My 25 Favorite PA Fall Foliage Destinations of 2021

The Kinzua Bridge skywalk, surrounded by fall foliage.
The Kinzua Bridge skywalk, surrounded by fall foliage.

2021 was another banner year for PA fall foliage lovers!

Fall foliage views from the top of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage views from the top of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

Over the month of October I logged over 4,000 miles on my truck (and a few more on my kayak), criss-crossing the state in search of the best fall foliage colors Mother Nature had to offer.

Fall foliage view from the kayak on October 11th, 2021.
Fall foliage view from the kayak on October 11th, 2021.

So now that the fall foliage season is winding down, here’s a recap of my 25 favorite PA fall foliage destinations I visited in 2021, listed in chronological order of when I visited them.

Fall foliage in the valley around Denton Hill State Park in Potter County.
Fall foliage in the valley around Denton Hill State Park in Potter County.

From Potter County in early October to Huntingdon County in the waning days of the month.

Fall foliage views from Hawn's Overlook in Huntingdon County PA.
Fall foliage views from Hawn’s Overlook above Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, October 2021.

From the Poconos to the Laurel Highlands, and everywhere in between.

The Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, PA.

Scroll through this list of my 25 favorite PA fall foliage destinations of 2021, and see if you don’t come up with some ideas for YOUR fall foliage bucket list for next year!

The Quehanna Highway on October 12th, 2021.
The Quehanna Highway on October 12th, 2021.

1. Denton Hill State Park

My first time at Denton Hill State Park was certainly a memorable visit.

Ski lift at the abandoned Denton Hill State Park ski resort.
The abandoned ski resort at Denton Hill State Park.

This former ski resort in Potter County, now abandoned to the elements, was bathed in brilliant fall colors on this day.

Beautiful fall foliage surrounding the abandoned ski lifts at Denton Hill State Park.
Beautiful fall foliage surrounding the abandoned ski lifts at Denton Hill State Park.

2. Kinzua Bridge State Park

I’ve been to Kinzua Bridge State Park before, but never in the fall.

View of Kinzua Bridge skywalk from footbridge over Kinzua Creek.
View of Kinzua Bridge skywalk from footbridge over Kinzua Creek.

After this year, I just may want to visit EVERY fall, it was that spectacular!

Looking back towards the Visitor Center and the fall foliage from the Kinzua Bridge skywalk.
Looking back towards the Visitor Center and the fall foliage from the Kinzua Bridge skywalk.

3. Jake’s Rocks

The fall foliage at Jakes Rocks Overlook was really starting to pop when I visited on the afternoon of October 6th, 2021!

Approaching Jakes Rocks Overlook in the Allegheny National Forest.
Approaching Jakes Rocks Overlook in the Allegheny National Forest.

This was my first visit to this popular overlook in the Allegheny National Forest, but it certainly won’t be my last.

Jakes Rocks Picnic Area and Overlook in the Allegheny National Forest.
Jakes Rocks Picnic Area and Overlook in the Allegheny National Forest.

4. Rimrock Overlook

The fall foliage at Rimrock Overlook was outstanding when I visited on the afternoon of October 6th, 2021.

Looking north over the Allegheny Reservoir from Rimrock Overlook in Warren County.
Looking north over the Allegheny Reservoir from Rimrock Overlook in Warren County.

Another first for me, Rimrock Overlook is an easy-to-reach overlook and picnic area in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County.

A panoramic view of Rimrock Overlook on the eastern shore of the Allegheny Reservoir.
A panoramic view of Rimrock Overlook on the eastern shore of the Allegheny Reservoir.

5. Marilla Bridges Trail

The Marilla Bridges Trail is a gorgeous 1-mile loop trail around the Marilla Reservoir near Bradford, just a few minutes south of the Pennsylvania/New York border.

Covered Bridge along the Marilla Bridges Trail near Bradford, Pennsylvania.
The Eric Benjamin Covered Bridge along the Marilla Bridges Trail in McKean County.

My first visit to this trail was extremely enjoyable, and I highly recommend it if you’re passing through the Bradford area.

Fall foliage around one of the three bridges along the Marilla Bridges Trail.
Fall foliage around one of the three bridges along the Marilla Bridges Trail.

6. Lyman Run State Park

I’d always wanted to see the famous “sawtooth dam” at Lyman Run State Park in Potter County, and finally got the chance in early October.

The sawtooth Lyman Run Dam at Lyman Run State Park.
The sawtooth-shaped Lyman Run Dam at Lyman Run State Park.

Not only was the dam impressive, but the scenic overlook downstream was outstanding as well.

Spectacular Fall foliage at Lyman Lake Vista along Rock Run Road in Potter County, PA.
Spectacular fall foliage at Lyman Lake Vista along Rock Run Road in Potter County.

7. Canoe Creek State Park

I’ve been to Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County many times, but the fall foliage around the abandoned lime kilns there was extra-vibrant in 2021.

Fall foliage around the lime kilns at Canoe Creek State Park.
Fall foliage around the lime kilns at Canoe Creek State Park.

These aging remnants of the massive limestone quarrying operation that once operated here were surrounded by beautiful reds and golds on the day I visited, and I was happy for it!

Early October at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County, Pennsylvania.
Early October at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County, Pennsylvania.

8. Laurel Hill State Park

It’s no secret that Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County is one of THE BEST PA state parks for fall foliage viewing, and this year was no exception.

Fall foliage around the entrance to Laurel Hill State Park on October 10th, 2021.
Fall foliage around the entrance to Laurel Hill State Park on October 10th, 2021.

Jones Mill Run Dam is a perennial favorite destination of mine in October, and this year was no different.

Vibrant fall foliage around Jones Mill Run Dam on October 9th, 2021.
Jones Mill Run Dam at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County.

9. Black Moshannon State Park

The state park I visit most often, due to its proximity to my home, Black Moshannon State Park in Centre County put on another fantastic display of fall colors in 2021.

Fall foliage around the beach at Black Moshannon State Park in October, 2021.
Fall foliage around the beach at Black Moshannon State Park in October, 2021.

If you’ve never visited Black Moshannon in October, definitely put it on your fall foliage bucket list.

Fall foliage along the Bog Trail at Black Moshannon State Park in October, 2021.
Fall foliage along the Bog Trail at Black Moshannon State Park in October, 2021.

10. Quehanna Wild Area

The Quehanna Wild Area encompasses parts of Clearfield, Elk, and Cameron counties, and October is a great time to explore it.

Fall foliage at Teaberry Trail Vista in the Quehanna Wild Area on October 12th, 2021.
Fall foliage at Teaberry Trail Vista in the Quehanna Wild Area on October 12th, 2021.

Even if you don’t get out of the car, the Quehanna Wild Area makes for a great road trip destination.

Fall foliage along Wykoff Run Road on October 12th, 2021.
Fall foliage along Wykoff Run Road in the Quehanna Wild Area on October 12th, 2021.

11. Sinnemahoning State Park

When I visited Sinnemahoning State Park on October 12th, the best colors were to be found around the 40 Maples Picnic area, on the banks of Sinnemahoning Creek.

Fall foliage at the 40 Maples picnic area at Sinnemahoning State Park.
Fall foliage at the 40 Maples picnic area at Sinnemahoning State Park.

Meanwhile, foliage was just starting to appear around Stevenson Dam there.

Fall foliage starting to appear around the Stevenson Dam at Sinnemahoning State Park on October 12th, 2021.
Fall foliage starting to appear around the Stevenson Dam at Sinnemahoning State Park on October 12th, 2021.

12. Kettle Creek State Park

Kettle Creek State Park in Clinton County is another favorite fall foliage spot of mine, and this year I got there probably a week before the peak of the best colors this year.

Fall foliage views to the north along Kettle Creek on October 12th, 2021.
Fall foliage views to the north along Kettle Creek on October 12th, 2021.

Nevertheless, there’s no such thing as a BAD time to visit Kettle Creek State Park!

Fall foliage views around Kettle Creek on October 12th, 2021.
Fall foliage views around Kettle Creek on October 12th, 2021.

13. RB Winter State Park

I visited RB Winter State Park in Union County on October 18th, and found the fall foliage conditions at the overlook high above the park to be excellent.

A perfect fall day for selfies at the RB Winter State Park scenic overlook.
Scenic overlook at RB Winter State Park in Union County.

Around the beach area, there were also some extra-colorful red maples.

Fall foliage along the beach at RB Winter State Park in Union County, PA.
Fall foliage along the beach at RB Winter State Park in Union County.

14. Hickory Run State Park

I hit Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County at exactly the right time for the best fall foliage this year.

Fireline Trail Vista in the northwestern corner of HIckory Run State Park.
Fireline Trail Vista in the northwestern corner of HIckory Run State Park.

Just about everywhere I went in the park, I was greeting with stunning fall foliage colors.

Fall foliage around Stametz Dam at Hickory Run State Park.
Fall foliage around Stametz Dam at Hickory Run State Park.

15. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway was one of the most memorable fall foliage-related activities I did in 2021.

Fall foliage around the train station in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, PA.

Departing from the historic train station in downtown Jim Thorpe, the train winds its way north into Lehigh Gorge State Park on a remarkable fall foliage excursion.

Passing over the Lehigh River on the fall foliage train out of Jim Thorpe.
Passing over the Lehigh River on the fall foliage train out of Jim Thorpe.

16. Tank Hollow Overlook

Tank Hollow Overlook in Carbon County was a new-to-me vista, and what a great view it offers!

Early fall foliage at Tank Hollow Overlook on SGL 141.
Early fall foliage at Tank Hollow Overlook on SGL 141.

Standing high above a bend in the Lehigh River, Tank Hollow Overlook is indeed worthy of high praise it receives.

Overlooking the Lehigh River from Tank Hollow.
Overlooking the Lehigh River from Tank Hollow.

17. Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park exceeded my expectations when I visited on October 21st.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Pictures don’t really do this cascading waterfall justice, but suffice to say this is a beautiful and easy-to-reach sight not to be missed if you’re in the Jim-Thorpe area.

Buttermilk Falls along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Buttermilk Falls along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

18. Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park was another new-to-me waterfall in 2021, and visiting in October made it ever sweeter.

Fall foliage around Luke's Falls in October, 2021.
Fall foliage around Luke’s Falls in October, 2021.

Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is an easy 1/4 mile hike/bike ride south of the Rockport Access to the park along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

Luke's Falls sign along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.
Luke’s Falls sign along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

19. Mount Pisgah Trail

The Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe leads to two fantastic views, even more so with the emergent fall foliage.

Lehigh Gorge Overlook along the Mount Pisgah Trail.
Lehigh Gorge Overlook along the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.

Both the north-facing Lehigh Gorge Overlook (pictured above) and the south-facing Jim Thorpe Overlook (pictured below) are magnificent, and located just a few hundred yards from each other atop Mount Pisgah.

Looking into Jim Thorpe from the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail.
Looking into Jim Thorpe from the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail.

20. Pack Saddle Bridge

For my money, the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County is the prettiest covered bridge in Pennsylvania.

Fall foliage around the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in October, 2021.
Fall foliage around the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in October, 2021.

The unique combination of a covered bridge, waterfalls, and fall foliage is a recipe for a memorable scene, and that’s the scenario at the Pack Saddle Bridge every October.

Downstream view of the Pack Saddle Bridge over Brush Creek in Somerset County.
Downstream view of the Pack Saddle Bridge over Brush Creek in Somerset County.

21. Forbes State Forest

The Forbes State Forest in the Laurel Highlands is another perennial favorite fall foliage destination of mine.

Fall foliage along Gary Road in the Forbes State Forest
Fall foliage along Gary Road in the Forbes State Forest.

Cole Run Falls looked great on the day I visited in October, even if the flow was a bit low.

The upper tier of Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest, surrounded by fall foliage.
The upper tier of Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest, surrounded by fall foliage.

Wolf Rocks Overlook was another great fall foliage hike I did in the Forbes State Forest, on a misty mountain morning in late October.

Looking in the direction of Donegal on an October morning at Wolf Rocks Overlook.
Looking in the direction of Donegal on an October morning at Wolf Rocks Overlook.

22. Mill Creek Falls in Westmoreland County

Mill Creek Falls is a picturesque, cascading waterfall on State Game Lands 42 in Westmoreland County.

Fall foliage around Mill Creek Falls in Westmoreland County PA.
Fall foliage around Mill Creek Falls in Westmoreland County, October 2021.

23. Hawn’s Overlook

Hawn’s Overlook above Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County was a great late-season fall foliage destination I visited this year.

Hawn's Overlook above Raystown Lake in October 2021.
Hawn’s Overlook above Raystown Lake in October, 2021.

24. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls resembled a staircase of water making its way downhill towards Great Trough Creek in Huntingdon County on the rainy October morning I visited.

Fall foliage around Rainbow Falls at Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County PA.
Fall foliage around Rainbow Falls at Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County, October 2021.

25. Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park, my personal favorite western PA fall foliage destination, outdid itself this year.

Fall foliage views from the top of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage views from the top of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

The colors may have been a week later than normal in 2021, but what a show they put on when they arrived!

Fall foliage around Ohiopyle Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage around Ohiopyle Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the colors at Ohiopyle as vibrant as they were this year.

Fall foliage at Baughman Rock Overlook at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Baughman Rock Overlook at Ohiopyle State Park.

And ample rainfall meant the waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park were in peak form.

Fall foliage around the Lower Cascades at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage around the Lower Cascades at Ohiopyle State Park.

So there you have it – 25 of my favorite PA fall foliage destinations that I visited in October of 2021!

View from the debris field, looking up towards the Kinzua Bridge skywalk and the surrounding fall foliage.
View from the debris field, looking up towards the Kinzua Bridge skywalk and the surrounding fall foliage.

I hope you enjoyed the photos, and possibly got some ideas for your own fall foliage road trips in 2022!

Late afternoon glow off of Black Moshannon Lake.
Late afternoon glow off of Black Moshannon Lake.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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