Best time to travel to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage

Autumn reveals its stunning colors across the Keystone State

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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The change of seasons is especially beautiful in Pennsylvania with its vast parks, picturesque mountains, and clear lakes. The best time to see mother nature's spectacle in Pennsylvania is mid-October. Oak forests dominate two-thirds of the state. Chestnut oak, scarlet oak, and black oak are the most common trees to exhibit fall yellows and reds. Sugar maple adds some orange tones, while red maple adds a few scarlet notes.

Allegheny National Forest

Fall colors of Allegheny National Forest 2020
Fall colors of Allegheny National Forest

In the northwestern part of the state, Allegheny National Forest is probably the most famous place to observe fall foliage. Leaves start to turn here in late September and the forest transforms into a sea of gold by mid-October. You'll see lots of yellow tones with some orange and red accents. Take a drive on National Longhouse Scenic Byway to enjoy the whole picture. For a slower experience, hike to Bridal Falls, Hector Falls, or Logan Falls to make a postcard-worthy picture. Stop by Kinzua Reservoir to view a scenic overlook and take some reflection shots.

The Poconos

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage in Pennsylvania - Best Season 2020

The Pocono Mountains look most stunning in the fall months. The best time for leaf peepers in Big Pocono State Park comes in mid-October. Nestled on the slopes and summit of Camelback Mountain, the park offers overlooks reaching New York and New Jersey. The most scenic locations include Lake Wallenpaupack and Bushkill Falls. Take a hike to Camelback Mountain or visit Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park to witness the area's stunning fall beauty.

Pennell Falls in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania 2020
Pennell Falls in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle State Park

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania 2020
Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle State Park is a beautiful fall foliage destination on the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Ohiopyle State Park reaches the peak display of fall colors in early October. The Great Allegheny Passage is the most famous hiking area in the park. With some 150 mi (240 km) of trails stretching to Cumberland, Maryland, Ohiopyle State Park is a dream destination for a leaf peeper. Also, don't miss the annual Fall Foliage Ride and Run in mid-October along the Youghiogheny River.

Pine Creek Gorge or Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Bicycle trail through the Pine Creek Gorge 2020
Bicycle trail through the Pine Creek Gorge

Pine Creek Gorge offers beautiful trails, scenic waterfalls, and observation overlooks with 360-degree views that are at their best in early October. Some of the greatest views are available at Leonard Harrison State Park, Colton Point State Park, and Tioga State Forest. Take a hike on Pine Creek Rail Trail or drive along the west rim of the canyon to enjoy the colorful spectacle of fall in the gorge.

Gettysburg

The Slyder Farm at Gettysburg 2020
The Slyder Farm at Gettysburg

The historical Gettysburg is not just one of the most famous destinations in Pennsylvania. It's also one of the most beautiful sites due to its astonishing fall foliage display. Visit one of the most famous battlefields in American history in late October to enjoy the best fall colors. Additionally, you can explore over 1,400 monuments of the Civil War.

Scenic Drives

Pennsylvania is famous for its nature, and during the last two weeks of October, the whole state becomes picture-perfect. Some scenic drives just can't be missed. Take Route 6 that stretches for 400 mi (643 km) across the northern part of the state passing the famous Pine Creek Gorge or Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Stop by the Marie Antoinette Overlook facing the Susquehanna River. Another beautiful ride awaits you on Route 32 in Bucks County that connects Kintersville and New Hope. Watch the stunning colors on hillsides along the Delaware River and stop by Ringing Rocks County Park to see amazing Pennsylvania nature up close.

Where to stay

A rural hotel or a farm bed and breakfast is the best lodging to enjoy Pennsylvania's countryside. Some farms are located next to the most scenic spots like Ohiopyle State Park. Make sure to book in advance.