It’s the most colorful time of the year! The time of year when you can feast your eyes on fall foliage. Tucked within the hills and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, The Hershey Harrisburg Region transforms into a festival of fall colors. Golden yellows. Rusty reds. Fiery oranges.
You can see beautiful leaves everywhere in the area. On your car ride in. Your walk to restaurants. Train rides and overhead in planes. But some of the best viewing spots are ones that you have to seek out. We’ve compiled a list of the best fall foliage in the area.
In the heart of Perry County, Little Buffalo State Park is rich with history as well as natural beauty. Covered bridges and an old stone mill can be found on the state park grounds. But what you’re really there for are the hundreds of acres of serene wooded forest. Get the most of the views by staying the weekend at one of the park’s campsites. And mark your calendar for the annual apple festival held the third weekend of October.
One of the ideal ways to see the leaves in all their splendor is to find a spot you can see for miles. And miles… and miles. Hawk Rock, located in Duncannon, is a little tricky to find but well worth the effort. Despite some rough spots, this trail, which takes roughly 45 minutes to complete, leads to the Cove Mountain Duncannon Overlook, best known for its picturesque views of the Susquehanna River Valley. For a real treat, pack a backpack with a picnic lunch to enjoy at the end of the hike. After your hike, grab a refreshing beverage at the Doyle Hotel – a centuries-old building with a storied history. Hikers along the Appalachian Trail know to “visit the Doyle.”
Bullfrog Valley Park
Located just outside of Hershey, Bullfrog Valley Park is a fall dream for kids. A trail follows a small lake to a stream and goes into Shank Park, which has a ton of athletic fields and playgrounds. Finish your leaf viewing on the patio at The Cocoa Beanery, where even furry friends can unwind with a fresh bowl of water.
If biking is more in your wheelhouse, take a ride to view the leaves on Rattling Creek bike trails, near Lykens. These trails within Weiser State Forest offer a chance to envelope yourself in the terrestrial smells of fall; leaf-strewn tracks crunching under bike tires while you ride amongst earth-toned wonders. Rattling Creek is for serious mountain bikers. Casual riders may want to consider Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art or Riverfront Park.
Riverfront Park runs parallel to the Susquehanna River in Downtown Harrisburg. The park features a paved trail that can be used for walking, running and biking. There are numerous spots along the park to view the stunning Susquehanna in all its fall glory. Our favorite would have to be along the Walnut Street Walking Bridge. Make your way to the middle of the bridge and look out along the water for a picture-perfect vista.
Nestled in the valleys of upper Dauphin County, Armstrong Valley Winery was built on farmland dating back to the 1700s. Wine is made in a refurbished bank barn. Animals roam the property. And mountains line the horizon, providing amazing views of the countryside. On your way to the winery, stop at the top of Peters Mountain for a scenic overlook that will take your breath away.
Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art
The center was created to celebrate the life of acclaimed wildlife artist Ned Smith. The Center’s lands offer a tranquil outdoor experience just outside Ned Smith’s hometown of Millersburg. Events are hosted every weekend. So pick a date to stroll along miles of outdoor trails, which are handicap accessible, for a unique leaf viewing experience.
This community park is one of Harrisburg’s outdoor gems, tucked away near Harrisburg Community College just outside of Downtown Harrisburg. The park features an educational nature center, a lake, and miles of trails to use for walking and biking. While you’re viewing leaves, be on the lookout for friends of Wildwood – whitetail deer, hummingbirds and various species of birds stopping in for a visit during their migration pattern.
The days are getting shorter, so make the most of them. Plan your weekend excursion to see the fall foliage in the Hershey Harrisburg Region.