As the crisp autumn air descends upon the picturesque landscapes of Pennsylvania, nature unveils a vivid tapestry of colors that has captivated the hearts of countless travelers and residents alike. This breathtaking transformation beckons all who yearn for the perfect escape to embark on a journey through the enchanting roads that crisscross the state.
In this post, we invite you to explore 11 breathtaking drives where the magic of Pennsylvania’s fall foliage unfolds before your very eyes. So, buckle up and prepare for an unforgettable experience as we guide you through the winding paths that reveal the true splendor of the Keystone State in all its autumnal glory.
1. US Route 6: Grand Army of the Republic Highway
As autumn approaches, nature lovers and photography enthusiasts eagerly await the stunning transformation of leaves from green to a palette of red, orange, and yellow hues. While there are countless locations to witness this breathtaking phenomenon, Route 6 in Pennsylvania stands out as a lesser-known yet equally mesmerizing destination for fall foliage viewing.
Route 6, a picturesque and historic thoroughfare, offers an unparalleled opportunity for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of fall foliage. The PA section of this iconic highway stretches from the eastern border with New York in Matamoras to the western border with Ohio near Linesville, spanning approximately 400 miles within the state.
Stretching across the northern part of the state, this road takes you on a picturesque journey through towns, rolling hills, and lush forests. The winding road offers some of the most spectacular views of the season’s changing colors, creating an unforgettable experience for those who traverse its path.
One of the many reasons why US 6 is a prime spot for leaf-peeping is its diverse range of tree species. From towering oaks and maples to delicate birches and aspens, the mix of deciduous trees ensures a rich tapestry of colors that will leave you in awe. As you drive along, you’ll also encounter numerous scenic overlooks and parks, providing ample opportunities to stop and capture the beauty of the landscape.
As you traverse this remarkable roadway, you will encounter a myriad of small towns and cities that embody the spirit of the state’s rich cultural heritage. Some notable stops along the way include the charming town of Milford, the bustling city of Scranton, the close nit community of Tunkhannock, and the tranquil setting of Warren. Each location provides a unique perspective on the region’s history and character, allowing visitors to appreciate better the diverse landscapes and communities that make the state so enjoyable.
A few must-visit spots along Route 6 include Kinzua Bridge State Park, which offers panoramic views of the Kinzua Valley adorned with fiery foliage. Another notable destination is the charming town of Wellsboro, where gaslit streets and Victorian architecture create a nostalgic atmosphere that perfectly complements the surrounding fall scenery.
In addition to its natural allure, this road boasts a rich history and cultural heritage. As you explore the various communities along the way, you’ll find a wealth of museums, artisan shops, and local eateries that showcase the region’s unique character. Don’t forget to sample some freshly picked apples, apple cider, or freshly baked pumpkin pie to complete your autumn adventure.
While navigating 6, you will be captivated by the striking transformation of the surrounding foliage as it transitions from verdant greens to a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows. The vivid hues paint a mesmerizing backdrop against the rolling hills, sprawling forests, and pristine lakes that define this scenic corridor.
Route 6 is a gem that deserves a spot on every fall foliage enthusiast’s bucket list. With its captivating blend of natural beauty, history, and charm, this scenic route promises an unforgettable experience that will surely make you want to return year after year.
2. Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway
There’s no denying that the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway (Route 711 and 381) is an absolute gem when it comes to witnessing the brilliant hues of autumn. This remarkable stretch of road in the state’s southwestern region offers a unique experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of fall foliage. With its lush landscapes and small towns, the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway provides an idyllic setting to revel in nature’s colorful display.
Covering around 68 miles, the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway meanders through rolling hills, historic sites, and serene state parks. As you journey along this captivating highway, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a tapestry of colors, with shades of gold, orange, and crimson painting the trees. The cool autumn breeze and the soft rustling of leaves underfoot create a truly enchanting atmosphere that will leave a lasting impression.
One must-visit location along the Byway is the majestic Ohiopyle State Park. Here, you can take in the striking beauty of the Youghiogheny River Gorge as it gracefully carves its way through the landscape. Leisurely explore the park’s numerous trails, allowing ample time to appreciate the scenery and capture memorable photographs of the vivid foliage. For the more adventurous, the park also offers thrilling white-water rafting experiences on the Youghiogheny River – a unique way to witness the season’s splendor.
Throughout your travels on the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway, be sure to make use of the various overlooks and viewing points that offer breathtaking panoramas of the fall colors. One such spot is the Baughman Rock Overlook, where you’ll be greeted by sweeping vistas of the undulating hills and valleys adorned in their autumnal finery.
In addition to the natural wonders of the fall foliage, the Byway is also home to several historical landmarks and cultural attractions worth exploring. Witness the architectural marvels of Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob homes, which harmoniously blend with the surrounding environment. Delve into the region’s rich history at the Fort Necessity National Battlefield.
Embarking on an autumn adventure along the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway promises a magical experience for fall foliage aficionados. With its amazing colors, tranquil landscapes, and fascinating history, this enchanting trip will surely leave you with unforgettable memories.
3. Route 414 – Canton to Waterville
Winding through the picturesque landscapes of the state’s northern section, Route 414 offers a truly captivating journey, especially during the autumn months when the region is adorned with colorful fall foliage.
This scenic drive stretches approximately 60 miles, beginning in the charming town of Canton and extending in the vicinity of Waterville. As one traverses this spectacular highway, they are treated to a visual feast of rich hues ranging from deep reds to brilliant golds, painting a breathtaking canvas that reflects the beauty of nature’s seasonal transformation.
The trip begins in Canton, a borough steeped in history and nestled within Bradford County. As travelers venture onward, they will encounter several small communities epitomizing rural Pennsylvania’s charm. Liberty, Morris, and Slate Run are notable communities along the way, where visitors can appreciate the serene ambiance and immerse themselves in the region’s natural color display.
Continuing along, travelers will pass through the sprawling Tioga State Forest, a vast expanse of woodland teeming with diverse flora and fauna. The forest provides a stunning backdrop for viewing the area’s fall foliage and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore its many trails and recreational areas.
Further along, the picturesque hamlet of Cedar Run beckons visitors with its scenic beauty and warm hospitality. Situated along the banks of Pine Creek, Cedar Run offers an ideal vantage point for admiring the stunning fall colors that grace the surrounding hillsides and valleys. Here, travelers can also indulge in recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching.
As 414 approaches its terminus near Waterville, it meanders through the captivating Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, also known as the Pine Creek Gorge. This awe-inspiring natural wonder, with its dramatic cliffs and verdant forests, presents an unforgettable panorama of fall foliage that is a sight to behold.
Route 414 provides a remarkable journey through the heart of some of the state’s most stunning fall foliage. From the charming towns that dot its path to the majestic natural wonders that await discovery, this scenic byway offers a unique and memorable experience for all who traverse its picturesque landscapes during autumn.
4. Route 611 – Bucks County
As autumn sets in and the air turns crisp, there’s no better time to take a scenic drive through the picturesque landscapes of Bucks County. One such road that offers an unforgettable experience is Route 611, a stunning stretch of road that showcases the bright fall colors in all their glory.
Route 611, also known as Easton Road, though the entire length of the road is enticing, the Bucks County portion stands out as a fall foliage destination.
Nestled between the Delaware River and the verdant hills of eastern Pennsylvania, Bucks County is home to several charming towns and villages that dot the landscape along it. These picturesque locales include Doylestown, Plumsteadville, Ottsville, and Riegelsville, each offering unique charm and character.
As you meander along, you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscope of colors, from vivid oranges and reds to warm yellows and deep purples. Historic farmhouses, a castle, quaint covered bridges, and breathtaking vistas of the rolling countryside punctuate the lush tree-lined roads.
In addition to the captivating scenery, there are plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy during your journey. Take a break from driving to explore the antique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes that line the streets of Doylestown. Further north in Plumsteadville, you can indulge in a relaxing meal or pick up fresh produce at one of the many roadside farm stands.
For nature enthusiasts, the nearby state parks and nature preserves offer ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and photography. Don’t miss visiting Nockamixon State Park, where you can hike along the beautiful trails or rent a kayak to explore the serene lake.
So, if you’re looking for an enchanting and memorable way to experience the magnificence of fall foliage, a drive along Route 611 in Bucks County is an absolute must.
5. Route 220 – Endless Mountains
Nestled within the northeastern region, Route 220 unveils a breathtaking display of fall foliage within the picturesque landscape of the Endless Mountains. As one of the state’s most scenic drives, this historic road offers an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and road trippers alike.
Spanning over 680 miles, it stretches from the New York-Pennsylvania border all the way to Rockingham, North Carolina. But along the way, it traverses through some of the most captivating vistas of the Endless Mountains in the counties of Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming, showcasing the radiant hues of autumn in all their glory.
Among the charming cities and towns dotted along 220, travelers will encounter Towanda, Dushore, Laporte, and Hughesville. Each of these communities, with its unique landmarks and local attractions, adds to the overall allure of the journey.
Towanda, the county seat of Bradford County, boasts a rich history dating back to the late 18th century. Its Victorian architecture and picturesque surroundings provide a lovely backdrop for the explosion of colors that envelop the town during the fall season. A leisurely stroll through downtown Towanda offers a glimpse into the past while immersing visitors in the season’s warmth.
Continuing southward, Dushore and Laporte serve as gateways to the Loyalsock State Forest and Worlds End State Park, respectively. These pristine natural areas offer ample hiking, birdwatching, and photography opportunities, allowing visitors to fully engage with the kaleidoscope of colors that blanket the forested hillsides.
Further along, Hughesville presents yet another delightful stopover. Located in Lycoming County, this small borough is known for hosting the Lycoming County Fair. The impressive foliage that adorns the streets of Hughesville adds a touch of enchantment to the town’s already captivating atmosphere.
Route 220 through the Endless Mountains offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of fall foliage. The journey takes travelers through charming towns steeped in history and pristine natural areas where the colors of autumn can be fully appreciated.
Keystone Answers Fun Fact: US Route 6 connects Bishop, California, to Provincetown, Massachusetts, a distance of 3,205 miles.
6. Route 120 – Pennsylvania Wilds
As the leaves begin to change color and autumn sets in, there’s no better way to experience the breathtaking beauty of the season than by taking a scenic drive along Route 120 in the heart of Pennsylvania Wilds. This stretch of road offers a mesmerizing journey through colorful fall foliage that rivals any other autumn destination.
This road is located in north-central PA and stretches approximately 103 miles from Lock Haven to Ridgway. This iconic roadway meanders through the pristine wilderness, providing an unforgettable journey through some of the state’s most picturesque landscapes.
Embarking on your fall foliage tour along 120, you’ll meander through charming towns like Renovo, a perfect spot for a leisurely lunch. It also holds the Flaming Foliage Festival with a parade, crafts, vendors, and food. As you cruise alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River, you’ll be captivated by the stunning vistas at every bend.
As you venture further along, uncover some fascinating history waiting at the Cameron County Historical Society Little Museum, and then make sure to stop in the delightful town of Emporium. This welcoming community offers places to stop and get a bite to eat or buy something unique at the Artisan Center located at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce.
Your journey culminates in the historic town of Ridgway, where beautifully preserved Victorian architecture and the serene Clarion River set the scene for a memorable finale to your fall foliage expedition. Take advantage of the recreational activities available, from kayaking and canoeing to hiking and birdwatching.
Route 120 through the Pennsylvania Wilds is a true gem for fall foliage aficionados with its awe-inspiring landscapes, warm-hearted towns, and captivating attractions.
7. Route 32 – Delaware River Valley
Route 32, a scenic byway in the picturesque Delaware River Valley of Pennsylvania, is an exceptional destination for those seeking a breathtaking fall foliage experience. This captivating roadway stretches approximately 40 miles, traversing through the eastern part of the state and offering abundant natural beauty and historical charm.
The journey along 32 commences in Kintnersville and culminates in the bustling city of Morrisville. Throughout this enchanting drive, travelers are treated to a visual feast of vibrant autumn colors as the landscape transforms into a tapestry of red, orange, and gold hues.
As one embarks on this memorable expedition, one will encounter a plethora of charming towns and attractions that are steeped in history and culture. For instance, the riverside village of New Hope boasts a thriving arts scene, eclectic shops, and historic landmarks, such as the Parry Mansion and the New Hope Railroad. A stop in this idyllic hamlet will provide ample opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.
Another noteworthy destination along the way is the town of Washington Crossing, which holds an important place in American history. It was here that General George Washington and his troops famously crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can delve into this momentous event at the Washington Crossing Historic Park, where interactive exhibits and guided tours provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.
In addition to its historical allure, Route 32 offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation amidst the stunning fall foliage. The Delaware Canal State Park parallels the road and provides a serene setting for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Moreover, the nearby Delaware River presents kayaking, canoeing, and fishing options, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s natural splendor.
Route 32 in the Delaware River Valley is an exceptional destination for a fall foliage excursion. With its rich history, captivating attractions, and abundant recreational activities, this magnificent highway promises an unforgettable experience for all who journey along its winding path.
8. Route 15 – Gettysburg to Mansfield
Route 15, stretching from Gettysburg to Mansfield, offers a splendid journey through the state’s fall foliage, showcasing an array of colors and breathtaking landscapes. This historical road provides travelers with an unparalleled opportunity to witness the beauty of autumn while exploring the region’s rich history.
The journey begins in the historic town of Gettysburg, a site famous for its pivotal role in the American Civil War. As you go northward along 15, you will be greeted by a tapestry of changing leaves, covering the rolling hills and picturesque valleys in a stunning display of reds, oranges, and yellows. It spans approximately 170 miles, culminating in the charming town of Mansfield, near the Pennsylvania-New York border, where it meets Route 6, which we discussed at the beginning of this post.
In addition to Gettysburg, other notable stops include the towns of Lewisburg and Williamsport. Lewisburg, a college town, boasts an array of historical sites and well-preserved buildings. Williamsport, once known as the Lumber Capital of the World, is now home to the Little League Baseball World Series and the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate ample hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, and wildlife observation opportunities.
9. Route 144 – Galeton to Bellefonte
Immerse yourself in the colorful hues of autumn as you embark on a picturesque journey through the heart of the Keystone State. Route 144, stretching from Galeton to the historic town of Bellefonte, offers an unparalleled fall foliage experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s artistic splendor.
Nestled within the stunning Appalachian Mountains, Route 144 is a scenic byway that takes you through charming towns and villages. As you traverse this approximately 100-mile journey, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes surrounding you, adorned with the fiery colors of fall.
Begin your adventure in Galeton, a small town on Pine Creek’s banks. Here, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching before setting off on your leaf-peeping expedition. As you head south on 144, you’ll pass through the serene village of Germania, where the brilliant foliage creates a mesmerizing sight against the backdrop of rolling hills and farmlands.
Continuing along the byway, you’ll come across the charming town of Renovo, nestled in the Sproul State Forest. This is an ideal spot for a stroll or a picnic amidst the kaleidoscope of colors that envelop the area.
As you approach the end of your journey, the enchanting town of Bellefonte awaits you. Steeped in history and adorned with Victorian architecture, this picturesque destination is the perfect place to unwind and appreciate the beauty. Stroll through its charming streets, visit the park or art museum, or enjoy a warm beverage at one of the cozy cafes.
10. Route 68 – Beaver to Clarion
As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, there’s no better time to embark on a picturesque journey, and Route 68 offers a breathtaking drive showcasing the colors of autumn across the region.
This trip spans approximately 100 miles and weaves through towns, rolling hills, and lush forests, making it the perfect backdrop for your fall foliage adventure. Starting in the charming town of Beaver, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows as you cruise along the winding roads. Don’t forget to stop by the historical Beaver Area Heritage Museum to learn more about the area’s rich history.
As you continue your journey eastward, you’ll pass through the bustling town of Zelienople, where you can take a break to explore the unique shops, cafes, and the historic Strand Theater, which has been in operation since 1914. Just a short drive away is the serene Moraine State Park, where you can enjoy a leisurely hike or picnic amidst the stunning fall foliage.
Further down the road, you’ll encounter the lovely city of Butler, known for its arts scene and beautiful parks. Make sure to visit the Maridon Museum, home to an impressive collection of Asian art and artifacts.
As you approach the end of your journey, stop in the charming town of Clarion. Here, you can stroll along some of the many hiking trails or play a round of golf.
No matter where you choose to pause and soak in the scenery, Route 68 will provide unforgettable memories and picturesque views for all who venture down its enchanting path.
11. Route 555 – Weedville to Driftwood
Route 555 provides an incredible experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in the bright colors of fall foliage. This remarkable road stretches for 25 miles through the lush, rolling hills providing an unforgettable scenic drive that will leave you breathless.
Beginning in Weedville, Elk County, 555 winds through diverse landscapes, from dense forests to open meadows, all bursting with a brilliant palette of autumn hues. Along the way, you’ll pass through the village of Benezette, home to the famous Elk Country Visitor Center, where you can learn about the elk that roam the region. And hopefully, you will be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the majestic elk roaming the surrounding woodlands.
Finally, as you approach the end of your journey in Driftwood, the Bucktail Monument is a must-see for those interested in history, paying tribute to the brave Civil War soldiers who hailed from the area.
Though not on Route 555, be sure to take in the spectacular vista at Sinnemahoning State Park, located on Route 872 about 12 miles further. With its pristine lake reflecting the brilliant colors of the surrounding trees, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss. You may also be lucky enough to spot some of the park’s resident wildlife, including white-tailed deer, bald eagles, and black bears.
Also, while in the area, take a detour to the Straub Brewery in St. Marys for a taste of local brewing history.
Cruising Through Nature’s Brilliance
As we reach the end of our journey through Pennsylvania’s breathtaking fall foliage drives, it is evident that the Keystone State offers a truly remarkable experience. These memorable road trips showcase the diverse and stunning landscapes that abound, from small rural towns to majestic mountain vistas, all adorned in an unprecedented array of autumnal hues.
As you embark on your adventure through the state’s picturesque scenery, treasure the memories made and the moments shared with loved ones along the way. The enchanting allure of the state’s fall foliage is a testament to nature’s splendor and a cherished experience that will no doubt beckon you back to explore its many wonders time and time again.