Featured photo: Barb Fogal, Lehigh Gorge State Park
Like many Pennsylvanians, my favorite season is fall.
The trees are changing color. There’s a crispness in the air. The weather makes it a perfect time to experience the outdoors. Anytime spent outdoors in the fall is a time well spent.
But many people wrongly assume Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests are winding down in the fall. They are not. They are open and ready for exploration whether that means rock climbing and whitewater rafting or picnicking and hiking.
Below, I’ve laid out four activities I highly recommend you experience this fall in one of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 20 state forests.
I am a simple man. When the trees change colors, I go outside and look at them.
There’s so much beauty in Pennsylvania that it’s easy to find an incredible vista somewhere near you. Many are located in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
Park rangers are fantastic resources for visitors looking for great views. They are more than happy to help you navigate a park map to where you can find a vista.
Here’s a list of parks that are great places to leaf-peep:
There’s nothing more immersive feeling of oneness with nature than hiking in the fall. You are surrounded, engulfed and totally encompassed by the bright yellows, oranges and reds of the forests.
Pennsylvania is home to thousands of miles of trails – on local, state and federal lands. State parks and forests are home to some of the best trails in Pennsylvania. Here are some suggestions for great fall hikes:
Ferncliff Trail in Ohiopyle State Park
Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park
Bog Trail in Black Moshannon State Park
Maple Hollow Trail in Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Turkey Path in Leonard Harrison State Park
If these trails aren’t near you, don’t worry about it. There are numerous trails within state parks. Head to your nearest and spend time exploring.
More than half of the 121 state parks offer camping in Pennsylvania. Fall camping is my favorite. It’s chilly, but not cold. Its crisp air makes for the perfect setting for a campfire, smores and lots of laughs.
Whether you bring a tent, pull up in an RV or rent a cabin, camping in the fall is an enjoyable activity that can be enjoyed at any price point. Be sure to check what kind of amenities your campsite has before you make a reservation.
Do you need to shower? Do you need an electric hookup? Want to hammock camp? Get all your questions answered on DCNR’s website before you head out.
Here are a couple of recommendations for camping:
Whether you’re into tearing up the mountain bike trails or plodding along in your comfort cruiser, Pennsylvania state parks have lots of options for riding your bikes.
As someone who has just recently gotten their first adult bike, I spend time finding places for my wife Abby and I to ride. There are plenty of options from gravel and paved paths to dirt trails and single tracks.
Take in the beautiful weather and nature at these parks:
Forbes State Forest for mountain biking
Michaux State Forest for mountain biking
Nockamixon State Park for mountain biking
Codorus State Park for mountain biking
There’s so much to experience in our parks and forests. You can take a free class, attend an event, hike, bike, hang glide and so much more. I encourage you to get the most out of beautiful resources. And if you have time, you could give back. I hope to see you out there.
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 Three Pre-planned Park Trips for Your Fall Weekends and other PPFF guest bloggers on our News page.
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