25 scenic places to see fall foliage in Central Pa.

Local News

(WTAJ) — Happy fall! The temperature is cooling and the leaves are changing color, which makes it a great opportunity for outdoor activities.

Check out these spots within Central Pa. and surrounding areas to best view the changing fall foliage.

1. Black Moshannon State Park (Clearfield, Centre, Elk Counties)

Black Moshannon State Park covers 3,394 acres of forests and wetlands. The best places to view fall foliage are the Penfield and Quehanna areas. A scenic drive on the Quehanna Highway will reveal a nice color.

Red and sugar maples can be seen beginning to change color as well as a few black gums turning red as well.

Peak foliage is expected in early October.

2. Rothrock State Forest (Centre, Huntingdon County)

Dogwoods and black gums throughout Rothrock State Forest are reddening while black birch, red maple and walnut trees are showing a tinge of yellow. The northern portion of the forest, in Centre County, will have the most colorful leaves until the peak.

Peak foliage is expected in mid-October.

3. Chimney Rocks Park (Blair County)

Overlooking Hollidaysburg, Chimney Rocks Park offers walking trails and scenic overlooks that give great views of the downtown area.

Depending on preference, visitors can walk across a maintained path to the overlook or hike along a steep and narrow trail for gorgeous views on the hillside. There is also plenty of space to have a picnic. 

Peak foliage is expected in mid-October.

4. Thousand Steps (Huntingdon County)

A thousand steps along the Standing Stone Trail is a popular hike in Huntingdon County. Built into the side of Jack’s Mountain, this hiking trail offers great views of fall foliage from inside of the wooden areas.

Peak foliage is expected in mid-October.

5. Curwensville Lake (Clearfield County)

From camping to boating to Halloween weekends, Curwensville Lake can be a great family weekend trip in the outdoors. The fall foliage will prove to be a great backdrop to a beautiful lake.

As the fall leaves come in, Curwensville Lake will hold two Halloween Weekends at the lake on Oct. 9 and Oct.16. More information on these special weekends can be found on the Curwensville Lake website.

But, be sure to grab your packing gear before the close of October as the season ends the day after Halloween.

6. Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County)

Raystown Lake spans 8,400 acres, surrounded by towering trees and picturesque views. Visitors can take a relaxing lake cruise aboard The Proud Mary to admire the colorful fall landscape or drive up to Hawn’s Overlook, which provides views of the entire region.

Hikers and bikers can enjoy a 30-mile adventure on Allegrippis Trails, embracing the fall foliage.

Peak foliage is expected in mid-October.

7. Elk Country Visitor Center (Elk County)

The largest elk celebration in the northeast region, Elk County’s Elk Expo returns this weekend, Aug. 21- Aug. 22.

Roll down the windows on a beautiful drive through Pennsylvania’s Wild Elk Country tour. For a little over two hours, enjoy a 91-mile scenic drive, passing by mountain streams, pull-offs, waterfalls and more.

Starting at the Elk Country Visitor Center, the tour travels throughout the Elk State Forest stopping at places like Driftwood, Emporium and St. Marys. The driving tour is a great way to relax and enjoy the fall foliage with little hassle.

Eager to see the foliage now? Visit WTAJ’s Elk Country Skynet camera on our website.

8. Abandon PA Turnpike (Bedford County)

Turn your fall foliage quest into a spooky adventure at the abandoned PA turnpike. In 1968, Pa. Turnpike was rerouted to flow over the mountains rather than through them. The rerouting left 13-miles of unused highway and tunnels, leaving an eerie yet beautiful scene when the leaves change color.

9. Blue Knob State Park (Bedford County)

Blue Knob State Park offers over 6,000 acres of wilderness and woodlands, including high elevation scenic overlooks.

An abundance of sugar and red maples can be seen along the mountains from many scenic overlooks and hiking trails.

Peak foliage is expected in mid to late October.

10. Seven Springs Mountain Resort (Somerset County)

From hiking to ziplining to craft days, Seven Springs Mountain Resort offers fall family fun for all ages!

Seven Springs has numerous hiking and cross country bike trails, with some that include beautiful scenic overlooks of the entire resort area. Looking for a more thrilling way to enjoy fall foliage? The Screaming Hawk Zipline can take visitors can fly down nearly 2,000 feet of ziplines.

Also at the resort, in the middle of October, guests can hop on a chairlift for an aerial view of the fall foliage. At the top, crafts, music and vendors will make for a great weekend outside! More information on the Fall Craft Days can be found on the Seven Springs website.

11. Cook Forest State Park (Jefferson County)

Encompassing almost 8,500 acres of the county, the park occupies a scenic portion of The Clarion River.

Within the park, there are two scenic overlooks accessible from Fire Tower Road, just off Route 36.

From the rock ledges of Seneca Point Overlook, you can see the Clarion River Valley. Then, an 80-foot climb up Historic Fire Tower #9 reveals a breathtaking view of the entire area. On a clear day, you can see points 15 to 20 miles away.

12. Sizerville Nature Trail (Cameron County)

Located a short drive north of Emporium, PA, the Sizerville Nature Trail, within Elk State Forest, is a 3-mile hike with 20 numbered educational stops about visible trees along the route.

On the trail, white pines and hemlocks alternate with red maples, black cherries and yellow birch line the treetops to create a beautiful autumn scene.

13. Canoe Creek State Park (Blair County)

The winding hiking trails of Canoe Creek State Park allow hikers to explore forests, lakeshore and wetlands.

Scenic overlooks atop Sugarloaf and Moore’s hills provide views of the park and surrounding area. On clear days, visitors can catch a glimpse of Blue Knob State Park, which is more than 20 miles away.

14. Forbes State Forest (Somerset County)

Just a quick 10-minute hike from Laurel Summit Road, the Beam Rocks Overlook offers great views of the Forbes State Park and treetops of the Laurel Highlands.

From the overlook, visitors will be able to see red and sugar maples as well as black cherry, maples and birches to add to the color palette of the treetops.

Peak foliage is expected in early October.

15. Prince Gallitzin State Park (Cambria County)

Prince Gallitzin offers 33 miles of hiking trails along with campsites, boat launch areas as well as a beach around Glendale Lake.

The hiking trails vary from beginner to advanced, but any path will offer beautiful views of the colorful trees.

Peak foliage is expected in mid-October.

Outside of our region:

1. Pine Creek Gorge (Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton Counties)

Commonly known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Pine Creek Gorge offers miles of forested trails, waterfalls and observatory platforms to embrace the fall colors.

Observation decks can be found in both Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park. Both parks also have hiking and bike trails that lead down to the gorge.

For more information on things to do at the Pa. Grand Canyon, visit the state park’s website.

2. Presque Isle State Park (Erie County)

Although known as a summertime destination, Presque Isle State Park doubles as a fantastic spot to visit in the fall. The changing colors of the trees frame Lake Erie in a picturesque way on a quiet beach.

The park also has multiple hiking trails that walk around the entire state park. Visitors can also enjoy kayak rentals as an alternative way to enjoy the foliage.

3. Ohiopyle (Fayette County)

With many forested trails and hidden waterfalls, Ohiopyle can gift visitors with amazing autumn scenes.

Whitewater rafting, family-friendly floats, kayaking, canoeing, biking, hiking, camping and rock climbing are just some of the adventurous activities that Ohiopyle has to offer.

Interested in a more relaxing trip? Ohiopyle also has multiple walking trails that are easy to access and offer beautiful views of the fall scenery.

4. Reading Pagoda (Berks County)

Located at the top of Mount Penn, the Reading Pagoda overlooks downtown Reading. The Japanese-style pagoda blends in perfectly with the surrounding colorful treetops both below the overlook and from the surrounding trees.

5. Ricketts Glen State Park (Columbia, Luzerne, Sullivan Counties)

Ricketts Glen is a prime location for lovers of waterfalls. The Falls Trail will take visitors through a path to see the park’s 23 named waterfalls while enjoying the surrounding fall colors.

6. Hyner View (Clinton County)

Vistors at Hyner View can see an outstanding view of the Susquehanna River, which flows 1,300 feet below the overlook. Other than nearby hillsides, there is nothing to obstruct the view of those who visit the overlook. Visitors will have more than a 180-degree view of the park that stretches for miles.

Below the overlook, visitors may notice a wooden platform that is popular with hang gliders and paragliders.

7. Big Pocono State Park (Monroe County)

As one of the largest PA state parks, the Pocono’s offer views of not only Pennsylvania but New Jersey and New York as well. With over 1,000 acres of terrain, there are multiple ways to enjoy the fall colors.

From hiking trails to scenic drives on a paved road to the summit of Camelback Mountain, there is an adventure for everyone at Big Pocono State Park.

8. Jim Thorpe (Carbon County)

This small borough in Carbon County brings thousands of visitors in each year to embrace the stunning fall ambiance. The borough hosts Fall Foliage Weekends each year for the first three weekends of October with an array of fall festivities.

This year, the fall festival will run on Oct. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24. Each weekend will have music, shops, galleries, restaurants, train rides, bike rides, trolley rides and more.

More information on the Fall Foliage Weekend can be found on Jim Thorpe’s website.

9. Gettysburg (Adams County)

On top of Little Round Top, visitors can overlook several miles of battlefield, farmlands and all the way to Blue Ridge Mountain at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

A little north of Gettysburg, take a drive through Apple Country to take in unique views of the colorful fall foliage. Along Route 234, which travels through Apple Country, drivers can take in the fall colors and also visit roadside farmer’s markets, fruit stands and wineries along the way.

Peak foliage is expected near the end of October.

10. Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway

Take a trip along the 68-mile Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway in southwestern Pennsylvania along Route 711 and 381.

The drive will take travelers through rolling hillsides to rushing waterfalls, farmlands and architectural wonders. More information on stops to make along the byway can be found on their website.

Peak foliage is expected near mid-October.

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