PENNSYLVANIA — Fall foliage is nearing peak brilliance in Pennsylvania. The 2023 Fall Foliage Prediction Map indicates leaves will peak in most parts of the state during the weeks of Oct. 16 and Oct. 23.
The predictive map, from the travel site Smokymountains.com, uses a refined data model based on historical and forecast temperatures and precipitation, the types of trees prominent in specific geographic areas, and real-time user reports.
The map is easy to use. The slider at the bottom resets weekly to include the latest data. To see when leaves are expected to peak, move the slider to the right. Leaves haven’t started changing yet in green areas, and the brown color means foliage has passed its peak.
As with any meteorological forecast dependent upon weather variables, leaf predictions aren’t always 100 percent accurate, but the map does give Pennsylvania leaf-peepers a pretty good shot at seeing autumn leaves when they turn their most blazing reds, vibrant orange and sunny yellows.
Here are five Pennsylvania fall leaf-peeping road trips:
1. Pennsylvania Route 30
Southern Pennsylvania has its own long-distance east-west drive on Route 30, complete with plenty of attractions to visit along the way, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. You’ll start in Philadelphia near the Philadelphia Zoo, then follow the route west where you’ll come across scenic farmland, numerous downtown galleries and an outlet mall.
2. Route 32 in Bucks County
Route 32 winds along the Delaware River along the eastern border of Bucks County, offering tons of chances to check out antique shops, art galleries, major historic sites and upscale restaurants, according to VisitPhilly.com. On your way, check out the Washington Crossing Historic Park. There, you’ll find the perfect spot to admire the foliage on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river.
3. Pennsylvania Route 6
Route 6 is ranked among the “Top Scenic Routes in America” by Car and Driver Magazine and “one of America’s most scenic drives” by National Geographic, according to the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. Along the 400-mile route, you’ll experience history and heritage, small towns, 19 state parks, and a half-dozen state forests. Hurry though — in that part of the state, leaves will peak around Oct. 16.
4. Berks County Covered Bridge Tour
Take a ride on roads less traveled by driving through four of Berks County’s five covered bridges, all built in the 1800s, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. Then, take a walk or bike through the 218-foot-long Wertz’s Covered Bridge, the longest single-span covered bridge in Pennsylvania.
5. Washington’s Trail 1753
Washington’s Trail 1753, a driving route through western Pennsylvania, commemorates young George Washington’s first military and diplomatic venture, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. The route, which starts about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, takes you to several destinations, including Fort Necessity National Battlefield.
What’s your favorite road trip for fall leaf-peeping in Pennsylvania? Share it in the comments.