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10 Insanely Beautiful Destinations for Fall Foliage in Pennsylvania

I don’t know about you, but fall is my favorite month in Pennsylvania. The weather is crisp, waterfalls are flowing, and the changing leaves are some of the most colorful you’ll find anywhere in the northeast.

Unfortunately, this beautiful season is very short, and it can be difficult to figure out where to visit to maximize your leaf peeping. So, while I’m sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, more great destinations to view great fall colors, here are 10 of my favorite places to go for insanely awesome leaf peeping.

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Fall at Pine Creek Gorge below Turkey Path

Fall is a very beautiful time to visit the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

There might be no better destination for fall colors than the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Known officially as Pine Creek Gorge, the PA Grand Canyon offers miles and miles of forested trails, many beautiful waterfalls, and great observation platforms that anyone can visit.

To see the fall colors, head to Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park and check out their observation decks and the trails that lead down to the bottom of the gorge from both. Another great option is a walk or bike ride along the Pine Creek Rail Trail along the creek at the bottom of the gorge.

Ricketts Glen State Park

Harrison Wright Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park.

Beautiful fall foliage can be found along the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Pennsylvania’s best destination for waterfall lovers is at its best during the fall foliage season. Not only are the waterfalls generally flowing well thanks to the early fall rain, but the leaves are breathtaking, and the crowds, at least during the week, are minimal.

In my opinion, the Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park, which takes you past the park’s 23 named waterfalls, is the best hike in the entire state. And, visiting the fall foliage season gives you a chance to not only spend time on the trail, but to also drive through some of the most beautiful roads in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Governor Dick Observation Tower

Best destinations for fall color in Pennsylvania - Governor Dick Observation Tower

I’ve only visited during the early spring, but it’s easy to see how beautiful this view would be during fall.

Located just outside of Mount Gretna, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, is the Park at Governor Hill. And, at the top of the hill, surrounded by thick second-growth forest is the Governor Dick Observation Tower.

The observation tower atop Governor Dick reaches only 66 feet into the sky, but that’s enough to give you a bird’s eye view in nearly every direction. From here, you can see thousands of trees in five different Pennsylvania Dutch Country counties. The 3-mile roundtrip hike through the park makes for a great and relatively easy hike through the woods.

Marie Antoinette Overlook

Panorama from Marie Antoinette Overlook

Marie Antoinette is beautiful during any season, but would clearly be stunning with some colorful fall foliage.

Located along Route 6 in Bradford County, the Marie Antoinette Overlook is one of the most scenic you’ll find anywhere in Pennsylvania. The view overlooks a bend in the Susquehanna River that once was the site of French Azilum, one of Pennsylvania’s most interesting and least-known historical sites.

History aside, however, the view from this overlook is quite expansive and is definitely breathtaking when fall foliage is at its peak.

Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park is incredibly beautiful with fall foliage

Ohiopyle State Park is incredibly beautiful with fall foliage. (Image used courtesy of Rusty Glessner Photography)

There’s no doubt that Ohiopyle State Park is beautiful any season of the year, but it comes alive during autumn. The parks many forested trails and hidden waterfalls lend themselves to amazing autumn scenes. However, the fall colors here are simply breathtaking and make the entire park look much more beautiful than it does any other time of the year.

In addition to the park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which sits just outside of the park’s boundaries is equally stunning amidst the beautiful colors of fall in Pennsylvania.

Bowman’s Hill Tower

Autumn view from Bowmans Hill Tower

The view from the top of Bowman’s Hill Tower is amazing even a bit after peak fall foliage.

Located along the Delaware River near New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is Bowman’s Hill Tower. Perched on a hilltop used by George Washington’s troops before his famous crossing of the Delaware River, Bowman’s Hill Tower offers an amazing view of the Delaware River Valley in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The tower was built in 1929 and has 360-degree views that can stretch up to 14 miles on a clear day. The forested hills in the area provide an amazing backdrop and make this observation tower an amazing place to visit during peak fall colors in Pennsylvania.

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania in Fall

Fall is a beautiful time to visit the quaint town of Jim Thorpe.

The small Carbon County borough of Jim Thorpe is a popular destination all year long, but really comes alive during fall foliage season. The borough hosts Fall Foliage Weekends the first three weekends of October each year, which bring thousands of people to the downtown area of Jim Thorpe.

However, outside of the borough, the foliage is even more stunning with places like Glen Onoko, Lehigh Gorge State Park, and Hickory Run State Park being very popular destinations for hiking and leaf peeping.

Raystown Lake

Hawn's Overlook at Raystown Lake, PA

Hawn’s Overlook at Raystown Lake is one of the best views I’ve seen in Pennsylvania.

You might think of Raystown Lake as a summer destination, but since almost the entire lake is surrounded by forest, that makes this area an ideal spot for fall foliage.

Lake cruises leave from both Seven Points Marina and Lake Raystown Resort until at least mid-October and give visitors a chance to see the beautiful lake at water level.

Another great option is to visit the many overlooks along Raystown Lake. My personal favorite view is from Hawn’s Overlook near the lake’s northern end, which is pictured above. However, the views from almost anywhere are quite stunning.

Kinzua Bridge

Kinzua Bridge during autumn

Kinzua Bridge offers an amazing view of the valley and is especially scenic during autumn. (Photo used courtesy of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau)

At one point in time, Kinzua Bridge was the world’s longest and tallest bridge. However, while it no longer holds that title, it’s still impressive. After a tornado destroyed 60% of the bridge in 2003, the bridge was changed to an overlook and reopened for visitors in 2011.

Today, the bridge provides an amazing view of the Kinzua Valley in McKean County, Pennsylvania. Peering down, you can still see the twisted remains of the rest of the bridge on the ground below.

Jack’s Mountain Overlook

View-from-Jacks-Mountain-of-Big-Valley PA

The view of Big Valley from the top of Jack’s Mountain. (Photo by Rhonda Moore and used courtesy of the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau)

The view from the top of Jack’s Mountain in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, gives leaf peepers the chance to see into two different valleys. The most scenic of these is Big Valley, where farmland and Amish communities are the big draw. If you visit on a clear day, you can see several miles across the valley to the forested hills on the far side and even into Centre County.

Once you’ve soaked in the view, head down the mountain into Big Valley and check out Mifflin County’s unique Amish community.

What’s your favorite fall foliage destination in Pennsylvania? Let me know in the comments section below.

AUTHOR - Jim Cheney

Jim Cheney is the creator of UncoveringPA.com. Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited all 67 counties in the state. Jim has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.

36 Comments

  • Melissa Barnum

    Once again Hyner View is not included in the list.

    • Jim Cheney

      There are so many great places I could have added to the list, Melissa. It was really, really hard to narrow it down to 10 from all over the state.

  • Marc Domanski

    Penns Vista near Poe Valley is nice

    • Jim Cheney

      I haven’t heard of that one, Marc. I’ll have to check it out sometime.

      • Lou

        Poe Valley is great. Really a special place. Definetly worth your time. There are a couple of great views along the road that Penns Vista is on but that is the best.

  • Rebecca Oister

    World’s End State Park. If the world was going to come to and end that is where I’d want to be.

  • Tracy Kohut

    Brady’s Bend

  • Kim Bradford

    Definitely Hyner View!

  • Charlotte Noel-Klunk

    King’s Gap State Park will always be one of my favorites…

  • Diana Russell

    What about McConnell ‘ s Mills in Lawrence County.

  • Robert Nemmer

    Starting Sept. 24th is the the 62nd annual Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, Penna that runs about 1 week. Great fun in a small town, beautiful views of the changing leaves along the Clarion River banks and along Toby Creek.I grew up there. Highly recommended.Thank you for your great site.

  • Stacey Dick

    Love finding new and interesting places I my own state. Nice overnight/day trips

  • Abby Pittenger

    So disappointed that Lake Wallenpaupack didn’t make the list! It couldn’t be any more picturesque in October! I suppose we should count our blessings to be surrounded by so many beautiful places, but I am so entirely partial to the splendor surrounding Lake Wally. We are just starting to see the signs of change here, and within a week I think we will be in full glory!

  • Desiree Remas

    Sorry to see you have critics, although suggestions and discussions are useful. Clearly we’re just surrounded by opportunity in this state! 🙂

    • Jim Cheney

      I don’t look at them as critics, just people who are clearly passionate about certain places. I’m sure I’ll do a follow up to this article next year as there are definitely more than 10 great places in Pennsylvania to view fall foliage.

  • Deb

    Hawk Mountain is another one that should be on the list.

  • Gail McClure

    World’s End and High Knob

  • Ronald Ditty

    There are so many, I don’t envy your job. The view overlooking Pickett Charge/Longstreets Assault is awesome any time, but particularly beautiful during the changing seasons. Worlds End as mentioned. Almost anywhere in the Poconos. The north side of Peters Mountain on route 225 overlooking the Susquehanna looking towards Halifax and northeast towards Elizabethville is great also.

  • Lynne Howell

    Lamb’s Lookout on Armenia Mountain near Alba in Bradford County is also a beautiful view any time of the year. If you haven’t been there, take a side trip someday. I have been to several of the places that you mentioned, and they are all scenic. I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!

  • Betty Bailey

    I already know and love Jim Thorpe. Now I’m interested to see Marie Antoinette Overlook and French Azilum!

    • Donna Saltzer

      French Azilum is closed for the season

  • D.Dooling

    “The Pinnacle”, a look-out vista along the Appalachian Trail.

  • Joe Pantuso

    You mentioned Kinzua Bridge; a little further east is Kinzua Dam/Allegheny reservoir with some fantastic overlook areas into the valley and the dam!

    • Adriene S.

      Agreed, Joe – the Jake’s Rocks Overlook at Allegheny Reservoir is spectacular!

  • De Cummins

    I agree there are so many choices, but I too thought Hyner View should have made the list.

  • Sylvia Gentner

    Jim, I think that you did an amazing job just getting this out there. It is really greatly appreciated, because other than the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon where I am from, I had no knowledge of these other places you listed. I am sure that I am not the only one. I will be making some day trips from Altoona, PA with my grandchildren to see some of them. Thank you!

  • Randy John Ickes

    none from Somerset County!!!!!! The prettiest county in the state!!!!!! I could show you waterfalls,overlooks,beautiful tree lined streams,swimmin holes,beautiful wooded areas,suer farmland etc. etc. etc.-All which are gorgeous in the fall!!!

    • Jim Cheney

      I’ve spent a good deal of time in Somerset County, and it is very beautiful. Keep in mind that this is just a list of beautiful places for fall. I’m not claiming at all that these are the 10 best places. I haven’t been to enough of the state to make that judgement with authority.

  • Carol Bonsell

    The scenery at Raystown Lake is spectacular every season…particularly in the fall. If you are lucky enough to be out on the lake on a calm day, the lake is like a mirror. You will get the most magnificent photos of the fall foliage reflecting on the water!

  • Larry Pizzi

    I admire you for taking on a task that’s sure to draw complaints. Thanks for all you do!

    • Jim Cheney

      Thanks, Larry. I intentionally avoided calling these the best spots, as I haven’t been enough places to note that yet. Many more great places that weren’t on this list.

  • K H Teats

    Hyner view definitely should be here

    • Randy John Ickes

      visit Somerset County now!!!! we have it all.waterfalls,back roads,scenic views,great places to eat,farms,wooded areas a plenty,and COLOR!

  • Theresa McConnell

    Wondering if you know of any beautiful spots for fall foliage/waterfalls/etc. near the airport in Northeast Philadelphia? I have most of the day to roam around…with my dog…so my options are limited to outdoor locations. Any ideas? Thanks and love this site!

    • Jim Cheney

      No waterfalls in that area, but the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is close by and very pretty. Should be beautiful this time of year.

    • Jeff Adukinas

      Pennypack Park all along the Pennypack Creek in Northeast Philadelphia and into Eastern Montogomery County is a good spot. There are a few spillways along with cascades and a few stone bridges in Huntingdon Valley area in Montgomery County. Right next to the Pennypack Trail in Bryn Athyn is the Pennypack Ecological Trust which has hiking trails of varying difficulty and is overlooks Raytharn Farm.
      Another spot that is less than a half hour drive is in Fairmount Park – the Wissahickon Gorge which the Wissahickon Creek runs through. The trail from Valley Green west to the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge (the only covered bridge in Philadelphia County) is flat, wide and offers great views of the fall colors reflecting off of the creek.

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