The 7 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Buchanan State Forest is your guide to discovering the most sensational scenic vistas in Bedford, Fulton, and Franklin counties, along Pennsylvania’s southern border.
And the best part – many of these scenic overlooks are also ROADSIDE, meaning just about anyone can experience the thrill of standing high above the forests and fields below.
So follow along as I show you 7 of the best scenic overlooks in the Buchanan State Forest, along with a few others that border the forest on public lands.
I’ll provide you with maps and GPS coordinates for each scenic overlook, so that you can plug them into your favorite hiking app or navigational device if you choose.
Starting in the western portion of the forest in Bedford County, I’ll then move east in my descriptions.
You, of course, can visit them in any order you like!
1. Warrior Ridge Vista
For stunning fall foliage views, it’s hard to bear Warrior Ridge Vista in Bedford County.
Warrior Ridge Vista is located along Blankley Road in the Buchanan State Forest, approximately 11 miles south of Bedford and just off of Route 326 near the village of Rainsburg.
Use GPS coordinates 39.87001, -78.51487 to navigate to this superb southeastern view of Bedford County.
And don’t be surprise if you find yourself stopping to take photos of Blankley Road itself on your way to the next vista I’ll talk about!
2. Rainsburg Vista
Located 3/4 of a mile further along Blankley Road you’ll encounter Rainsburg Vista, with wide-open views to the north and west.
Use GPS coordinates 39.86386, -78.52488 to navigate to Rainsburg View, and savor the sights of the fertile Bedford County farmland below.
3. Fisher Road Vista
Fisher Road Vista is located in eastern Bedford County, near the Fulton County line.
Use GPS coordinates 40.08917, -78.21628 to navigate to this sumptuous spot with views to the south in the direction of Breezewood.
Fisher Road Vista is also referred to in some literature as a hang glider launch, although I personally have never witnessed any hang gliders or paragliders launching from there.
4. Bark Road Vista
Located just off Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway), Bark Road Vista offers impressive views to the east, in the direction of McConnellsburg.
The fall foliage views from Bark Road Vista are gorgeous!
Use GPS coordinates 40.00217, -78.13062 to navigate to Bark Road Vista, located near the Sideling Hill Picnic Area along Route 30.
The two long barns located in the center of the photo below are a familiar sight to anyone who has even been to Bark Road Vista.
5. Summit Road Vista
Summit Road Vista is located at GPS coordinates 40.09721, -78.09091 in the Buchanan State Forest.
This roadside spot in Fulton County is a favorite of amateur radio enthusiasts as well, so don’t be shocked if you see a scene similar to the one below when visiting Summit Road Vista.
6. Big Mountain Overlook
Big Mountain Overlook is one of the most impressive and most popular scenic overlooks in the Buchanan State Forest.
To the north you have ridge views of Broad Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, and Tuscarora Mountain.
To the south, views in the direction of Fort Loudon and Maryland.
Also sometimes referred to as Tower Road Vista, you can find Big Mountain Overlook at GPS coordinates 39.95004, -77.93711, along Tower Road in the Buchanan State Forest.
And prepare to be awe-struck if you visit Big Mountain Overlook in mid-October!
7. Knobsville Vista
Located along the fringe of Cowans Gap State Park, Knobsville Vista is a marvelous scenic overlook along the the 84 mile-long Standing Stone Trail.
Use GPS coordinates 40.00052, -77.93462 to navigate to this northwestern view of Lick Run and Knobsville beyond that.
This is yet another must-see spot for fall foliage lovers in Fulton County.
Bonus View #1 – Cowans Gap Overlook
Cowans Gap Overlook is located along the Standing Stone Trail / Knobsville Road Trail inside the boundaries of Cowans Gap State Park.
A steady uphill hike (or ride – this is an approved bridle trail) of approximately 1.5 miles brings you out to this scenic overlook high above Cowans Gap Lake and the park below.
The hike itself, while strenuous, is equally brilliant in the fall!
Use GPS coordinates 39.99924, -77.93520 to locate Cowans Gap Overlook, although you probably wont need them as the trail and overlook are well-marked and easy to follow.
Bonus View #2 – Tuscarora Summit Hang Glider Launch
Located just off Route 30, the Tuscarora Summit Hang Glider Launch is an exceptional spot to watch adrenaline-junkies engage in the gravity-defying pastimes of hang gliding and parasailing.
Located on a parcel of land owned by the Capitol Hang Glider Association, Inc., this scenic overlook offers an admirable view of McConnellsburg to the west, even on a day without hang gliders / parasailers.
But when the conditions are right and the thrill-seekers are in their element, the scene becomes even more magical!
The brightly colored parasails complemented the fall foliage nicely during this October visit.
Use GPS coordinates 39.91434, -77.95832 to navigate to the Tuscarora Summit Hang Glider Launch, at the very peak of Tuscarora Summit along Route 30.
And be sure to look straight up – you might see parasailers riding the thermals like a flock of buzzards!
So there you have it – 7 of the best scenic overlooks in the Buchanan State Forest!
Plus 2 bonus views, for a total of 9 extraordinary scenic overlooks
in Bedford and Fulton counties!
If scenic overlooks are your passion, be sure to check out 50 of the Best Scenic Overlooks in PA for directions to the finest views in all of Pennsylvania!
The 35 best roadside scenic overlooks in PA is your guide to some of the most beautiful vistas in Pennsylvania that require no hiking whatsoever to enjoy!
Check out “The 7 Best Things to Do at Cowans Gap State Park” for directions to the top attractions at this magnificent Fulton County state park.
Shawnee State Park in Bedford County opened to the public in 1951, and has been a magnet for tourists ever since!
The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, quite possibly the most unique bike trail in all of Pennsylvania, spans portions of Bedford and Fulton counties in the valleys below several of the scenic overlooks mentioned in this article.
The highlights of this 13-mile long bike trail are 2 abandoned turnpike tunnels at Rays Hill and Sideling Hill.
You can find maps and directions to the parking areas at either ends of the bike trail in my write-up “Exploring the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike”.
The abandoned South Penn Railroad Aqueduct in Fulton County is a 140 year-old, perfectly-preserved remnant of a railroad that never was.
The abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp in Fulton County was used to house German prisoners of war after the Nazis surrendered in May, 1945.
“The 12 Best Scenic Overlooks in Huntingdon County” will introduce you to a dozen magnificent vistas in nearby Huntingdon County.
The Bedford Coffee Pot is a unique “roadside giant” left over from the glory days of the Lincoln Highway as it passed through Bedford County.
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