When and Where to View the Best Fall Foliage in PA

Nothing signals the advent of autumn in Pennsylvania like when the state’s natural landscape begins to burst with glittering displays of red, yellow, and purple. From the large-scale transformations in Allegheny National Forest and Rothrock State Forest to historical sights framed by varying shades of gold, visitors can catch a glimpse of this annual spectacle by foot, bike, or car!

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

1. Big Pocono State Park

Tannersville

Best viewing time: mid-October

Situated on the slopes and summit of Camelback Mountain in the Pocono Mountains, Big Pocono State Park is a natural viewing area for fall colors.

For the best views: Walk to the park’s summit to witness autumn’s eye-catching takeover of a large area of eastern Pennsylvania and portions of New Jersey and New York.

2. Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg

Best viewing time: late October

Explore the shrine to the monumental Civil War at Gettysburg National Military Park. There are more than 1,400 monuments and memorials outlined with beautiful, multicolored shrubbery during mid-October.

For the best views: Take a self-guided auto tour or gain knowledge from a licensed guide who will lead you to the best sights and help you understand the battlefield from the comfort of your own vehicle.

3. Great Allegheny Passage

Homestead

Best viewing time: early October

Bike in the woods foliage Great Allegheny Passage
Great Allegheny Passage | Credit @allisonleevannoy via IG

The Great Allegheny Passage supplies nearly 150 miles of hiking and biking trails between Homestead, Pennsylvania, and Cumberland, Maryland. Hop on the trail in Ohiopyle to experience the autumn-activated beauty of Ohiopyle State Park.

For the best views: Adventure Baughman Trail and Baughman Rock Overlook at Ohiopyle State Park. This steep, rocky, 3.4-mile trail is a challenging hike but well worth the effort to see the dramatic panoramic vista of the Youghiogheny River Gorge.

4. Washington Crossing Historic Park

Washington Crossing

Best viewing time: late October

October is an ideal time to experience Washington Crossing Historic Park, which commemorates the site where General George Washington and his troops crossed the icy Delaware River in 1776. Stroll along nature trails and historic buildings to discover the history of Washington’s crossing and Taylorsville, a town founded in the early 1800s.

For the best views: Climb Bowman’s Hill Tower for a 14-mile view of the Delaware River and its surrounding areas.

5. Kinzua Bridge State Park

Jewett

Best viewing time: early-to-mid October

Kinzua Bridge in Autumn
Kinzua Bridge State Park

Kinzua Bridge State Park is the site of the Kinzua Viaduct, formerly the world’s highest and longest railroad bridge at 301-feet tall and 2,053 feet long.

For the best views: A skywalk supplies superb views of the Kinzua Creek Valley year-round, and the valley is most beautiful when splashed with fall colors. Plus, a glass-bottom viewing area provides a look at the remnants of the famous viaduct.

6. Pine Creek Gorge

Wellsboro

Best viewing time: early October

Pine Creek Gorge is encased by Tioga State Forest, which turns shades of red, purple, and yellow in the autumn. Catch the best views of the 47-mile-long, 1,450-foot-deep gorge at Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Pont State Park.

For the best views: Drive along Pine Creek Gorge’s west rim to catch an eyeful of color and see northern Pennsylvania birds and other wildlife. Or hike the Pine Creek Rail Trail, a 62-mile route that runs through the gorgeous gorge.

7. Allegheny National Forest

Marienville

Best viewing time: late September or early October

Fall Foliage Birds Eye view Allegheny National Forest
Allegheny National Forest

Allegheny National Forest is filled with deciduous trees with a wide array of warm reds, lively yellows, and deep oranges in autumn. Take a leisurely drive through the colorful forest or choose from a variety of hiking and biking trails to see the foliage up close.

For the best views: Hop on the National Longhouse Scenic Byway, a 27-mile loop through the Allegheny National Forest’s core, for postcard-worthy vistas.

8. Oil Region National Heritage Area

Oil City

Best viewing time: mid-October

Don’t be fooled by the region’s petroleum-centered name and heritage, Pennsylvania’s Oil Region National Heritage Area has more than 50 miles of paved trails colliding with beautiful landscapes, which are especially scenic in the fall.

For the best views: Tour the region’s unique population of Victorian houses to see the structures surrounded by vivid colors.

9. Presque Isle State Park

Erie

Best viewing time: mid-October

Presque Isle State Park is located on a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that unites with Lake Erie, providing wonderful opportunities for leaf peepers to catch reflections of foliage in the water.

For the best views: Step into the Tom Ridge Environmental Center for free admission to interactive exhibits and an overview of the park from a 75-foot observation tower. Then, hit the 11 miles of hiking trails for an up-close encounter of the morphing scenery.

10. Rothrock State Forest

Huntingdon

Best viewing time: mid-October

fall foliage birds eye view rothrock state park
Rothrock State Park | Credit @justin_herrold via IG

Situated in the heart of Pennsylvania, the Rothrock State Forest has tons of areas to view autumn colors, including the Seven Mountains area, the shores of Raystown Lake, and on its nearly 300 miles of hiking trails.

For the best views: Alan Seeger Natural Area has some of the oldest tress in the state, scenic bridges and a beautiful creek, while the overlook at the summit of Tussey Mountain pairs views of the nearby Penn State University with dazzling fall panoramas.

11. Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Pittsburgh

Best viewing time: mid-October

On the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, visitors can admire Pittsburgh’s landscape while learning about the city’s storied past through colorful, interpretive signs highlighting notable historical events, areas of cultural significance, and facts about native wildlife.

For the best views: Check out the Three Rivers Heritage Trail map for recommended access points to the riverside trail and to see Pittsburgh’s skyline tower above red, orange, and gold-infested greenery.

12. Delaware State Forest

Dingmans Ferry

Best viewing time: mid-October

Hike or bike through Delaware State Forest's Thunder Swamp Trail System, a 45-mile network of scenic interconnected trails.

For the best views: Buckle up and take a drive on PA Route 402 through the forest for supreme views of fall foliage.

13. Pennsylvania Route 6

Galeton

Best viewing time: mid-to-late October

Designated by National Geographic as one of the most scenic drives in the United States, Pennsylvania Route 6 takes motorists through 11 counties and stretches more than 400 miles across northern Pennsylvania.

For the best views: Explore the Rt. 6 Artisan Trail, a diverse region filled with rich history. On the trail you’ll find small towns with character and big-time creativity, which are enhanced with color during the month of October.

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