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8 Unique Ways to Experience Fall Foliage in Western PA


Hang up the car keys and experience Western Pennsylvania's gorgeous fall foliage up close and personal with these 10 great fall foliage adventures. From cycling and kayak tours to sweeping views from a chair lift or hot air balloon, tour groups and attractions throughout Western Pennsylvania offer unique perspectives on fall's brilliant colors.

1. Fall Foliage by Rail

Special fall foliage railroad excursions offer gorgeous fall views on real working railroads. Take a fall foliage train trip through the heart of Oil Country on the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad or along the Allegheny River on the Kiski Junction Railroad in Armstrong County. Longer fall foliage excursions are available on the world-renowned New River Train and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad in nearby West Virginia.

2. Fire Tower Views

From the rock ledges of Seneca Point Overlook in Cook Forest State Park you can see the entire Clarion Valley dressed up in its fall finest. An 80-foot climb up old Fire Tower #9 extends the breathtaking view. On a clear day you can see 15 to 20 miles. The fire tower is always open for climbing during daytime hours, and the booth at the very top is open on special days in October for a historical tour and fall foliage photo opportunity.

3. Take to the Air

The family-owned WindsAloft Ballooning in Somerset County offers early morning and evening balloon rides across the beautiful rolling hills of the Laurel Highlands, while vintage biplane rides over the breathtaking Allegheny National Forest are available from the Bradford Regional Airport. Experience Western PA in all its fall beauty!

4. Hike or Bike Down Scenic Forest Paths

Autumn is the ideal time for exploring Pennsylvania's forests by foot or on bike - the air is crisp and cool, the trails are dry and the colors up close are simply breathtaking. From scenic, family-friendly hikes to rugged mountain rambles, these fabulous fall hikes and bikes are a great way to enjoy fall first hand. Don't care to carry a pack? Dragon Run Forge & Livery in Armstrong County offers horse-drawn fall foliage carriage tours.

5. Fabulous Fall Floats

The waterways of Western PA offer many fall foliage experiences, including scenic fall foliage tours, to exhilarating fall kayaking and white-water rafting. Gateway Clipper offers five-hour fall foliage cruises from downtown Pittsburgh. Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park is home to Nautical Nature, which operates weekend fall foliage cruises through the month of October. If you prefer something a little more participatory, try a leisurely fall paddle—a number of area state parks offer guided fall foliage kayak and canoe trips. Or, for an adrenaline rush, there's whitewater rafting on the Gauley River in WV. October is Gauley Season - world-class whitewater! 

6. Fall Foliage on Horseback

Savor fall's breathtaking foliage in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania with a leisurely horseback ride. Many area horse farms offers horse rentals or short trail rides. For a longer adventure, Flying W Ranch offers a variety of guided hour-long, half-day and full-day trail rides through the peaceful Allegheny National Forest. Hickory Creek Ranch, also adjoining the Allegheny National Forest, offers a three-day fall foliage ride.

7. Scenic Chairlift Views

Autumnfest at Seven Springs is a great way to celebrate fall, and the scenic chairlift rides to enjoy the fall scenery are an important part of the fun. Peek'n Peak in western New York also offers fall chairlift rides as part of their Fall Fest.

8. Take a Ride on a Load of Hay

Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, crisp autumn air, and the company of family and friends on a private fall hayride at Mingo Creek Park in Washington County. Includes use of a shelter and firecircle for 2 hours before or after the ride. Reilly's Summer Seat Farm in the North Hills also offers group fall hayrides with a private picnic site and bonfire.
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