making it a prime location to experience bright shades of yellow, red, and orange lining deep hollows, steep hillsides, and wetlands.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
Bike along the shores of historic Oil Creek. Oil Creek Bike Trail stretches 10 miles from the Drake Well Museum to the Petroleum Centre. Curse along historic sites while embracing the many waterfalls surrounded by vivid fall colors.

5. Presque Isle State Park

Erie
Central Zone

The shore of Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park displays many breathtaking autumn colors. Discover the magnificence of this 3,200-acre peninsula as it curls into the lake, offering a wide variety of fall experiences. Home to more than 4 million visitors each year, Presque Isle offers the leisurely 14-mile Karl Boyes Multi-purpose National Recreation Trail for walkers and bicyclists interested in leaf sightseeing along the Bay. There also are 14 other hiking trails throughout the park for those who want a more up-close view of the fall colors.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
For an offshore foliage experience, take advantage of the “Lady Kate,” a 65-foot Great Lakes vessel that ventures out onto the waters of Lake Erie for a 90-minute tour and an incredible view of the shoreline. Riders can relax while learning about the area’s ecology, history, nature, and more with the boat’s knowledgeable guide.

6. Great Allegheny Passage

Pittsburgh
Central Zone

Hiking Great Allegheny Passage during autumn
Great Allegheny Passage | Credit @allisonleevannoy via IG

For those exploring the scenic Laurel Highlands in search of autumn colors, there’s perhaps nowhere better to do so than on a biking excursion along the Great Allegheny Passage that was completed in June 2013. Known as the longest rail-trail in the east, the Laurel Highlands’ section of the Great Allegheny Passage is filled with scenic overlooks, viaducts, and plenty of spectacular foliage.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
Not far away, visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater for stunning fall vistas. Fallingwater, known as one of the most influential houses of the 20th century, stretches over a 30-foot waterfall and offers spectacular views with its unique angles and large windows. In 2019, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. On your way there, take the route less traveled and witness the colors of autumn as you weave through the rolling hills on a relaxing fall drive. Complete with stops at quaint towns, scenic state parks, and can’t miss restaurants.

7. Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Pittsburgh
Central Zone

Take in the views of the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline and the picturesque countryside that display incredible colors every autumn. Incorporated into the new edition of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail map is the Three Rivers Heritage Trail Interpretive Signage Guide. Pittsburgh's dramatic landscape and history are portrayed in dozens of signs located along the riverfronts. From the Pittsburgh Pirates to Mister Rogers and Andy Warhol to the steel industry, let the Pittsburgh region explain itself to you while touring one of the best urban trail systems in the country.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
While in Pittsburgh, don’t miss a ride on the Duquesne or Monongahela Inclines to see the views from atop Mount Washington. Filled with observation decks that overlook the city and its countryside, this 400-foot hill is an excellent vantage point for foliage.

8. Rothrock State Forest

State College
Central Zone

Rothrock State Forest foliage
Rothrock State Forest | Credit @justin_herrold via IG

In the heart of central PA, the parks and vistas that encompass Rothrock State Forest provide dramatic foliage areas that can be accessed in a variety of ways. Mountain bike along the trails surrounding the majestic Seven Mountains area, hike numerous trails throughout the forest, or explore from the lowest points from a boat on Raystown Lake. All offer grand foliage viewing experiences.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
For a truly spectacular (and easily accessible) scenic viewpoint in Rothrock, visit the overlook atop Tussey Mountain along PA Route 26 at the Centre/Huntingdon County line. The view overlooks the State College area and several surrounding townships in Centre County.

9. Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg
Southern Zone

Gettysburg National Military Park is a must-see for any fall excursion, providing the perfect, scenic backdrop for visitors experiencing this historic battlefield. Explore the sights and sounds of battlefield reenactments, monuments, memorials, and true history. Gettysburg offers guests a part of the nation’s past all year and provides optimal trekking treasures in the fall.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip
Tour the battlefield on horseback for a unique look at the autumn trees with guided tours from Hickory Hollow Horse Farm. Visitors can enjoy one to four-hour guided trail rides through the battlefield grounds complete with knowledgeable guides to point out little-known facts and tucked away scenic spots that can only be found on horseback.

10. Washington Crossing Historic Park

Washington Crossing
Southern Zone

In 1776, General George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River in the frigid cold of winter. At that site today is Washington Crossing Historic Park, an interpretive center that not only tells the story of Washington’s famous crossing, but also preserves the early 19th century history of Taylorsville, where the crossing of the Delaware occurred. With historic sites, wildflower areas, and nature trails, it’s also an excellent place to discover the October foliage of Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip:
Bowman’s Hill Tower at the Washington Crossing Historic Park is 125 feet tall and offers a 14-mile view of scenic Bucks County. Guests are sure to enjoy this excellent “bird’s-eye view” atop a grand observation tower that offers an expansive view of the Delaware River area and the foliage surrounding the region in October.

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