New England gets a lot of credit for being a beautiful place in the fall. I have been in Maine in October, and I can tell you that yes, it is gorgeous. But as a Pennsylvanian, I can tell you that Pennsylvania autumns are just as pretty.
One of the best parts about fall (besides the pumpkins, hot apple cider, and apple cider donuts) is seeing the leaves transform from green to various shades of yellow, orange, and red. If you’re looking for an autumn adventure, here are some of the best places to view fall foliage in Pennsylvania.
The Northern Fall Foliage zone includes northern Wayne County and the entirety of Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter, and McKean Counties. For the ultimate on the road foliage experience, drive along routes 6, 44, 49, 144, 449, and 872.
The Allegheny National Forest is Pennsylvania’s only National Forest and its 513,175 acres of hardwood-laden is perfect for a spectacular fall foliage tour in Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren counties. Within the forest, you can hike hundreds of acres of Trailways or float along the Allegheny River and sightsee from your boat, kayak, or canoe.
Pine Creek Gorge, perhaps better known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, is nearly 50 miles long and 1,000 feet deep. During early October, these miles and miles feature deep red, vibrant yellows, and brilliant purple leaves. Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Park both offer some of the best fall views of the canyon. For a bike tour of the Gorge’s views, be sure to check out the historic Pine Creek Rail Trail!
The Kinzua Viaduct was once the world’s longest, highest railroad bridge. Today, the Kinzua Sky Walk provides a breathtaking view of McKean County and all its fall foliage.
A popular destination for waterfall lovers, Ricketts Glen provides an especially beautiful view in the fall when the maples are in full color. Hiking the entirety of the Falls Trail will take you past all 23 waterfalls and the drive itself is almost just as pretty along the beautiful Pennsylvania roads.
The Central Fall Foliage Zone includes central Wayne and Pike counties and stretches across the central third of the state through Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties
Big Pocono State Park is located at the top of Camelback Mountain in the Pocono Mountain Region. In an area already known as both a summer and winter vacation hotspot, the Pocono Mountains region is also a destination for breathtaking fall views. The Park’s summit overlooks the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and beyond and is the best place for viewing fall foliage in mid-October.
The Oil Heritage Region, located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region, offers both historic and autumnal charm in its 50-mile area. The birthplace of the first commercially successful oil well, the Oil Heritage Region boasts vivid yellow, orange, and red leaves across the hillsides that frame the Victorian towns and historical artifacts.
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a wonderful place to experience the Pittsburgh skyline and picturesque countryside surrounded by all the wonderful colors of autumn. Learn about Pittsburgh’s landscape and history through signs located along the riverfront while you take in the scenic views. The Duquesne and Monongahela Incline are also great ways to experience a superior vantage point of Pittsburgh’s foliage.
This small, Carbon County borough is a popular destination every season but is particularly bustling come early-to-mid-October when the fall foliage is at peak season. Jim Thorpe hosts Fall Foliage Weekends the first three weekends of October. These yearly events draw large crowds from both near and far. Just outside Jim Thorpe are also Glen Onoko, Lehigh Gorge State Park, and Hickory Run State Park, all of which also offer spectacular views of the vivid fall foliage.
The Southern Fall Foliage zone includes areas of the state south and east through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford, and southeast Somerset Counties.
Visit Gettysburg to witness the unparalleled charm of seeing 1,400 Civil War monuments and memorials surrounded by a scenic backdrop of multicolored foliage. While you’re there, don’t miss out on battlefield reenactments and guided horseback battlefield tours. Learn the true history of this historic area while appreciating its scenic beauty today.
If you find yourself in or around Philly, Longwood gardens is one of the best places to surround yourself with nature of the season. Longwood Gardens encompasses more than 1,000 acres in the heart of Brandywine Valley, Bucks County, and is one of the biggest and the best places to view colorful fall foliage.
The site where General George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River in 1776 is now the Washington Crossing Historic Park. This interpretive center tells the history of this famous winter crossing and also preserves the early history of Taylorsville. In late October, you can explore the nature trails and historic buildings while taking in the picturesque, autumn scenery.
For more places to view fall foliage in Pa:
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.