20 Fabulous Fall Foliage Destinations in the Laurel Highlands of PA

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Fall foliage at Seven Springs Resort in Somerset County Pennsylvania.

The Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania are Heaven on Earth for fall foliage lovers!

And that’s not just a native son bragging on his home turf.

Recently USA Today recently ranked the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania the #3 place in the entire United States to view fall foliage.

USA Today Top 10 Fall Foliage Destination in the United States
USA Today Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations in the United States

And they were kind enough to use one of my photos to illustrate the point!


But the Laurel Highlands is a LARGE area, encompassing 3 counties – Somerset, Fayette, and Westmoreland.

So how do you find THE BEST spots to view the fall foliage there?

I’ll show you!

Fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Follow along as I share with you directions to 20 fabulous fall foliage destinations in the Laurel Highlands!

Simply click on the blue text links to view maps / directions to each location.


1. Ohiopyle State Park

If you had time to visit only one fall foliage destination in the Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle State Park would without a doubt be my first recommendation.

Fall foliage at Ohiopyle Falls in Fayette County.
Fall foliage at Ohiopyle Falls in Fayette County.

From waterfalls to hiking trails to scenic vistas, Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County has it all!

The Low Bridge over the Youghiogheny River surrounded by fall foliage.
The Low Bridge in Ohiopyle surrounded by fall foliage.

2. Fort Ligonier

You might not think of a fort as a traditional fall foliage destination, but the autumn leaves at Fort Ligonier in Westmoreland County are spectacular!

Fall foliage at Fort Ligonier in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage at Fort Ligonier in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania.

Aside from leaf peeping, Fort Ligonier is an excellent place to learn about early American life in this one-time frontier region of Pennsylvania.

Fall foliage and historical reenactors at Fort Ligonier Days.
Fall foliage and historical reenactors at Fort Ligonier.

3. Beam Rocks Overlook

Beam Rocks Overlook is a quick 10 minute hike from Laurel Summit Road in Somerset County to a sweeping vantage point in the Forbes State Forest.

Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

180 degree views and a sea of fall foliage await you at Beam Rocks Overlook!

An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.
An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.

4. Barronvale Covered Bridge

The Barronvale Covered Bridge isn’t just the longest covered bridge in Somerset County.

Laurel Highlands fall foliage in full swing at the Barronvale Covered Bridge, Somerset County PA
Laurel Highlands fall foliage in full swing at the Barronvale Covered Bridge, Somerset County PA

It’s also a superb fall foliage destination in the Laurel Highlands!

Autumn arrives in the Laurel Highlands at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA.
Autumn arrives in the Laurel Highlands at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA.

5. Cole Run Falls

Cole Run Falls is a popular roadside waterfall in the Somerset County portion of the Forbes State Forest.

Fall foliage at Cole Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage at Cole Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.

It’s also an impressive spot to view the famous fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands.

Fall foliage at Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.
Fall foliage at Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.

6. The Big Savage Tunnel

A tunnel may seem like an odd choice for a fall foliage destination, but you won’t be disappointed by a visit to the Big Savage Tunnel in Somerset County!

Approaching the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County, PA.
Approaching the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County, PA.

The scenery around the northern entrance and from the scenic overlook near the southern end of the 0.6 mile-long Big Savage Tunnel are outstanding in October!

The Big Savage Tunnel Overlook in Somerset County.
The Big Savage Tunnel Overlook in Somerset County.

7. Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill State Park is a 4,000 acre gem in Somerset County, with the Jones Mill Run Dam being a perennial favorite destination for fall foliage enthusiasts.

Fall foliage at Laurel Hill State Park near Somerset Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage at Laurel Hill State Park near Somerset Pennsylvania.

Copper Kettle Trail is another great hiking/biking trail at Laurel Hill State Park, with an abundance of fall foliage everywhere you look.

Fall foliage along the Copper Kettle Trail at Laurel Hill State Park.
Fall foliage along the Copper Kettle Trail at Laurel Hill State Park.

And Laurel Hill Lake casts perfect reflections of the fall foliage on its calm surface in the shallow areas of the lake.

Fall foliage around Laurel Hill Lake at Laurel Hill State Park.
Fall foliage around Laurel Hill Lake at Laurel Hill State Park.

8. Pack Saddle Covered Bridge

Quite possibly the most famous covered bridge in Pennsylvania, the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge is a must-see when viewing fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands!

A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

This iconic symbol of Somerset County, the Pack Saddle Bridge is a one of a kind fall foliage destination in the Laurel Highands.

Fall foliage at the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in the Laurel Highlands of PA.
Fall foliage at the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in the Laurel Highlands of PA.

9. Wolf Rocks Overlook

The commanding views of Westmoreland County make Wolf Rocks Overlook an impressive destination any time of year, but even more so in October!

Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Somerset County PA
Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Somerset County PA

One of the most impressive scenic overlooks in the Laurel Highlands, Wolf Rocks is an outstanding hike with some serious wow factor at the end.

November morning at Wolf Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.
November morning at Wolf Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.

10. Cucumber Falls

One of the most photogenic (and photographed) waterfalls in western Pennsylvania, Cucumber Falls in Fayette County is a magical sight in October.

An autumn view of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

This 30-foot tall waterfall looks great no matter how much or how little water is flowing in October.

Fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands at Cucumber Falls.
Fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands at Cucumber Falls.

11. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

It stands to reason that the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail would offer up remarkable opportunities for viewing fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands!

The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

This 70-mile long hiking trail stretches from Ohiopyle State Park in the south to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown in the north, and passes right by Beam Rocks Overlook, mentioned earlier.

Fall foliage around Beam Rocks in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage around Beam Rocks in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

12. New Baltimore Covered Bridge

Since 1879, the New Baltimore Covered Bridge has been a superb place for viewing fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

New Baltimore Covered Bridge in the fall.
New Baltimore Covered Bridge in the fall.

One of the 10 remaining covered bridges in Somerset County, New Baltimore Bridge is still drivable to this day and makes for a colorful pitstop when viewing fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

New Baltimore Covered Bridge surrounded by fall foliage.

13. Kooser State Park

Fall foliage at Kooser State Park in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage at Kooser State Park in the Laurel Highlands.

The highlight of 250-acre Kooser State Park in Somerset County is Kooser Lake which, when calm, creates mirror-like reflections of the fall foliage on its surface.

Fall foliage at Kooser State Park near Somerset Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage at Kooser State Park near Somerset Pennsylvania.

14. Mount Davis

Mount Davis is the highest point above sea level in Pennsylvania (3,213 feet), and the views of fall foliage from there there are priceless!

The view from Camp Buckey Overlook in October.
The view from Camp Buckey Overlook in October.

Mount Davis is home to several scenic vistas, my favorite in the fall being the Camp Buckey Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

Fall foliage surrounding Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County PA
Fall foliage surrounding Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County PA

15. Jonathan Run Trail

If you want to combine hiking, waterfalls, and fall foliage there’s no better place in the Laurel Highlands to do that than the Jonathan Run Trail in Fayette County.

Fall foliage at Upper Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Upper Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

With 2 large waterfalls and 2 miles of smaller cascades, this streamside hike offers up unforgettable views of the fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

Fall foliage at Lower Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Lower Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

16. Baughman Rock Overlook

Baughman Rock Overlook sits high above the Youghiogheny River valley in Fayette County, and offers a superb view of the brilliant fall foliage the Laurel Highlands is famous for.

A sunny autumn afternoon at Baughman Rock Overlook.
A sunny autumn afternoon at Baughman Rock Overlook.

In addition to being a reliable fall foliage spot, Baughman Rock Overlook is also a dazzling place to watch the sunrise on an October morning!

The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.
The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.

17. Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

For nearly 120 years, the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge has spanned Laurel Hill Creek in southern Somerset County.

Lower Humbert Covered Bridge over Laurel HIll Creek in Somerset County PA
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge over Laurel Hill Creek in Somerset County PA

At 126 feet long, it is still open to everyday traffic, and serves as a graceful focal point for fall foliage photographs in the Laurel Highlands.

Autumn at Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

18. Meadow Run Trail

The Meadow Run Trail is a 1.85 mile loop-hike in Fayette County, half of which takes place along the banks of Meadow Run.

Fall foliage along Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage along Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

Hikers, photographers, and the fishing public alike all flock to Meadow Run for the radiant fall foliage along its banks every October.

Fly fisherman at Flat Rock along the Meadow Run Trail.
Fly fisherman at Flat Rock along the Meadow Run Trail.

19. The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole on Blue Hole Run (along Blue Hole Road!) in Somerset County turns a magical shade of gold every October.

Fall foliage at the Blue Hole in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage at the Blue Hole in the Laurel Highlands.

Located close to Cole Run Falls (mentioned earlier), you’ll find it roadside at an obvious pull-off at GPS coordinates 39.97254, -79.29808.

A map to the Blue Hole in the Forbes State Forest in Somerset County PA
A map to the Blue Hole in the Forbes State Forest in Somerset County PA

This Forbes State Forest attraction takes on a dreamy appearance when the pool of water composing the Blue Hole fills with swirling red and gold leaves.

Fall foliage at the Blue Hole in Somerset County.
Fall foliage at the Blue Hole in Somerset County.

20. Glessner Covered Bridge

Glessner Covered Bridge is located just outside of Shanksville, a few miles from the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Fall foliage at Glessner Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania
Fall foliage at Glessner Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania

Since 1881, the irresistible fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands has graced the banks of the Stonycreek River around the Glessner Covered Bridge.

Fall foliage around the Glessner Covered Bridge in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage around the Glessner Covered Bridge in the Laurel Highlands.

Honorable Mention

Although it is currently (as of September 2020) closed due to COVID, the Somerset Historical Center is normally a prime spot to view fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands.

Fall foliage at the Somerset Historical Center in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage at the Somerset Historical Center in the Laurel Highlands.

In addition to numerous historic buildings scattered around the grounds of the museum, the Somerset Historical Center is also home to Walters Mill Covered Bridge, moved there to prevent its demolition in the 1960s.

Fall foliage at Walters Mill Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA

Can’t get enough of that Pennsylvania fall foliage?

An autumn view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
An autumn view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Then be sure to check out “35 PA Waterfalls for Fall Foliage Lovers”!

Fall foliage at Rusty Run Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest.
Fall foliage at Rusty Run Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest.

If you’d like to check out a driving tour of ALL the covered bridges in Somerset County, click HERE to view my extensive write-up on the subject, as well as a link to a FREE, downloadable covered bridges map put out by the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce.

Fall foliage at Trostletown Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage at Trostletown Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania.

“The 12 Best Places to View Fall Foliage at Ohiopyle State Park” will give you directions to a dozen of the top spots to view fall foliage at this iconic Laurel Highlands destination.

Fall foliage around the High Bridge at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage around the High Bridge at Ohiopyle State Park.

If waterfalls are your passion, be sure to check out “21 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands” for directions to each one.

Fall foliage at Fechter Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Fechter Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.

If you’re looking for another unforgettable fall foliage experience, be sure to check out “Where to Find Incredible Fall Foliage Views in the PA Grand Canyon”!

A PA Grand Canyon Overlook with a view of the fall foliage in Tioga County.
A PA Grand Canyon Overlook with a view of the fall foliage in Tioga County.

“15 PA State Parks Perfect for Fall Foliage Lovers” will guide you to 15 of the finest Pennsylvania state parks for experiencing amazing fall foliage views.

Boating at Greenwood Furnace State Park in October.
Boating at Greenwood Furnace State Park in October.

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