HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Fall, it’s that colorful, slightly chilly, pumpkin spice themed time of year and where better to embrace the change than Pennsylvania! The Keystone state has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation — or anywhere in the world.
To highlight some of the world’s most beautiful fall foliage, we’ve compiled a list of the seven best times and places to soak up the sights.
#1. Pine Creek Valley
The Pine Creek Valley offers stunning views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, widely regarded as one of the most spectacular vistas in the state. The best views are said to be had at Leanard Harrison and Colton Point state parks. Although the Golden Eagle Trail in Tiadaghton State Forest hosts pretty waterfalls, splash dams and quarries to make all your Instagram followers jealous. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 1 and October 7.
#2. Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway
If you’re looking to hit the roads and keep your seat, this one may be for you. You’ll want to hit the brakes and take your time along the 68-mile Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway. Sporting rolling hillsides, picturesque farmlands, rushing waterfalls and architectural wonders, the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway has a plethora of wonderful sights. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 8 and October 21.
#3. French Creek State Park
Located about an hour outside of Philadelphia, this once industrial complex is now an oasis for people and wildlife alike. Scenic forests, lakes, wetlands and fields often bring the people of southeast Pennsylvania to hike, fish, camp and bike. If that doesn’t float your boat, a number of charming communities surrounding the park, including Birdsboro and Warwick and larger towns like Morgantown and Pottstown offer unique eateries and shops to explore. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 22 and November 4.
#4. Bowman’s Hill Tower
Bowman’s Hill Tower stands an impressive 125-feet tall, offering an expansive, 14-mile view of the Delaware River area on clear days. Perched upon a hill, the site was used by George Washington’s troops before he and 2,400 troops crossed the icy Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776. Historians are quick to note, however, that the tower did not exist during General George Washington’s day. Instead, it was built in 1929-31 to commemorate what may have been the lookout point for Washington’s troops. Non the less, the tower is sure to impress as much as the changing leaves. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 22 and October 29.
#5. Kinzua Sky Walk
Embrace the colors and rich history of the Kinzua Sky Walk a whopping 225 feet above the valley floor. Extending out 624 feet, the Kinzua Sky Walk features panoramic views of the Kinzua Gorge, forestland, picnic areas and hiking trails. While you’re there, visit the Kinzua Bridge Visitors Center and learn the history of the once highest railroad viaduct in the world. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 4 and October 21.
#6. Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Kings Gap Environmental Education Center boasts extensive forest, mountainous terrain, and panoramic views following the winding road to the Cameron-Masland Mansion area. With more than 25 miles of hiking trails, a permanent orienteering course and picnicking, there’s plenty to do and see. The mansion provides facilities for meals and overnight lodging that could be reserved for meetings, weddings, receptions and similar functions. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 22 and October 28.
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#7. Chickies Rock County Park
Chickies Rock County Park is Lancaster County’s second-largest regional park. Its numerous vistas and natural geological features pale in comparison to its massive outcropping of quartzite rock towering nearly 100 feet above the river. Soak in the sights of the impressive views of York County, the borough of Marietta and farmlands of northwestern Lancaster County. In 2020, the best color was spotted between October 22 and November 4.
We couldn’t possibly list the dozens of other great locations Pennsylvania has to offer, so click here to explore more with an interactive map.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, only three regions of the world support deciduous forests that display fall autumn color:
- Eastern North America
- The British Isles and parts of northwestern Europe
- Northeastern China and northern Japan
Since Pennsylvania is located between 40° and 42° North latitude and sports everything from coastal plains to mountains over 3,000 feet, 134 species of trees and many more shrubs and vines contribute to the display of autumn color.
While the leaves are the star of the show, Pennsylvania also boasts an abundance of great festivals, pick-your-own farms, and unrivaled haunted attractions that make the state the obvious choice for autumn.