While you can find peak fall colors in PA for nearly a full month from early October through early November, it can still 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 the beautiful Pennsylvania fall foliage, here are some of my favorite spots around the state.
When to See Peak Fall Foliage in PA
Peak fall foliage in PA lasts longer than just about anywhere else in the world, though the best places to visit around the state vary from week to week. It’s often possible to see great colors starting in late September in the northern counties and to still see color hanging on in mid-November, especially in the southeastern corner of the state.
Each year, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources puts out a fall foliage report starting in late September and running through early November, highlighting the best areas of the state to visit during that week. This is by far the best report to look at each year, though even within a single county, the dates of peak foliage can vary by a week or two.
Because of this, if you visit a week before peak or a week after peak, you’ll still likely encounter peak foliage in various areas around that part of the state.
To help you plan your visits ahead of time, though, I put together the map above. This map looks at the fall foliage reports for the three years previous to when it was put together (2019-2021) and combines them into one map based on the average dates of peak foliage for each county, with the first week being the first week of October and the 5th week being the last few days of October and the first week of November
While the weather can move these dates around a week or two, this is a good map to give you an idea if you are looking to book an autumn trip to PA ahead of the season.
Best Places to See Pennsylvania Fall Foliage
The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
There might be no better destination for fall foliage in PA than the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Known officially as Pine Creek Gorge, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon offers miles and miles of forested trails, many beautiful waterfalls, and great observation platforms that anyone can visit.
To see 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 along the Pine Creek Rail Trail along the creek at the bottom of the gorge.
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 when fall colors in PA are at their peak gives you a chance to not only spend time on the trail but to also see one of the most scenic areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Ohiopyle State Park
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. 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.
Of course, those are just a few of the incredible places to enjoy fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.
The small Carbon County borough of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is a popular destination all year long but really comes alive during autumn. 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 and is one of my favorite things to do in PA in October.
However, outside of the borough, the foliage is even more stunning with places like Lehigh Gorge State Park being very popular destinations for hiking and leaf-peeping.
Bowman’s Hill Tower
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.
You might think of Raystown Lake as a summer destination, but since almost the entire lake is surrounded by forest, this is an ideal spot for fall foliage in Pennsylvania.
Lake cruises leave from Lake Raystown Resort until at least mid-October and give visitors a chance to see the beautiful lake at water level or you can hike in Trough Creek State Park or bike the Allegrippis Trails.
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.
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.
Old City Philadelphia
Believe it or not, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery to be found in Old City Philadelphia around sites like Independence Hall.
This area of the city is not only home to some of the oldest buildings in Pennsylvania but its tree-lined streets, as well as beautiful parks like Washington Square and Franklin Square, are filled with trees. During the waning days of October, this part of the city comes to life with incredible color, and taking a walk through one of the country’s most historic areas while enjoying the fall foliage is one of my favorite things to do in PA.
McConnells Mill State Park
McConnells Mill State Park is one of my favorite parks in all of PA and is great during any season. However, during autumn, it reaches another level of beauty along the banks of Slippery Rock Creek.
Probably my favorite spot in the entire park during fall is the area around
McConnell’s Mill Covered Bridge. The red of the bridge looks amazing against the yellows and oranges of the surrounding trees.
Of course, there are also plenty of roadways around the park that are incredible to drive during the season, as well.
Hyner View State Park
Pennsylvania is full over great overlooks, but few can rival the overlook at Hyner View State Park. Given this, Hyner View is undoubtedly one of the top places to see fall foliage in PA.
The view here is 1,300 feet above the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and stretches for miles over the undisturbed woodland of Sproul State Forest. With its location in Clinton County, this is a great spot to catch the sunset on the way home from a day exploring the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Located in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is home to the state’s tallest waterfalls and some of the most incredible PA fall foliage.
The areas around Dingmans Falls and Raymondskill Falls are quite stunning during autumn. If you want some views to go along with your colors, try the Cliff Park Trails which features several miles of great hiking trails and some great vistas over the Delaware Valley.
At nearly 650 acres in size, Frick Park is the largest park in Pittsburgh and is a great place to head during fall foliage season. And, whether you like to hike or ride a bicycle, there are great trails in this park for you to get out and experience the beauty of fall foliage in Pennsylvania.
Both of these hikes will take you around beautiful woodland and through some of the most scenic parts of Pittsburgh.
Worlds End State Park
Worlds End State Park is an incredibly scenic park in Sullivan County, PA that is home to several overlooks, waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, and more.
During autumn, I love to head to Canyon Vista for its expansive views over the forested hillsides which makes this a perfect spot to see fall colors in PA.
The Reading Pagoda
The Reading Pagoda is located atop Mount Penn and overlooks downtown Reading, Pennsylvania. This Japanese-style pagoda features incredible views of downtown Reading and Berks County, and when the fall colors in PA peak, this is an amazing spot to view them from.
For me, though, the best shots are when the leaves on the trees surrounding the pagoda have turned, allowing me to get this unique building with the beautiful colors of the season.
Presque Isle State Park
While many think of Presque Isle State Park as a summertime destination thanks to its miles of beaches, this is also a fantastic spot to visit in the fall. That’s because the park is significantly less crowded, which gives you a chance to enjoy its beauty without other people around.
During autumn, taking a kayak or hiking trail deep into the interior of the park offers incredible foliage and a peacefulness that’s hard to find in Erie.
Nay Aug Park
During the fall season, Nay Aug Gorge is an amazing place with shades of yellow, orange, and red contrasting against the dark stone walls around Nay Aug Falls.
Mount Davis in Somerset County is the highest point in Pennsylvania. While the view from the ground at the peak is nothing amazing, there is a tower you can climb for incredible views overlooking southwestern Pennsylvania.
For those looking to do a bit of hiking, there are several miles of trails that crisscross the top of Mount Davis and are incredibly beautiful in autumn.
Loyalsock State Forest
Loyalsock State Forest is among the most beautiful places in northeastern Pennsylvania and is filled with waterfalls, vistas, and more.
And, while I enjoy visiting the forest throughout the year, no time is better than when it’s popping with brilliant fall colors. During this time of the year, I love checking out spots like High Knob Overlook, Dry Run Falls, Band Rock Vista, and the nearby covered bridges.
Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
This 13-mile stretch of roadway has been abandoned since the highway was rerouted in the 1960s and features two very long tunnels in addition to miles of crumbling pavement.
While this is a great spot to visit at any time of the year, I love the contrast of the abandoned tunnels and road with the incredibly beautiful fall foliage of the surrounding Buchanan State Forest.
Ralph Stover State Park
High Rocks sits high above Tohickon Creek and offers incredible views of the surrounding area from the many vistas and the hiking trail along its rim. If you are looking for a bit of excitement with your fall colors, you can also do a bit of rock climbing and kayaking in the park.
Allegheny National Forest
Allegheny National Forest in northwestern PA is over half-a-million acres in size and offers many fantastic recreational opportunities. And, with this much forested land, you know that this is an amazing place to see fall foliage in Pennsylvania.
You can also skip across the New York border to visit spots like Bridal Falls in Allegany State Forest.
Wissahickon Gorge is located within the city limits of Philadelphia, but you wouldn’t know it once you start exploring this area. If you are looking for somewhere to see fall foliage near Philly, this is a great spot to check out.
Wissahickon Gorge is home to 50 miles of hiking trails, hidden statues, and a beautiful covered bridge.
Hiking these trails offers not only the chance to explore the beauty of Philadelphia but also to enjoy some of the best fall colors in Pennsylvania.
Chimney Rocks Park
This park sits on a bluff high above Hollidaysburg, the seat of Blair County. Visitors can drive right up to the park and visit both easy-to-reach and challenging overlooks.
From these vantage points, you can get great views of Hollidaysburg far below and over the beautiful Allegheny Mountains.
There might be no better urban vista in the world than Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington, which also makes it an amazing place to see fall foliage.
From the top of Mount Washington, you can see nearly the entire city of Pittsburgh, the majestic skyscrapers of the downtown area, and the confluence of the city’s three rivers. Below you, the forested hillside creates a colorful scene that really makes this spot pop in the autumn.
Route 32 in Bucks County
I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles in Pennsylvania, and I’ve yet to come across a road more beautiful than Route 32 in Bucks County.
This stretch of roadway from Kintersville to New Hope winds its way through the forested hillsides along the Delaware River. Along the way, you can see waterfalls, covered bridges, great views of the river, and even Ringing Rocks County Park.
If you are looking for a short, but insanely beautiful road trip this fall, don’t miss this drive.
Quehanna Wild Area
The Quehanna Wild Area is an isolated region of the Pennsylvania Wilds that offers a ton of great places to enjoy fall foliage in PA. While this isn’t an area for soaring vistas, you’ll have a chance here to hike secluded trails and enjoy the beauty of autumn without the crowds you’ll find at other spots.
If you are looking for hiking destinations, the Marion Brooks Natural Area, Table Falls, and Kunes Camp are all good choices. You might also see some of Pennsylvania’s elk as they are known to inhabit this area.
While it might sound strange to include downtown Harrisburg on this list, it’s a great spot for fall foliage in Pennsylvania for two reasons: the Capitol and the Susquehanna River.
These two distinguishing features of the city give it a ton of beauty and make it a really neat spot to explore in the second half of October.
My favorite spot to view the Capitol during the season is from the rear of the building where you’ll find a beautiful fountain and some great trees in Soldier’s Grove. Views of the Susquehanna River are especially impressive from City Island and Riverfront Park.
Rothrock State Forest
Rothrock State Forest is a 215,000-acre state forest in Centre, Huntingdon, and Mifflin Counties, and, not surprisingly, there are a ton of great spots to see Pennsylvania fall foliage in this area.
However, one of my favorite areas is the three vistas along Colerain Road in northern Huntingdon County. Two of these overlooks are located directly along Colerain Road, while the third, Indian Lookout, is only a very short hike away.
Forbes State Forest
Located in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern PA, Forest State Forest is another beautiful woodland area to explore in the autumn.
Both of these areas are easy hikes from their respective parking lots but provide a great chance to see incredible fall foliage.
Spruce Flats Bog is especially unique as this high-elevation bog really comes to life with unique colors during autumn.
Marie Antoinette Overlook
Located along Route 6 in Bradford County, the Marie Antoinette Overlook is one of the most scenic vistas you’ll find anywhere in Pennsylvania. This 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.
Black Moshannon State Park
Black Moshannon State Park is not only one of the most unique state parks in PA, but it’s also a great spot to view fall foliage, especially if you love hiking relatively easy trails.
The autumn colors are extra beautiful here because the dark colored water in the lake make the foliage pop even more when hiking along the lake.
Even better, the unique bog plants that are found here really add a lot of unique color to any visit to the park.
Cook Forest State Park
Cook Forest State Park in northern PA is home to some of the largest trees in Pennsylvania, which undoubtedly makes this a great spot to visit during fall.
Aside from the giant trees of the Forest Cathedral, the views from Seneca Point and the Cook Forest Fire Tower absolutely can’t be beaten. The Clarion River, which passes through the park, is also worth exploring whether from land, by boat, or from your car.
Bake Oven Knob
There are many great overlooks along the Appalachian Trail in PA, but few offer a more commanding view than Bake Oven Knob.
Located in the northern part of the Lehigh Valley and only a short drive from Allentown, this overlook is located only a short, rocky hike away from the closest parking area. From the main vista here, you can see for many miles to the south and east.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Another great spot to enjoy fall foliage in Pennsylvania is Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County.
This park features several miles of the Appalachian Trail, along with two incredible beautiful lakes. In fact, standing along the shore of the lake and enjoying the foliage on the far side is one of my absolute favorite things to do here during the fall.
Moraine State Park
Located a short drive north of Pittsburgh, you’ll find the incredible Moraine State Park.
This park is centered around Lake Arthur and features miles of shoreline from which to enjoy the fall. Whether you opt to check out the foliage from the hiking trails, bicycle trails, or by boat, there’s a lot of beauty to see here.
One of my favorite spots in the park is the Sunken Gardens Trail, but you really can’t go wrong viewing fall foliage from anywhere in the park. Even the small roadside ponds are beautiful, as demonstrated by the photo above.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is not just one of the most historic spots in Pennsylvania, but it’s also one of the most beautiful during fall in PA.
All throughout the battlefield, fall foliage turns this landscape into an incredibly beautiful spot. Explore the park roads from your car and enjoy the bright autumn colors alongside monuments, canons, and even covered bridges.
If you want to explore American history while enjoying the season, this is a spot not to miss.
Schenley Park is a great spot for those looking to enjoy fall foliage in Pittsburgh. This nearly 500-acre park features several miles of hiking trails, playgrounds, great views of Pittsburgh’s skyline, and a beautiful lake.
Panther Hollow Lake makes for an ideal place to visit during fall as you can see the beautiful reflections of fall colors in the lake’s still waters.
Hickory Run State Park
Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos is one of my favorite parks in the state. However, during autumn it really is incredibly striking.
Whether you want to visit the incredible Hawk Falls, explore the park’s boulder field, or simply hike the many miles of hiking trails in the park, there’s a bit of something here for every outdoor lover in autumn.
However, during fall, probably my favorite spot is the park’s chapel. This small building sits adjacent to the park’s office and a dam on Hickory Run, creating one of the most beautiful spots in all of Pennsylvania.
Somerset County Covered Bridge Tour
Pennsylvania is home to more than 200 historic covered bridges, and some of the most beautiful are located in Somerset County.
There are a total of 10 covered bridges in Somerset County, and visiting them all requires traversing some of the most beautiful backroads in all of Pennsylvania.
While all the bridges in Somerset County are worth visiting, my favorite is Packsaddle Covered Bridge. This bridge is not only located in a gorgeous spot that’s worth seeing in autumn but also features a beautiful waterfall directly below it.
Chickies Rock in Lancaster County is a beautiful vista overlooking the Susquehanna River and the forested hillsides of York County.
A short hike near Columbia brings you to this rock outcropping and one of the most beautiful views during fall in Pennsylvania.
If you are looking for a scenic spot to view fall foliage in Lancaster County, look no further than the incomparable Chickies Rock.
Cuttalossa Farm in Bucks County is one of the most incredible farms in Pennsylvania. The farm dates back to the mid-1700s and was once owned by renowned painter Daniel Garber.
Today, Cuttalossa Farm can only be viewed from the road but is a simply breathtaking sight during peak fall colors in PA. While it might seem strange to include a single historic farm on this list, this is truly one of the most beautiful spots in the state.
Just remember to not cross the fence if you visit as the farm is located on private property.
Big Mountain Overlook
Big Mountain Overlook is located in Buchanan State Forest right on the border of Franklin and Fulton Counties. Of all the vistas I’ve visited in Pennsylvania, I don’t think there are any that have such an open and expansive view as Big Mountain Overlook.
From the top of Big Mountain, it feels like you can see to the end of the world as the valley opens up far below you.
During PA’s fall foliage season, this view is even more breathtaking.
Promised Land State Park
Promised Land State Park is located in Pike County in the Poconos region and features a beautiful lake and more than 50 miles of hiking trails.
One of my favorite autumn hikes is the Little Falls Trail on the western edge of the park. This short hike follows along a beautiful stream and ends at a small but very scenic waterfall.
During the autumn season, this is definitely a great hike to do if you want to experience fall foliage in the region.
North Park is located in Allegheny County and is a great spot to check out fall foliage in the Pittsburgh area.
This 3,000-acre park features many miles of hiking trails, the largest man-made lake in the county, a Gravity Hill, and biking trails.
In my opinion, the best place to see fall foliage in the park is the area around the lake as the views are quite beautiful throughout the area.
Jack’s Mountain Overlook
The view from the top of Jacks 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 draws. 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.
Benezette is a small community in Elk County, PA that is, not surprisingly, the best place to visit to see Pennsylvania’s elk herd.
Centered around the Elk Country Visitor Center, elk viewing is best in the autumn months and there are several viewing areas set up from which to view elk while here. Of course, these spots also offer great views of the fall foliage, making this a perfect spot for those that love PA wildlife to view autumn colors.
Keystone State Park
Keystone State Park in western PA’s Westmoreland County is an often overlooked park, making it a great spot to visit to see autumn colors with a bit of peace and quiet.
For the best views of foliage, hike the Lakeside Loop, a 2.2-mile trail that encircles Keystone Lake. Aside from the length, this isn’t a difficult trail but will offer incredible views of fall foliage.
Locust Lake State Park
Locust Lake State Park is another overlooked state park, with this one being located in Schuylkill County.
Here, you can view foliage from the Bicycle Trail that borders the lake on two sides or head into the woods on the miles of trails that pass through the beautiful forest surrounding the 52-acre Locust Lake.
Either way, you really can’t go wrong here.
Laurel Hill State Park
Laurel Hill State Park is located in Somerset County, and at 4,000 acres in size, there’s a lot of autumn beauty to be uncovered here.
The park is filled with more than 200 buildings built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as a beautiful lake. However, my favorite spot to visit in the fall is the Laurel Hill Overlook Tower.
The view from the tower is incredible and includes great views of the park, Forbes State Forest, and even the popular Seven Springs Resort.
If you are looking for other great things to do in the park, check out the Hemlock Trail Natural Area and Jones Mill Run Dam.
Overlooks in Bald Eagle State Forest
At more than 193,000 acres in size, there are many incredible spots to explore within Bald Eagle State Forest. However, during the fall in PA, my favorite spots to check out are the great roadside overlooks in the Centre County portion of the forest.
Of these, my favorite is probably Penn’s View, which is both easy to reach and features a 180-degree view over the valley far below. This is truly one of the best views in PA.
Other great spots include Ingleby View and Bell’s Majestic Vista.
Irving Cliff towers above the community of Honesdale in Wayne County, PA.
This view is named after Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, who quite enjoyed the view from here when he visited the town in the 1840s. Today, it’s still a favorite spot for locals to watch the sunset.
The views from here are excellent throughout the year but are especially scenic when the rolling hillsides are awash with autumn color.
Michaux State Forest
Michaux State Forest is located south of Harrisburg and provides some of the region’s best outdoor destinations, including the midway point of the Appalachian Trail.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail, visiting the abandoned POW Camp, or checking out some of the many rock outcroppings and vistas is great ways to spend an autumn day in PA.
What are your favorite places to see fall foliage in PA? Let me know in the comments section below.