The Best Views in Happy Valley: Fall Edition
In Central Pennsylvania, it feels impossible to go anywhere during the fall without getting a good look at the colorful trees. But there are some places you can go to step up your leaf-viewing game.
10) Greenwood Furnace State Park
Just 30 minutes from State College, Greenwood Furnace is an ideal place to see some foliage. It has a lake, campgrounds, picnicking spots, hiking trails, wildlife, and gorgeous views. Pack up your cider and favorite pumpkin-flavored foods and take a day trip or weekend camping trip to this serene little park.
Visit dcnr.state.pa.us for more info.
9) Bear Meadows Natural Area
Bear Meadows Natural Area sits in Rothrock State Forest, a few miles south of State College. It boasts one of the largest freshwater bogs in the East Allegheny, beautiful 1,000-year-old trees, and fresh blueberries to pick right off the bushes. It is recognized as a National Natural Landmark, and it’s no wonder why.
Visit dcnr.state.pa.us for more info.
Photo: Rich Pace
8) Indian Wells Vista
For the more adventurous type, Indian Wells Vista is the perfect end to a fall hike. The vista is located just south of Boalsburg on the Mid State Trail—it actually overlooks Bear Meadows. If you’re up for a challenge, the trek is more than worth it for such an incredible view (and the photo op).
Visit billshikes.com for more info.
7) Bellefonte’s Fall Foliage Train Rides
What cooler way to experience the fall sights than from the window of an old train? Taking off from the Bellefonte Train Station, you can choose between trips to Pleasant Gap, Tyrone or Sayers Dam. But all three routes guarantee beautiful views of the foliage along Spring Creek and the Bald Eagle Valley. Just sit back and enjoy the view while the train does the work.
Visit bellefontetrain.org for more info.
Photo: Rick Hamilton
6) Fall Foliage Cruises at Raystown Lake
Another unique and awesome way to see the leaves is from the deck of a boat with crisp autumn air around you. Seven Points Marina at Raystown Lake offers its afternoon Fall Foliage Sightseeing Cruises every weekend until mid-October, as well as a few sunset and dinner cruises. You’ll get to see a spectacular display of fall color along the shoreline and clear blue water beneath you.
Visit raystown.org for more info.
Photo: Matthew Price
5) Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake
This overlook provides an amazing view of the lake, the old dam and the Raystown Branch Gorge… So amazing that it was voted as one of the Top 100 Scenic Views in America by the Camping Club of America! You might even get a bonus sighting of a bald eagle, which are there throughout the year.
See raystown.org for more info.
Photo: Michael Houtz
4) Tussey Mountain
You probably already know to visit Tussey in the winter, but it’s actually one of autumn’s hidden gems. It has a breathtaking view of the valley below it and the mountains around it. Plus, there are go-karts, golf, a skate park, and a pond complete with pavilion and paddleboats. And one of Tussey’s biggest annual events, Oktoberfest, takes place October 6 this year.
Visit tusseymountain.com for more info.
Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli
3) I-99/Route 322
Seeing one of the most awesome views around Happy Valley is as easy as taking a little drive. Anywhere along the State College-to-Altoona portion of I-99/Rt. 322 gives you a stunning view of mountains as far as the eye can see. Just make sure you find someone else to drive you so you can really take it in! (Or, if you’re really nice, offer to switch places on the way back.)
2) Mount Nittany
Mount Nittany is famous for a reason. It’s where you can see the entirety of our beloved valley—complete with Beaver Stadium—and there’s no better time than the fall to look out over all those trees! Wait for a nice, sunny day and take the hike, especially if you still haven’t crossed it off your Penn State bucket list.
Visit mtnittany.org for more info.
Photo: Andy Colwell
1) Penn State Campus
Whether you’re an alum, a current student, a State College resident or a visitor, this beautiful campus never disappoints. Take a walk up Old Main lawn. Visit the Lion Shrine with colorful trees surrounding it. Grab a table in front of the Creamery and look around (and maybe even try a seasonal flavor, like Monster Mash). Sit on any of the endless benches throughout campus and just soak it all in. No matter where you go on Penn State’s campus, you’re guaranteed a view of fall so good it’ll renew your love for Happy Valley all over again.
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