The Pennsylvania Wilds is one of the most picturesque areas of Pennsylvania, making it the perfect place to see autumn come to life.
Northern Pennsylvania is home to a number of beautiful natural features including waterfalls, mountains, valleys, lakes and much more. These features draw in visitors from all over the country – looking for peace, quiet and unmatched natural beauty.
While many are seasoned outdoors veterans, the region does play host to many who come for the colorful changing nature and leaf peeping.
Here’s a breakdown of what I could consider the best places to experience fall in northern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
When I think of the best place to see the most beautiful fall colors in the commonwealth, I think of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The views from Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks are spectacular.
The Pine Creek Gorge looks as if it’s been set ablaze – with some of the most magnificent colors on display in two state parks both located in Wellsboro. The parks have numerous overlooks and vistas in which to take in the stunning scenery.
The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is Pennsylvania’s postcard. It is a viral Instagram photo. In my opinion, it is the best example of what is beautiful and magnificent about this incredible state.
I have taken numerous trips with family and friends to show off what Pennsylvania has to offer. Any discussion about the best places to experience fall must include Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park.
Kinzua Bridge State Park
Located in McKean County, Kinzua Bridge State Park is the home to the best views in all of Pennsylvania. The Kinzua Viaduct was once the longest and tallest railroad structure at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high.
When the railroad bridge was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources decided to make lemonade out of lemons.
The viaduct was reinvented as a pedestrian walkway in 2011. Now, visitors can walk 600 feet out on the remaining support towers. There, you can peer miles out into the Kinzua Gorge and look down through the partial glass platform at the end of the walkway.
People come from all over to watch the area light up in yellow, oranges, and reds. There are a few other areas that highlight Pennsylvania’s natural beauty like Kinzua Bridge State Park.
Hyner View State Park
Hyner View State Park in Clinton County will provide you with one of the best views in all of Pennsylvania.
After a winding drive up the mountain, you reach the overlook. At the stone wall, you see vast distances up and downstream over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and surrounding mountains.
While the view is amazing at all times of the year, it is even more spectacular in the fall. The trees carry the beautiful yellows, oranges and reds of autumn throughout the valley. The park features several vistas, all of which offer great photography options.
And, when the wind is just right, you can see hang gliders launch themselves off the platform next to the scenic vista.
Black Moshannon State Park
Simply put, I love Black Moshannon State Park. The Centre County park covers nearly 4,000 acres of forests and wetland. I have visited and camped in “Black Mo” several times and hope to spend even more time there in 2023.
The “black” in the park name describes the tea-colored waters of the 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake. The lake is fed by springs and streams which flow through the bogs. As the clear water flows through the wetland plants, it becomes colored by plant tannins. The bog vegetation acts like a giant teabag to color the water.
The trees surrounding the lake look incredible in the fall, making it a perfect setting for photographs, hikes, picnics and more.
The park, lake and surrounding Moshannon State Forest offer so much to do in the fall. Be sure to spend some time on the boardwalk Bog Trail to learn more about the park and its unique habitat.
Christian Alexandersen ran one mile in each of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks in 2021 and has been sharing with us stories and tips from his journey! Read more blog posts from Christian like his Four Favorite Activities to Experience This Fall in PA State Parks and other PPFF guest bloggers on our News page.
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