3 days - 12 Stops
Named “one of America’s most scenic drives” by National Geographic, this tranquil highway along Pennsylvania’s northern tier is more than 400 miles of history and heritage, linking small towns and iconic attractions. While traveling on Route 6, you’ll come across breathtaking views of unspoiled forests and mountains — the perfect route to pursue your autumn happiness. We’ve carved out an 87-mile stretch to get you started.
Know before you go: We recommend contacting your destination before your visit for their latest rules and regulations. Find up-to-date COVID-19 traveler resources on visitPA.com.
Your scenic journey through the sea of foliage kicks off in the quaint town of Wellsboro. The town’s gas-lit streets and Victorian mansions dating back to the early 1800s will leave you reveling in charm and elegance. Not far from Wellsboro continue along Route 6 and visit Pine Creek Gorge — the quintessential foliage spot, boasting stunning views and natural wildlife.
Approximately 12 miles off Route 6, the drive along the west rim of the gorge provides colorful fall scenery and loads of birds to spot. Approximately 50 miles long and more than 1,000 miles deep, the Pine Creek Gorge is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts itching to take in the crisp air and colors of the season. Adventurers can enjoy the riverbanks by renting a raft, canoe, or kayak at Pine Creek Outfitters.
If you have worked up an appetite, travel back to Wellsboro to dine at the Wellsboro House, a restored 1862 building that houses Wellsboro’s sole micro-brewery. Looking for something more cozy and quaint? Try the Log Cabin Inn Restaurant for an eatery with a northern Pennsylvania cabin atmosphere.
Time to rest up for the following day at one of Wellsboro’s several lodges. Stay the night at Bear Mountain Lodge, a little gem that is tucked away in the heart of the woods. The property has the perfect blend of adventure and casual elegance. With complimentary breakfast, a hot tub, and access to the Pine Creek Rail Trail, you are sure to find the perfect way to unwind. For a change of pace, stay at the Penn Wells Lodge, a beautifully furnished property located in downtown Wellsboro.
Austin Dam Memorial Park
Did you wake up refreshed? If so, travel west through north central PA and take a short detour to Austin Dam Memorial Park. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and a vivid reminder of one of Pennsylvania's worst disasters, the Austin Flood, the ruins of the dam still stand. Hike through the 76-acre park and take in the changing colors of the leaves mixed with a bit of local history.
As night approaches, you’ll bear witness to some of the darkest skies in PA at Cherry Springs State Park — the second International Dark Sky Park in the world and one of the best places on the Eastern Seaboard for amateur stargazing. Just 18 miles off of Route 6, Cherry Springs State Park boasts a 300-by-600-foot observation field with a 360-degree view of the sky set atop a mountain. Under ideal conditions, visitors will be starry-eyed, seeing more than 6,000 stars blanketing the sky from horizon to horizon, as well as satellites, planets, and moons.
After a long days’ worth of travel, drive just 20 minutes north to the Hotel Crittenden Taproom. Built in 1891, the hotel takes a different approach to traditional Americana fare and sports great craft microbrews on tap. You also have the option to stay the night if you choose. Or check out a more eclectic atmosphere at the Olga Gallery, Café & Bistro for a healthy dose of artwork and live music with your meal.
Spend the night at Sweden Valley Cabins, where you can find a fully stocked kitchen and games to keep you busy, such as checkers, Lincoln Logs, and puzzles. The sounds of the running stream outside the window will create the perfect relaxing atmosphere as you turn in for the evening.
Allegheny National Forest
On the road again! On day three, you’ll travel 24 miles off of Route 6 to the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, where you couldn't ask for a better setting for a fall road trip. See the range of colors from above on the Kinzua Sky Walk, which extends 625 feet into the Kinzua Gorge. Partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003, the towers of the Kinzua Viaduct were re-engineered into a skywalk in 2011 with a partial glass overlook. Visitors can now enjoy scenic vistas, picnicking, geo-caching, hiking trails, and exhibits in the visitor's center.
Your next stop is the National Historic District (Bradford) for great antique shopping and handmade chocolates along the town's Main Street. Just a little over 20 miles north, it’s even more beautiful when the tall trees come alive with color and tower skyscraper-like over the area. Bradford’s most famous store is at the Zippo/Case Museum, the only place in the world that carries the complete line of Zippo lighters and Case knives. Enjoy a self-guided tour through the 15,000-square-foot attraction that includes the world-famous Zippo Repair Clinic.
Time to eat! Check out Bradford’s Chef’s 117, a cozy hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a plethora of vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options. Its owner, Master Chef Justin, is known throughout the community for his quality food preparation. If you’re more in the mood for steak or seafood, check out Beefeaters at the Historic Carnegie Library. This four-star dining experience will be the perfect way to end your day.
As the sun goes down, it’s time to call it a night. Steeped in history and culture, The Lodge at Glendorn is a luxury nature resort designed in the style of the grand family camps of yore. Retreat and relax at this one-of-a-kind experience and be inspired. Looking for a more historic surrounding to lay your head? The Mountain Laurel Inn is an 1894 mansion with Greek and Colonial Revival architecture, Gothic doors, a circular staircase, and ornate fireplaces. A gourmet breakfast is included in your stay.