Fall foliage camping in Pennsylvania
The fall foliage transformation in Pennsylvania is a month-long event where the leaves of the state’s deciduous forests brilliantly transform to red, orange, yellow, purple, and brown. It’s a spectacle that makes the Northeast the envy of the rest of the country each autumn, and it’s the perfect time to add one last epic camping trip to your annual adventure Read more...
The fall foliage transformation in Pennsylvania is a month-long event where the leaves of the state’s deciduous forests brilliantly transform to red, orange, yellow, purple, and brown. It’s a spectacle that makes the Northeast the envy of the rest of the country each autumn, and it’s the perfect time to add one last epic camping trip to your annual adventure log.
The color shift occurs throughout October, and timing is key. Generally, leaves in the Northern part of the state peak in early October. Central PA often peaks in mid-October. The Philadelphia area and southern PA will peak last, in late October. This fall foliage prediction map can help plan your trip, and you can always message a prospective Hipcamp for details on the peak at their property.
From Philadelphia, it’s a short trip north to the Susquehanna Valley or the Northeastern Mountains where the countryside, rolling mountains and the PA section of the Appalachian Trail converge for an immersive fall foliage destination. If you head west to the Lancaster area, you’ll have an abundance of farmers markets, fall festivals and Oktoberfests to choose from in Dutch Country. There are many kid-friendly Fall activities throughout this region, including pumpkin patches and corn mazes. The nearby Gettysburg National Military Park is also especially beautiful and even more spectral to visit in the Fall.
From Pittsburg, the Laurel Highlands is an obvious autumn choice with its gentle hills and State Parks that offer both peaks and waterfalls, such as Ohiopyle State Park. Or head north, where the Allegheny National Forest and its deciduous trees make for a perfect fall leaf camping destination. The Kinzua Bridge State Park is a must for fall foliage photography here.
But the pinnacle of the Pennsylvania fall foliage might be the Pine Creek Gorge in Central Northern PA. The vast canyon’s trails, vistas and waterfalls give visitors multiple perspectives when the color change hits in mid-October.
There are more rewards for the fall camper than just the beautiful leaves. It’s harvest season, and local markets will have apples, apple butter, pears, cranberries, squash and root vegetables. Check our guide to foil pack recipes for campfire fall veggie roasting inspiration. Temperatures are a bit cooler for fall camping, so make sure you bring warm layers for evenings and morning, and an extra blanket along for sunset leaf peeping. Pack a thermos for cocoa, cider or tea to stay warm in the evenings. Campsites with fire pits are especially nice this time of year.
If you’re not sure you’re ready to test your camping gear in the lower temps, we’ve got you covered - here is a list of RV and van camping sites in Pennsylvania so you can stay snug in the shelter of your vehicle. And here is a list of Hipcamps with cozy lodging, from cabins to tiny homes to treehouses with all the amenities.
Don’t mull this decision over too long - the fall foliage window is brief! Book now for one last camping hurrah in the autumn leaves to celebrate the season’s end.
Here are three of our favorite fall foliage Hipcamps in Pennsylvania:
The Blue Mountain Private Campsite has a beautiful view of the Catskills for prime leaf peeping. Not only that, this site is near the Appalachian trail and Glen Onoko Falls State Park, making it a great destination for an active camping trip. If you’re hoping to see some wildlife, deer, turkey and chipmunks “are everywhere” here, according to the hosts
The Footbridge Haven Farm is a prime spot to explore the fall colors of the Laurel Highlands from. This cozy, wooded campsite has a mix of deciduous trees and conifers that will bring a rainbow of colors this October.
What could be better than a cozy cabin at an alpaca farm next to an Amish produce market? How about one that’s adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest. You’ll have a snug basecamp for fall adventures in Northern PA at Bella Luna - if you ever make it past the adorable alpacas.