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.
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!
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.
From waterfalls to hiking trails to scenic vistas, Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County has it all!
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!
Aside from leaf peeping, Fort Ligonier is an excellent place to learn about early American life in this one-time frontier region of Pennsylvania.
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.
180 degree views and a sea of fall foliage await you at Beam Rocks Overlook!
4. Barronvale Covered Bridge
The Barronvale Covered Bridge isn’t just the longest covered bridge in Somerset County.
It’s also a superb fall foliage destination in the Laurel Highlands!
5. Cole Run Falls
Cole Run Falls is a popular roadside waterfall in the Somerset County portion of the Forbes State Forest.
It’s also an impressive spot to view the famous fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands.
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!
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!
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.
Copper Kettle Trail is another great hiking/biking trail at Laurel Hill State Park, with an abundance of fall foliage everywhere you look.
And Laurel Hill Lake casts perfect reflections of the fall foliage on its calm surface in the shallow areas of the lake.
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!
This iconic symbol of Somerset County, the Pack Saddle Bridge is a one of a kind fall foliage destination in the Laurel Highands.
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!
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.
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.
This 30-foot tall waterfall looks great no matter how much or how little water is flowing in October.
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!
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.
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.
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.
13. Kooser State Park
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.
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!
Mount Davis is home to several scenic vistas, my favorite in the fall being the Camp Buckey Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
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.
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.
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.
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!
17. Lower Humbert Covered Bridge
For nearly 120 years, the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge has spanned Laurel Hill Creek in southern Somerset County.
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.
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.
Hikers, photographers, and the fishing public alike all flock to Meadow Run for the radiant fall foliage along its banks every October.
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.
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.
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.
20. Glessner Covered Bridge
Since 1881, the irresistible fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands has graced the banks of the Stonycreek River around the Glessner Covered Bridge.
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.
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.
Can’t get enough of that Pennsylvania fall foliage?
Then be sure to check out “35 PA Waterfalls for Fall Foliage Lovers”!
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.
“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.
If waterfalls are your passion, be sure to check out “21 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands” for directions to each one.
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”!
“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.
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