This summertime paddle-wheeled attraction is also the perfect vessel for leaf peeping season. Aboard weekend sightseeing tours (and on some Mondays), you can take in 360-degree views of Harrisburg's riverfront, City Island, and the mountains to the north. Check the riverboat’s calendar for seasonal special-event cruises.
This community park is one of Harrisburg’s outdoor gems, tucked away from the buzzing streets of Downtown Harrisburg. Wildwood features an educational nature center, gorgeous lake, and miles of walking and biking trails. While viewing the changing 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.
A short 30 miles northwest of Harrisburg, Little Buffalo State Park is rich natural beauty and history. Covered bridges and an historic 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. Enjoy more of the view by staying the weekend at one of the park’s campsites or cottages.
Detweiler Park offers mile after mile of peaceful fall scenery. The expansive park covers 400 acres with 7 miles of trails winding through varied habitats. You’ll follow trails where the foliage surrounds you, then emerge into open spaces where you can see the red and golden canopies stretching across the landscape. Don’t be surprised to see deer, plus various species of birds including turkey, hawks, woodpeckers, and bluebirds.
One of the most ideal ways to see the leaves in all their seasonal splendor is to find a spot where you can see for miles. And miles. And miles. Hawk Rock is one of the most “Instagram-able” spots in the region. It’s located in Duncannon on the famed Appalachian Trail. Despite some rocky spots, this trail takes only about 45 minutes to complete and leads to the Cove Mountain Duncannon Overlook. The payoff is a picturesque panorama of the Susquehanna River Valley. 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.” In addition to the AT, our region is home many beautiful hiking trails throughout our neck of "Penn's Woods."
Pro parking tip: Do your online homework ahead of time to map out the route to the parking lot. It’s tucked away behind a residential area at the end of Watershed Drive in Duncannon, PA. From the lot, you’ll head to Inn Road for a short walk the trail head.
Nestled in the valleys of northern Dauphin County, Armstrong Valley Winery & Vineyard was built on farmland dating back to the 1700s. Their wine is made in a refurbished bank barn and mountains line the horizon, providing amazing views of the countryside. On your way to the winery, stop at the top of Peters Mountain (on Route 225) for a scenic overlook that will take your breath away.
Take in the fall foliage along our bike paths and mountain bike trails where you can ride under a canopy of leaves while your tires roll over the crunchy ones that have already fallen. The Capital Area Greenbelt is a 20-mile bike loop through the city of Harrisburg's green spaces with a few off-road mountain biking options. Riverfront Park runs parallel to the Susquehanna River in Downtown Harrisburg and the hill climb at Reservoir Park are the most scenic spots along the Greenbelt for leaf peeping. Serious mountain bikers can head north of Harrisburg to Rattling Creek (pictured above) for intense rides and gorgeous views.
The towering trees at the entrance to Fort Hunter frame the historic mansion in golden leafy hues each fall. Fort Hunter is situated along the Susquehanna River, which cuts through a valley where the surrounding hills are a colorful backdrop to the winding waterway. Locals love to head to the riverbank (carefully!) in the fall for family photos.
Bonus trail: The Capital Area Greenbelt Association recently completed a connector project from the original loop to Fort Hunter. The extension offers another two miles of trail to explore!
Hersheypark® is a must on everyone’s summer itinerary, but the coasters don’t stop coasting in the fall! The park is open on seven weekends in September and October for Hersheypark Halloween. Get a birds-eye view of the fall foliage from the tallest ride in Hersheypark, the Kissing Tower®. Riders are lifted 250 feet above Hershey, experiencing three full rotations at the top for a 360-degree vantage point of the park and the colorful fields and nearby mountains. If you want to pair foliage with a thrilling edge, take in the views from Hershey's Triple TowerSM as you rocket up, then down, then up and down again on one of three towers.
In the center of Uptown Harrisburg at 3rd & Division Streets, beautiful Italian Lake Park is perfect for a city stroll. Year-round, pops of color encircle the lake with springtime blooms and flowering trees in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall.
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant
At Hershey Gardens, autumn is glorious not just on the arms of color swaying from the trees, but also at ground level with rows of brilliant mums and other seasonal plants that offer a warm palette as guests wander the garden’s pathways.