Throughout Pennsylvania, there are many fantastic vistas that provide amazing and unique views of the state.
During my travels, I’ve had a chance to visit many great scenic overlooks in PA and thought it was time to share a few of my favorites with you.
So, if you are looking for the best views in PA, here are a few in every corner of the state that are worth checking out.
Hyner View State Park
There are few better scenic overlooks in PA than the one at Hyner View State Park. In fact, the view is so good that an entire state park has been set up just so people can enjoy it.
Located in Clinton County, the vista at Hyner View State Park offers a great view over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the mountains that surround it. If you’re lucky, you might even see hang gliders taking off from just below the overlook.
Located far above Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Hawn’s Overlook offers an amazing view that is well worth seeing if you are exploring the area.
Hawn’s Overlook is reached via a short and relatively easy hiking trail that starts at a separate overlook, Ridenour Overlook, which provides views of the lake’s dam. However, the view from Hawn’s Overlook, which offers an unobstructed view over the lightly developed shoreline, is amazingly impressive and worth the short hike to reach.
Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Mount Washington is the only totally urban vista on this list. However, what it lacks in relaxing nature, it more than makes up for with a seriously impressive view.
Mount Washington is separated from downtown Pittsburgh by the Monogahela River, and it’s possible to drive or to take a historic funicular to the top. At the top of the hill, take time to walk the 1.25-mile Grandview Avenue and enjoy the amazing views of the city that is spread out before you.
The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is an amazing destination for outdoor lovers, and there are many great vistas from which to view this impressive site. Of the relatively easy to access vistas, my favorite is the view from Barbour Rock.
Barbour Rock is located at the end of a half-mile handicapped-accessible trail. From this spot, you have a clear view looking down the forested hillsides of the gorge. The scope of the vista is what truly makes this one of the best views in PA as it seems like you can see for miles in almost every direction.
Hawk Rock Overlook
Hawk Rock Overlook is a great spot along the Appalachian Trail a short distance north of Harrisburg.
From the community of Duncannon, the Appalachian Trail winds steeply up the hillside for a mile. At the top of the ridge, Hawk Rock offers an expansive view over the town far below, the Susquehanna River, and the Juniata River.
Nearby, there’s another great vista that provides even more great views.
High Knob Overlook
There are many great views in Pennsylvania’s Loyalsock State Forest, but few can compete with High Knob Overlook.
Located in Sullivan County, this overlook offers incredible views over the state forest and this sparsely populated corner of northeastern PA. This vista can be reached via the Loyalsock Trail or you can drive to within steps of this great view.
Milford Knob is one of several overlooks in the Cliff Park Trail System in the northern Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
While the other overlooks nearby offer great views of the Delaware Valley, Milford Knob features an impressive overview of downtown Milford in addition to the northern reaches of the water gap.
This vista can be reached via a short, but steep hike from near Milford. You can also hike additional trails in the area to go past several other fantastic overlooks and a beautiful waterfall.
Big Mountain Overlook
Of all the scenic overlooks in PA that I’ve visited, none may have a more expansive view than the one at Big Mountain Overlook.
Located in Buchanan State Forest on the dividing line between Franklin and Fulton Counties near McConnellsburg, Big Mountain Overlook offers sweeping views of rural Franklin County and Tuscarora Mountain. While there are hiking trails that crisscross the mountain, most opt to drive right up to this impressive vista via Tower Road.
Ohiopyle State Park in southwestern PA is known more for its waterfalls and white water rafting than for its vistas. However, the impressive Baughman Rock is one overlook that is definitely worthy of inclusion on this list.
Baughman Rock is another overlook that can be seen either via a hiking trail or from a short walk after parking in the nearby parking lot.
From the viewing area, which is located on the edge of a slanted rock outcropping, there are excellent views across the Youghiogheny River Valley. This is an especially great spot to visit for sunrise.
Band Rock Vista
Band Rock Vista is located in the northern reaches of Loyalsock State Forest in Lycoming County, PA in an area known as the McIntyre Wild Area.
It is said that in years past, musicians would ascend to this vista and play music, filling the entire valley with their wondrous sounds. This is what gives the rock outcropping here its name.
Today, this is an isolated part of the forest that can be reached via a narrow and bumpy road (only high-clearance vehicles recommended) followed by an easy walk along a part of the road that is too rutted for nearly all vehicles.
From Band Rock Vista, there is a commanding view to the south over the Lycoming Creek Valley.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Hawk Moutain Sanctuary is the only privately-owned spot on this list, but the view from the peak of the mountain is worthy of inclusion on this list.
Hawk Mountain is best known for its amazing raptor viewing during the fall migration, but the area offers great views throughout the year. While there are several overlooks at the sanctuary, including one that is handicapped accessible, the most popular is the North Overlook.
This spot offers an incredible 200-degree view of the valley far below and is located along a challenging but fun hiking trail.
Marie Antoinette Overlook
Located near Wyalusing in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Marie Antoinette Overlook is another spot that offers a great view over the Susquehanna River.
The name may jump out to some as odd, but the vista overlooks an area of land that was known as French Azilum. This spot served as a refuge for French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution, and it’s said that Marie Antoinette would have come here had she escaped the guillotine.
This overlook features a rather unique series of stone structures that were built in the 1930s. These add even more interesting history to this spot.
The Kennerdell Overlook in Venango County provides a fantastic view of the Allegheny River as it makes its way through northwestern Pennsylvania. If you are visiting this corner of the state, this is a spot you won’t want to miss.
This overlook can be driven to and features signage that offers a bit of history about the area. Below the lookout, the Allegheny River snakes its way through Clear Creek State Forest. While there’s really only one view here, it’s quite an impressive one.
Jacks Mountain Overlook
Jacks Mountain Overlook is located in Mifflin County and offers a commanding view over the Kishacoquillas Valley, known locally as Big Valley.
This overlook is located adjacent to a busy road, so it’s not always the most peaceful. However, the views that it provides are well worth taking the time to see, especially at sunset. If you are lucky, you might even enjoy the lookout with some of the local Amish in their unique yellow buggies.
You can also (very carefully) cross Wills Road and check out a second overlook on the opposite side of the road.
Flagstaff Mountain Park Overlook
Flagstaff Mountain Park Overlook is located high above the Poconos community of Jim Thorpe.
From this vista, which is just a few steps from a parking area, you can see nearly all of this charming community, as well as the forested hillsides that surround it. You can also see the Lehigh River far below and the valleys that it has carved as it snakes its way through the Pocono Mountains.
Is one of your favorite scenic overlooks in PA not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.