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Fall Things to do in Pennsylvania

Experience the magic of fall colors in the Pennsylvania Wilds with a leaf-peeping tour or by attending a signature fall foliage celebration. Each fall, the region debuts shades of red, orange, and yellow foliage, and scenic byways are great for travel. Many overlooks provide bountiful opportunities to see the fall foliage on full display.

ELK SCENIC DRIVE

This 127-mile Elk Scenic Drive journey offers a picturesque driving tour in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds. Potential stops include some of the best places to observe the region’s awe-inspiring wild elk herd and other wildlife, as well as remote recreational assets that are hallmarks of this scenic and rugged landscape. The drive’s Quehanna Spur also offers visitors access to wildlife viewing sites, several hiking trails, and other places of interest within the remote Quehanna Wild Area. Take the drive utilizing Route 153 from I-80 to Route 555, continue onto Route 120 and Route 144 (or vice versa!).

BUCKTAIL SCENIC BYWAY

The 100+ mile Bucktail Scenic Byway, a.k.a. Route 120, takes travelers through some of the lushest valleys and forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The southern end of the byway begins in Lock Haven, just a stone’s throw from the I-80 Frontier, and the Route can be taken all the way to Ridgway in Elk County. While you travel it, you step back in history – it is, after all, an old Native American trail: the Sinnemahoning Path. While on the journey, you’ll pass through the Bucktail Natural Area and a handful of other state parks and public lands.

SCENIC ROUTE 6

Scenic Route 6, the main thoroughfare in the northern part of Pennsylvania, travels through four counties in the Pennsylvania Wilds and takes travelers right to some of the most scenic views in the region, including the PA Grand Canyon, Kinzua Experience, and the Allegheny National Forest. The tranquil highway provides easy access to the sites commemorating the region’s history and heritage and links many small towns across the region.

IMPORTANT TIPS:

Fall foliage typically peaks for several weeks near the beginning of October across Pennsylvania.

  • Starting September 27, weekly fall foliage reports can be found online on the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) website and will be updated every Thursday.
  • Visitors can get suggestions about the best spots to view fall foliage on the Penn’s Woods Fall Foliage story map and on the Pennsylvania Tourism Office website.
  • Remember leaf-peeping is a popular activity and there will be others on the roads looking to slow down and take in the landscapes. Rural byways can become a little more crowded than usual, especially on weekends. Consider a mid-week excursion to avoid potential crowds.
  • Be sure to reserve your overnight accommodations early.
  • If you’re looking to camp, bring related overnight gear and supplies along with you.
  • Pack plenty of snacks, but look for unique pit stops featuring locally-made seasonal products.
  • Fill up on gasoline. Many of the most scenic drives in the Pennsylvania Wilds are on back roads that often extend dozens of miles through hilly terrain without sight of a gas station.
  • Consider printing out, hand-writing or downloading your travel plans as cell service is limited in many places throughout the region.
  • Bring your camera along!

Fall image