15 of the Most Beautiful Spots to See Fall Foliage in the Laurel Highlands

While there is incredible fall foliage in all of Pennsylvania, there are few places that I love visiting more in autumn than the Laurel Highlands.

This three-county region in southwestern PA is a great outdoor destination throughout the year and is even home to some incredible history. However, there is no more beautiful time to explore this region than in the fall.

While it varies a bit throughout the area, the best time to visit the Laurel Highlands to see fall colors is usually the first and second weeks of October. However, even if you are a bit earlier or later than that, you can still see some great colors.

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In fact, I’ve been able to find pockets of foliage in the region as early as mid-September and as late as early November. This varied season means that you can usually find some beautiful scenes for 6-8 weeks during the autumn.

So, without further ado, here are a few of my personal favorite spots to enjoy fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Cucumber Falls

Fall foliage at Cucumber Falls in the Laurel Highlands
Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park is a great spot to visit in the fall.

There are many waterfalls in western PA, but there are few that I enjoy more than Cucumber Falls. Even better, in the autumn, this is an incredible spot to visit.

Cucumber Falls is one of several waterfalls located in Ohiopyle State Park and is one of the largest waterfalls in the region. In the fall, the trees above the waterfall come alive with color, making this one of the most beautiful spots in the park to visit (though not the only as you’ll see below).

Mount Davis

View from the tower on Mount Davis in Pennsylvania
Fall is a great time to visit Mount Davis and enjoy the views from atop the tower.

Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania and is located at an elevation of 3,213 feet. Atop the hillside, a 50-foot observation tower offers views over the trees and into the surrounding hills.

From the top of the observation tower, the beauty of southern Somerset County and northwestern Maryland comes into full view, especially in the autumn when the colors from here can be spectacular.

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Even if you don’t climb the fire tower, this is still a great spot from which to enjoy the beauty of the season.

Packsaddle Covered Bridge

Packsaddle Covered Bridge during peak fall colors in PA
Packsaddle Covered Bridge is strikingly beautiful in the autumn.

Pennsylvania is home to more than 2o0 historic covered bridges, but only one is located directly above a natural waterfall: Packsaddle Covered Bridge.

Located in Somerset County, this bridge really comes alive in the autumn when the oranges and yellows of the trees surrounding the bridge add a lot of beauty to the area and stand out against the red color of the bridge and the flowing water below it.

The Natural Waterslides

Fall at the Natural Waterslides in Ohiopyle Pennsylvania
The Natural Waterslides in Ohiopyle State Park is gorgeous in the fall.

The Natural Waterslides is one of the most popular spots to visit in Ohiopyle State Park. While this is mostly known as an area for swimming, during the fall, it’s also incredibly beautiful.

Located along Meadow Run, this section of the stream bed features a chute that has been carved directly into the sandstone. Surrounding this area, there is a large area of rocky shoreline that is perfect for enjoying this scenic spot. In the fall, this area is often strewn with colorful leaves.

At the top of the waterslides, a tree stretches over the stream and is often a brilliant yellow color in the autumn, which really makes this scene pop.

Beam Rocks

People sitting on Beam Rocks in southwestern Pennsylvania
The view from Beam Rocks is spectacular in the fall

Beam Rocks is an overlook located near the Somerset County/Westmoreland County line in Forbes State Forest.

An easy half-mile trail leads from the parking area to this rock outcropping located on the edge of the hillside. This spot offers great views of this beautiful forest and especially comes alive in the fall.

Along the hike to the rocks, the forest surrounding the trail is also quite beautiful with the ferns and the trees contrasting nicely to create one of the most beautiful forested areas in the region.

Ohiopyle Falls

Fall at Ohiopyle Falls in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania
A roaring Ohiopyle Falls amidst fall foliage.

Ohiopyle Falls is the focal point of Ohiopyle State Park and is a great easy-to-reach and even handicapped-accessible waterfall to visit.

Spanning the enter width of the Youghiogheny River, this powerful waterfall drops 15-20 feet in height. Adjacent to the waterfall, there are several viewing areas that offer incredible views of this beautiful waterfall.

For even more views, head to the opposite side of the river and follow the trails to more rustic viewing areas.

Linn Run State Park

Hiking at Linn Run State Park near Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Hiking along Linn Run offers a chance to experience the beauty of the area in the fall.

Linn Run State Park is a 600-acre park near Ligonier, PA, and is a great place to enjoy fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

Two great trails to hike in the park are the Adams Falls Trail and the Flat Rock Trail, both of which leave from the same parking area on the northern end of the park.

These two short trails offer the chance to not only see great fall foliage, but also some of the most beautiful spots in this great little park.

Great Allegheny Passage

Man biking Great Allegheny Passage in the fall
The Great Allegheny Passage is a great bike ride in the autumn.

The Great Allegheny Passage is a rail-trail that extends 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. Along the way, this trail passes through some of the most isolated and beautiful spots in the Laurel Highlands.

The most scenic section, in my opinion, is from Connellsville to Confluence and passes through the aforementioned Ohiopyle State Park. However, nearly this entire trail is incredibly scenic and you can’t go wrong with wherever you bike or walk it during the fall foliage season.

Wolf Rocks

Wolf Rocks in Forbes State Forest
Wolf Rocks is an excellent spot to see fall foliage in Westmoreland County. (Photo used courtesy of DiscoverTheBurgh.com)

Wolf Rocks is located in Forbes State Forets and provides a commanding view of the forests of Westmoreland County.

From the parking area, which is located only a short drive from Beam Rocks and Linn Run State Park, a four-mile loop trail winds its way through the forest towards this beautiful overlook, with the vista being located in the middle of the loop.

The trail to the rocks is somewhat rocky but is relatively flat and easy, so shouldn’t provide much difficulty for most visitors.

Kentuck Road

Red trees along Kentuck Knob in Fayette County PA
Kentuck Road is a beautiful drive near Ohiopyle State Park.

There are many beautiful roads to drive during the fall in the Laurel Highlands but few are more scenic than Kentuck Road.

While the whole road is beautiful, the three-quarter-mile stretch from Kentuck Knob to Ohiopyle Road is easily the most beautiful. Here, maples trees and their beautiful red leaves make for an incredible fall scene in the Laurel Highlands.

While it’s not a long drive, it’s beautiful enough and near enough to a few other places on this list that it’s definitely worth going a bit out of your way to see.

Covered Bridges in the Laurel Highlands

Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA
There are 11 historic covered bridges in the Laurel Highlands.

There are a total of 11 historic covered bridges in the Laurel Highlands (10 in Somerset County and one in Westmoreland County). While I mentioned one of them above, they are all great spots to visit during the fall foliage season.

The great part about the region’s covered bridges is that they are almost all located in rural and forested settings, where you can see them surrounded by the incredible colors of fall.

Barronvale Covered Bridge, which is pictured above, is just one of these great bridges.

Keystone State Park

Trail in Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania
Fall foliage along a trail in Keystone State Park.

Keystone State Park is located in the northwestern part of the region and is a great spot to visit to see fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

The park is home to eight miles of hiking trails, including a two-mile hike that encircles Keystone Lake. This trail is a great way to experience the beauty of this park and enjoy fall colors in the Laurel Highlands.

Of course, if you’d rather not hike, there are several spots along the lake where you can enjoy the beauty of the area from near your car.

Baughman Rock

View from Baughman Rock Overlook in PA's Ohiopyle State Park
Baughman Rock is a spectacular overlook in Ohiopyle State Park to visit in the fall.

Ohiopyle State Park doesn’t have many vistas, but one great one it does have is Baughman Rock.

Baughman Rock (which isn’t to be confused with a similarly named outcropping on Mount Davis) offers a commanding view over the Youghiogheny Valley around the park. Because of the way it faces, this is an especially good spot to visit for sunrise.

You can reach this spot via a hiking trail from the town of Ohiopyle or drive to within a few yards of this beautiful vista.

Laurel Hill State Park

Jones Mill Dam during Fall in the Laurel Highlands
The beautiful Jones Mill Dam in Laurel Hill State Park.

Laurel Hill State Park is probably best known for its large collection of historical buildings, a feature that makes it one of the most historic state parks in PA. However, if you’re looking for the best places to see fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands, this is definitely a spot that can’t be missed.

This 4,000-acre park is home to a large lake and 15 miles of hiking trails, so there are a lot of places to head to check out the autumn colors.

In my opinion, one of the best hiking destinations in the park is the historic Jones Mill Dam. This spot not only features a beautiful man-made waterfall but also allows you to see the fall foliage in the most scenic corner of this park.

Fallingwater

Visiting Frank Lloyd's Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.
The classic view of Fallingwater is beautiful in the autumn, even when the colors haven’t popped yet.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater is a great spot to visit throughout the year, but its classic view comes alive in the fall.

From this viewpoint, this iconic home is surrounded by beautiful leaves that come alive in the autumn. Even visiting a bit early in the foliage season, I was still able to capture some great color behind the home.

Of course, while you are visiting, you should also take the time to tour this interesting home.

Do you have a favorite place to enjoy fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for even more great natural beauty? Check out our favorite counties in PA for outdoor adventure, the 7 Natural Wonders of PA, and the best state parks in PA for waterfall lovers.


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