Pennsylvania fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Pennsylvania fall foliage. — Saira Bajwa
Valley Forge National Historic Park
Valley Forge National Historic Park was the site of the famously harsh winters that took the lives of so many Americans during the Revolutionary War. Today, visitors can enjoy a much more relaxing autumn there as one of the top spots in Pennsylvania to admire the changing colors of fall. The park is flush with flowering trees, which were planted by the state as far back as 1893. Every autumn, Valley Forge is lit up by dogwoods, red maples, red oaks, hickories and a variety of other trees. Cannons, fortifications and log cabins -- some of which were built using Oak trees from the park -- are palpable reminders of the park's rich history.
1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA | Get Directions
McConnells Mill State Park
The 2,546-acre McConnells Mill State Park boasts a variety of trees that put on a vibrant show of colors during Pennsylvania's peak foliage season, featuring oak, maple and beech leaves along with the greenery of Eastern hemlocks. It's also home to the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge -- a boulder-laden national natural landmark -- and some dangerous whitewater (it's not called "Slippery Rock Creek" for nothing). Visitors can also take a free tour of the historic gristmill -- originally built in 1852 -- for which the park is named. The mill, bought by Thomas McConnell in 1875, was one of the first in the country for processing oats, corn and wheat.
2697 McConnells Mill Rd, Portersville, PA 16051-6111 | Get Directions
Allegheny National Forest
As the National Longhouse Scenic Byway winds through the heart of the Allegheny National Forest, the 27-mile-long loop proffers an impressive variety of foliage all year round: from white mountain laurels to red pines. But in the fall, the black cherry, white ash and oak trees add brilliant new hues to the mix. A few miles east of the loop is the majestic Kinzua Sky Walk, a pedestrian viaduct that rebuilt a historic, 121-year old viaduct that was destroyed in a 2003 tornado. The new structure -- rising 301 feet from the ground -- has partial glass-bottom walkways with panoramic vistas of the forest. The Kinzua had its grand opening September 2011 and is just east of Mt. Jewett.
Allegheny National Forest Bradford Visitors Center, 80 East Corydon Street, Bradford, PA 16701 | Get Directions
A Valley Forge park ranger gives viewers a superb tour of the park during peak foliage season.
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Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.
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