10 Amazing Places to View Fall Foliage in PA

Fall is when leaf peepers emerge and tour 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 take in the colorful foliage 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


Pine Creek Gorge - Zone 1 
Pennsylvania Wilds

Almost 50 miles long and 1,000 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.


Allegheny National Forest - Zone 1 
Pennsylvania Wilds

Scenic drives through the hardwood forests of McKean County 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 region 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, take an open cockpit bi-plane tour in a beautifully restored, vintage 1943 Boeing Stearman or float along the Allegheny River by boat, kayak or canoe and sightsee along 27 miles of water trails.


Big Pocono State Park - Zone 2 
Upstate PA

Big Pocono State Park, located at the top of Camelback Mountain in the Pocono Mountains region, 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

Try an offshore foliage paddling experience with guided Fall Foliage River Tours. Experienced guides take visitors along the Delaware River in kayaks for a leisurely paddle to experience the fall colors mirrored on the river's surface.


Oil Heritage Region - Zone 2 
Great Lakes Region

Known as the birthplace of the first commercially successful oil well, this 50-mile area in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region is also a prime spot to experience the bright shades of yellow, red and orange lining the hillsides. Boasting attractive Victorian towns, outstanding historical artifacts, scenic views and cultural traditions, the Oil Heritage Region displays its original oil country charm each autumn. The region also offers three recreational trails and the scenic Oil Creek State Park’s numerous day-hike trails.

Fall Foliage Insider’s Tip

Ride an open-air car aboard the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad to view the season’s exquisite colors throughout the region. This three-hour tour runs special fall foliage excursions throughout October to enjoy fall foliage at its best, taking a ride through the “valley that changed the world.”


Presque Isle State Park - Zone 2 
Great Lakes Region

Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region displays many beautiful autumn colors along the shore of Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park. 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 interested in leaf sightseeing along the Bay. There also are 11 miles of 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.


Great Allegheny Passage - Zone 2 
Laurel Highlands

For those exploring the scenic Laurel Highlands region 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. 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, you’ll never want to leave the Laurel Highlands!


Three Rivers Heritage Trail - Zone 2 
Pittsburgh and its Countryside

Take in 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, Mister Rogers, Andy Warhol and 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 Incline to see the views from atop Mount Washington. Filled with observation decks that overlook the city and its countryside, this 450-foot hill is an excellent vantage point for foliage.


Rothrock State Forest - Zone 2 
The Alleghenies

In the heart of the Alleghenies region, 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.


Gettysburg National Military Park - Zone 3 
Dutch Country Roads

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, but 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 in Gettysburg. 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.


Washington Crossing Historic Park - Zone 3 
Philadelphia and the Countryside

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. Harvest festivals and related events throughout the autumn season add to the fall experience at the park.

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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