The densely wooded areas of western Pennsylvania make the region one of the best in Pennsylvania for leaf peeping.
Public lands of all types are flooded everywhere when the green leaves of spring and summer make way for the fiery colors of fall. Luckily, Pennsylvania has 121 state parks and forests to host visitors that want to see the spectacular autumn scenery.
Western Pennsylvania is home to so many beautiful parks, made even more beautiful in September and October. Here’s a breakdown of my top five parks to experience fall in western Pennsylvania.
Cook Forest State Park
If you want to feel like you’re encompassed by the changing fall forest, there’s no place better than Cook Forest State Park.
The beautiful immensity of the nature surrounding you at Cook Forest State Park will take your breath away, it did it to me. The 8,500-acre Cook Forest State Park and 3,136-acre Clarion River Lands are located in Clarion County.
It is best known for its Forest Cathedral — 11 old-growth timber areas totaling over 2,300 acres. There are more than 47 miles of hiking trails within Cook Forest State Park and an additional eight miles of hiking trails within the Clarion River Lands – providing you with a lot of areas to experience autumn.
While you will feel the urge to take out your phone and take pictures, I urge you to spend some time quietly existing among this immaculate landscape. Take in the air these trees provide. Look at the natural wonders before your eyes.
Sinnemahoning State Park
If you’re looking for a relaxing experience in nature and great views of fall, you have to check out Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron and Porter counties.
Visit Sinnemahoning State Park and you’ll find a scenic steep valley, indicative of the Pennsylvania Wilds region. There are countless opportunities to see the changing colors of fall in the 1,910-acre park – especially along the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek and George B. Stevenson Reservoir.
Aside from the views, the park is home to an abundance of wildlife including bald eagles, coyotes, elk and bobcats.
Oil Creek State Park
Located in Venango County, Oil Creek State Park has a lot to offer visitors looking for beautiful fall scenery. At 6,250 acres, the park includes four waterfalls, several scenic vistas and the amazing Oil Creek that carves a valley of deep hollows, steep hillsides and wetlands.
There are countless opportunities to take in the incredible autumn colors.
Oil Creek Valley is the site of the world’s first commercial oil well. The early petroleum industry is highlighted in the Train Station Visitor Center.
Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle State Park has a little bit for everybody looking for a fun fall weekend. It’s got a charming small town. It’s got beautiful waterfalls. And it’s got plenty of places to see amazing fall colors.
The park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres, including sections of the Youghiogheny River. Waterfalls are only steps away from “downtown” Ohiopyle.
While I would argue there is no bad time to see Ohiopyle, I would highly recommend seeing it in the autumn. The small town and park light up with the beautiful colors of fall.
Linn Run State Park
Westmoreland County’s Linn Run State Park is a hidden gem. At just 612 acres, this park provides visitors with a lot of chances to experience nature without a lot of effort.
The varied topography and mixed hardwood and evergreen forest Grove and Rock runs join together to make Linn Run. Adam Falls and Flat Rock are short walks from the nearby parking areas.
You’ll have the opportunity for plenty of awesome photos along any of the trails in the park.
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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