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9 Awesome Reasons to Visit Mifflin County, Pennsylvania

Mifflin County was one of the last counties that I visited in Pennsylvania. Truthfully, when I had looked up things to do there in the past, I hadn’t come up with much. So, I assumed this meant that there really wasn’t much to see in the area. However, I was wrong.

While it might not have the acclaimed museums of Philadelphia or the rugged beauty of the Pennsylvania Wilds, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, has a great mix of history, culture, and beauty that make it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway in PA or brief respite on your trip to Harrisburg to State College.

So, when you do head to this overlooked part of the state, here are a few of my favorite things to do in Mifflin County, PA.

See the Big Valley’s Amish Communities

Amish Buggies in MIfflin County PA
Mifflin County’s Big Valley is the only place you can see black, white, and yellow buggies side by side. (Photo by Wally Cheney)

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of the tourism that has sprung up around Amish culture. However, in Mifflin County’s Big Valley, home to Pennsylvania’s second-largest Amish community, the lack of tourism infrastructure gives you a much better glimpse into the real lives of this unique culture.

Unlike Lancaster County, where you will only see gray and black buggies, Big Valley is home to three distinct groups of Amish people, each with their own colored buggies. In addition to the traditional black buggies, you will also see buggies that are white and brown and buggies that are black and yellow.

These communities, while somewhat separated by their levels of relative liberalism, come together for events such as the Belleville Farmers Market and Auction, held every Wednesday morning, year-round. Here, the Amish and locals come together for a farmers’ market, antique sale, and a very large livestock auction.

However, coming on any day of the year will give you the chance to see some of the most interesting Amish buggies in the country.

Reeds Gap State Park

Tree-lined trail in Reeds Gap State Park
Reeds Gap State Park is quite stunning.

Reeds Gap State Park is a small park in eastern Mifflin County.

While this park doesn’t feature any significant highlights, it’s home to a beautiful hiking trail that passes along the banks of Honey Creek. This is a great spot to go hiking in Mifflin County, and you can connect to longer trails that run into the adjacent Bald Eagle State Forest.

Reeds Gap is also a great spot to go fishing and is home to a rustic campground for those looking to get away for a bit.

Stone Mountain Hawk Watch

Men looking for birds at Stone Mountain Hawk Watch in Rothrock State Forest
Looking up towards Stone Mountain Hawk Watch.

Located on the Mifflin County/Huntingdon County line in Rothrock State Forest, Stone Mountain Hawk Watch is a fantastic spot to check out.

Not only is this one of the best lookouts in Mifflin County, but it’s also a fantastic spot to see migrating raptors in the autumn, which is the primary purpose of the vista here.

A short but rocky hike on the Standing Stone Trail will take you to this magnificent 360-degree viewing platform.

The McCoy House

McCoy House Lewistown PA
The McCoy House was the birthplace of Major General Frank McCoy and is now the Mifflin County Historical Society’s museum.

Part of the Mifflin County Historical Society, the McCoy House serves two purposes.

The first is to tell the story of Major General Frank McCoy who was born in the home. McCoy served in the Spanish American War, World War 1, and even World War 2, and was an aid to President Theodore Roosevelt. Several rooms of the home are set up to resemble what the home would have looked like when McCoy was a child. Another room features many of McCoy’s personal effects.

The second purpose of the home is to tell the history of Mifflin County.

Many historical society museums struggle with these competing missions, but the Mifflin County Historical Society does a very good job. Rooms in the home are dedicated to things like the county’s military history, industrial history, and everyday life in what was once the frontier.

Before leaving, don’t miss the Fort Granville recreation. This French and Indian War-era fort was burned by the French, supposedly in retaliation for Washington’s actions at Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity.

You can also learn more about this part of the state at the Tuscarora Academy Museum in Juniata County.

Asher’s Chocolates

Ashers-Chocolates-Tour-Lewistown PA
Tours of Asher’s Chocolates are a great way to learn how this delicious treat is made. (Photo by Rhonda Moore and used courtesy of the Juniata River Valley Visitor Bureau)

Hershey’s might get all the love in Pennsylvania, but Asher’s Chocolates is definitely a name to remember. While their headquarters and main factory are in the Philadelphia suburbs, the Asher’s factory in Lewistown is where they do all of their handcrafting.

Asher’s Chocolate features a self-guided tour corridor that allows visitors to take a peek into the factory floor, but you might want to call ahead to make sure the factory is running and tours are available.

However, even if you can’t tour the factory, a visit to the Asher’s Chocolates store is a good choice. Here, you can pick up not only some of their great chocolates but also some of their seconds and even a few Lewistown-area souvenirs.

The Lincoln Stone

The Lincoln Stone in Lewistown's Monument Square.
The Lincoln Stone in Lewistown’s Monument Square.

When the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln put out a call for soldiers. The first to answer his call was the Logan Guard from Lewistown, the seat of Mifflin County.

Years later, to honor their service, the community was given a marble stone from Lincoln’s original tomb in Springfield, Illinois. That stone, the only one given away, now sits at the base of the town’s Civil War memorial in the center of Monument Square.

Monument Square Lewistown PA
The Lincoln Stone sits at the bottom of Lewistown’s Civil War Memorial.

Viewing this single stone requires visitors to walk right up to the base of the monument, but it’s definitely a focal point worth seeing. Also, note the mural behind you (as you face the stone) that honors the formation of the Logan Guard.

Big Valley Vista

Sunset from Big Valley Vista in Bald Eagle State Forest
The Big Valley Vista in Bald Eagle State Forest offers incredible views.

Big Valley Vista is located along a dirt road in Bald Eagle State Forest near the Mifflin County border with Centre County.

This roadside overlook offers incredible views of the Big Valley, allowing you to see forests, farmland, and even the community of Reedsville in the distance.

While there isn’t much to do here, unless you want to hike the nearby Mid-State Trail, the view is well worth the drive to see.

Shy Bear Brewing

A flight of beers at Shy Bear Brewing in Lewistown, PA
Shy Bear Brewing is a great spot to grab a locally-made craft beer in Mifflin County.

Shy Bear Brewing is the first brewery located in Mifflin County and is a few minutes east of downtown Lewistown.

Shy Bear features both a cozy indoor space and an expensive outdoor space that’s complete with a stage for live music. They also feature a full kitchen with some good food.

The highlight here, though, is their great mix of beers.

During my visits, I’ve had a chance to sample six different beers ranging from basic IPAs to unique styles like a kellerbier. All of the beers have been good to great, so this is a perfect spot to have a few beers after a long day of doing things in Mifflin County.

Jack’s Mountain Overlook

Things to do in Mifflin County, PA: Jacks Mountain Overlook
Sunset is the perfect time to visit Jack’s Mountain Overlook.

Situated along several parallel ridges, Mifflin County has a unique beauty that can only be experienced by driving along the county’s many back roads. The narrows, mountains, and valleys that make up the county provide many quiet places to get out and enjoy this beautiful nature.

One great choice is to make the trip to the top of Jack’s Mountain. From here, you can see two large valleys on either side of this very narrow mountain top. To your north is Big Valley, home to several Amish communities. To your south is Ferguson Valley and McVeytown.

The top of Jack’s Mountain is a very popular spot for bird watchers and offers a great view that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Mifflin County isn’t the only interesting destination in this region of PA! Check out the covered bridges of Snyder County and Juniata County, the nearby Greenwood Furnace State Park, or learn about some surprising things to do in State College

See map below for other area attractions.

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More nearby places worth exploring

Find more things to do in the Susquehanna Region

28 thoughts on “9 Awesome Reasons to Visit Mifflin County, Pennsylvania”

  1. You missed the Stone Arch Bridge, which is one of the few lacking a keystone and the Pennsylvania Canal, of which a part has been restored to working conditions at the Waterside Campground in Lewistown.

  2. Mifflin County Cemetery in Lewistown
    It’s an Actual Cemetery Owned by the County.

    There are a Few Homes in Mifflin County that were a Part of the Underground Railroad during the United States Civil War.

  3. I was born and raised in Lewistown. I am a member of the Lewistown community band. I know live in Manheim with my daughter who is a varsity cheerleader and member of the Manheim Central marching barons but we do go home regularly because of our family lives there. It is beautiful country.

  4. The Wednesday Belleville Sale and Livestock auction. The best antiquing and yard sale all in one spot with local Amish goods and produce. That’s worth a trip up the valley.

  5. Very nice article about Mifflin County. I just wanted to clarify that the Amish in Lancaster County drive gray and black buggies. The Old Order Mennonites drive back buggies here.

    • The black buggies in Mifflin County are known here as the Renno Amish (not old order Mennonites). The yellow topped buggies are Byler Amish and the White topped buggies are known as the Nebraska Amish. Some Mennonite groups might drive black cars, but I’ve never heard of the black topped buggies referred to as Mennonites and I’ve lived here all of my 66 years.

  6. Mifflintown County is very special to me. Love going home and visiting Bellville, Lewistown, although I must say it is very different than the Lewistown I knew. Beautiful place!

  7. This is a really nice article about the area where I grew up! I’ve lived in the scenic Pacific Northwest for over 10 years now, but I still love the unique beauty of Big Valley. Last summer I took my daughters to visit my old stomping grounds and they can’t wait to go back! Thanks for a great read.

  8. This site has disabled pinch to zoom so I am not 100% sure, but I believe your last picture is actually of Ferguson Valley, it has been a few years, but I have sat in that spot many times, on a few occasions contemplating a major change.

    • I’m fairly certain that it’s Big Valley. I’ve been there, but my photos didn’t come out well, so I got that from the local visitor bureau, which labeled it as such.

    • That photo is of Ferguson Valley. Used to drive it every day when I lived in Ferguson Valley and worked at New Holland in Belleville. This spot was frequented by hang gliding enthusiasts when I lived there. “Good Thermals”. If you walk across the road and look North, that would be Big Valley and it does not have that wooded ridge in the foreground. The best in Mifflin County from a paved road. I have lived in Mifflin County since I was 11 years old and love the area. 30 minutes to PSU, 50 minutes to Harrisburg. Yet no traffic jams, simple living and a stream, river or mountain within a few minutes no matter where you live. Who could ask for more!

  9. Last pic shown is not “Big Valley” but it is “Ferguson Valley” from Jack’s Mountain look-out. In-laws farm photo second from the left. We think that’s the best place to visit! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I grew up in Barrville, PA, about six miles from Belleville and about 10 miles from Lewistown. I am now, due to life circumstances, in the state of Missouri and have been for almost two years. My wife and I, just yesterday, had another cry session because of how badly we miss Mifflin County (and also Centre County). It is the most wonderful place and we will return as soon as we are able.

  11. Enjoyed working in Mifflin, 1973-1977. Liked visiting a friens home in Huntington, a Bell Tel foreman, and his goats; and have an old Navy friend in Lewistown. I used to stop in the Elks in Lewistown occasionally. Bought some wrought iron fencing in Mt. Union once when I lived in Altoona. Nice County.

  12. I was born and raised in Burnham, Pa. A lot of the things that were said I didn’t know about. I’m amazed of all the places of interest.

  13. they missed standard steel best railroad wheels in world. and the old canel along juniata river.gone pennsylvania glass sand works. finest sand for many telescopes around world.
    gone. just to mention a few

  14. The restaurants are great, you don’t realize how good they are unless you move.
    here are just a few worth visiting, and what I recommend :
    South Side Hoagie Shop – great hoagies and cheese steaks
    Laskaris Restaurant – Dive but best hot dogs and rice pudding anywhere, steamed
    bun special sauce, and creamy cold rice pudding
    Bel-Vue Inn – Milroy, best Fish and Chips you’ll ever find, beer on tap is always cold
    Angelo’s Restaurant – Italian, Angelo’s salad with bread sticks or baked tasha
    Whitehall General Store – large delicious cold subs, great whoppie pie and moon
    pie selection. also recommend chocolate chip angle food cake (when
    Gus’s Pizza – Gotta get the cuts,

  15. Very familiar with Lewistown although I was born and raised in Chambersburg. My Mother Leonora H Larson Kessinger was from the area. My aunt Dolly Larson worked at Corkins quick lunch on the
    square (the old one) before new one was built. Aunt Sis Ammerman had a beauty shop on S. Main St. across from Roco’s Super Market. My grandparents are buried at Birch Hill in Burnham. My aunt
    Tecla Schultz lived in Yeagertown across the stream from Standard Steel.. Always went to Kish for swim and fun. Cousin Bonnie Larson Harpst lives in Lewistown. My cousins Dean Larson (Dec) and Don Larson are from there. Others, Marlyn Schultz, John Schultz, Jim Schultz, Betty Schultz Tate,
    As a young girl my mom worked at Monnies Grocery Store and my Uncle Art worked at Royal Dairy
    Love Lewistown and have a warm spot in my heart for the area.


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