It can be hard to remember when you live in the city, but this here state of ours has some strong leaf game. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, our unique latitude, topography and elevation provides for the longest and most varied fall foliage season in the world thanks to 134 species of trees and shrubs. Meaning, yes, we’re kind of a big deal.
Want to make the most of this fall’s show? We put together three colorful leaf-peeping weekend trips.
Through the end of October, the Poconos issues localized weekly fall foliage forecasts for hopeful visitors; visit poconomountains.com or call 570-421-5565 for the report. From hayrides to plane tours to lake cruises, there are plenty of ways to take it all in, as well as top-notch campgrounds if you’d like to wake up in a rainbow. Rather be pampered? Book a room at The Lodge at Woodloch and enjoy autumn spa packages including wine pedicures and orchard body polishes. Yes and yes, please.
Lancaster is almost as synonymous with fall as the pumpkin spice latte. Farmers markets, pumpkin patches and apple festivals await under the autumn canopy, while hot air balloon rides provide a birds-eye view of some of the state’s finest foliage. And don’t worry—the food has improved since your last class trip to Amish Country. Reserve a table at Australia-meets-Pennsylvania restaurant Aussie and The Fox or vegan hotspot Root and you’ll quickly forget you’re no longer in the city.
Out in Bucks County, New Hope celebrates autumn’s golden hour with the best of them. Hop aboard the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad for a countryside leaf tour aboard a 1920s passenger coach, sip your way through a winery or take it all in while shopping on so-quaint-it-hurts Main Street. As for accommodations, the historic Logan Inn is reportedly haunted by eight ghosts—request Room 6 if you want to meet Emily, who has no plans of checking out.
Pennypack Creek Trail
Tucked away on the outskirts of the Northeast, Pennypack Park boasts a 13-mile creekside trail brimming with sycamores, maples and oaks.
Peace Valley Nature Center
In Doylestown, Peace Valley offers 14 miles of trails through mature woods and meadows at the foot of Lake Galena. Over the flashy, flame-leaved hickories? Take a hike on the Evergreen Trail, which includes a White Pine grove.
This five-mile path through the Wissahickon is a local fall favorite thanks to its impressive canopy. Your Instagram moment: the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge remaining in a major US city.
Looking to optimize your leaf peeping? The Bureau of Forestry updates its Fall Foliage map weekly at dcnr.state.pa.us.