The vibrant colors of fall foliage are beginning to appear in and around Philadelphia. Explore our favorite parks, walkways — including those on the University of Pennsylvania Campus, shown — trails and more all across the Philadelphia region. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)
Though lush greens may still dominate Mother Nature’s color palette in the Philadelphia area, the fiery colors of fall will soon wash over the landscape.
Across the region, the leaves have already begun to show signs of turning towards autumn’s colorful canvas of gorgeous yellows, oranges and reds.
But while stunning, fall is fleeting. Head out to make the most of the autumn colors while they are at their most brilliant.
Recent frost and cool nights combined with clear bright days mean beautiful fall foliage should peak between October 20 and 31, so plan accordingly.
Here are our top picks for spots to view the fall foliage in Philadelphia and the countryside regions, organized by county.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Even right in Center City, you can enjoy spectacular views of vibrant fall foliage. One best bets is the straight shot down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, whose trees form a canopy of red, orange and yellow over your head in the autumn months. It’s a great walk from the Philadelphia Museum of Art down to City Hall, with stops along the way at some of the city’s renowned museums.
Lined on either side by art institutions, the Parkway is a magical spot to stroll beneath colorful fall foliage. (Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia)
Franklin Square park in Old City is a great place to take in some fresh fall foliage. The 7.5-acre green is one of five original squares that William Penn laid out in his original plan of the city in 1682, and is generally abuzz with frolicking children and family-friendly activities.
Franklin Square, given its convenient location and gorgeous landscaping, is a fall foliage hidden gem right in Old City. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Wissahickon Valley Park in Fairmount Park
Not only does the Wissahickon — also know just as the “Wis” — have the only covered bridge in any major city, the picturesque river gorge offers incredible views of the skyline from certain vantage points while it surrounds you in the colors of the fall in its valleys. Head to Forbidden Drive’s, the gorgeous riverside trail available for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians, for an incredibly scenic walk in the park.
Forbidden Drive runs parallel to Wissahickon Creek, through the heart of Fairmount Park, and got its name when it closed to cars in the 1920s. (Photo courtesy Mt. Airy USA)
Many more places for prime views of fall foliage, below.
What better place can we suggest than one that specializes in trees and horticulture? The Morris Arboretum takes you up into the trees on its unique winding walkways that are cool for the kids and adults, too. Plus, this fall is full of family-friendly festivals and activities.
Morris Arboretum is a stunning Chestnut Hill horticultural destination any time of year, but particularly in the fall. (Photo by Paul Meyer for Morris Arboretum)
Schuylkill River Trail
Stay close to downtown but still get a breath of fresh air taking in fall colors and famous sights of Philadelphia — the Schuylkill River and its brand-new boardwalk, the lighted bridges, the skyline and more.
The Schuylkill River Trail is a 26.5-mile, multi-use path from Philadelphia to Phoenixville, and a fantastic destination for a brisk fall walk or bike ride. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
University of Pennsylvania Campus
The University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia is framed and subdivided by canopies of trees, manicured lawns and well-maintained fields. In particular, Locust Walk, the main thoroughfare across the campus, is gorgeous in the fall. The stately architecture throughout the property only adds to the visual display.
In University City, take a walk among the co-eds of the University of Pennsylvania on Locust Walk for excellent urban foliage viewing. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)[/caption}
Mill Creek Road-Old Gulph Road in Ardmore
This tree-lined road off of Montgomery Avenue is full of creeks, forest, mansions, gentle bending curves and not much else. It is the perfect route for a sunny day fall foliage ride outside the city.
Pastorious Park, Chestnut Hill
Pastorious Park offers 16 acres of thriving forestland, adorable garden spaces and sparkling ponds that reflect the luscious burnt oranges and reds.
St. Joseph’s University
St. Joe’s in northwest Philadelphia is scenic, with lush old-growth trees bordering the walkways and plenty of shaded lawns perfect for hanging out with a picnic.
Balloon Rides in Bucks County
If you’re looking for a different perspective on the greens, reds and oranges of fall, perhaps a hot air balloon ride is what you’re looking for. The U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team out of Holicong in Bucks County offers hot air balloon rides that depart each morning and afternoon from The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. As if the view wasn’t enough, a champagne and hors d’oeuvres celebration concludes each flight.
Take to the air for a bird’s-eye view of beautiful Bucks County in the fall. (Photo courtesy Bucks County)
The drive along Route 32 from Washington Crossing to New Hope is an excellent day trip that takes you to Bowman’s Hill Tower, from the top of which you get a magnificent vista of stunning fall foliage in every direction. Don't miss the gazebo nestled among the tall trees of Penn's Woods arboretum and remember the moonlit walk, which is open to kids as well as adults.
Just outside of charming New Hope, travel up to Bowman’s Hill Tower to take in the beautiful sweeping vistas. (Photo courtesy Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve)
Delaware Canal State Park
Featuring 11 river islands and tons of river shoreline hiking surrounded by forest, the Delaware Canal State Park is fall foliage mecca. Stop by New Hope and take a boat ride down river on the Isabelle Justice if hiking and cycling aren’t quite your style.
Revel in brilliant fall colors while strolling the historic tow path at Delaware Canal State Park that runs from Easton to Bristol. (Photo courtesy Visit Bucks County)
Tohickon Valley Park
Meaning “Deer Bone Creek” in Lenape, Tohickon Creek in Tohickon Valley Park is one of the cleanest in the state and is great for fishing and rafting. Enjoy fall foliage on the water or on land. Also be sure to check out High Rock where 200 feet of shale rise above the creek to offer a gorgeous scenic lookout — great for rock climbers, too.
The covered bridges of Bucks County, like this one in Tohickon Valley Park, add considerable charm to an already scenic destination. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)
Tyler State Park
Why not rent a canoe and experience fall out on the water? You can do that and more at Tyler State Park, located off the Newtown Bypass. Or go for a stroll and find the old covered bridge — just follow the signs along the path.
Peace Valley Park
If the name isn’t already a dead giveaway, at Peace Valley Park you truly will find peace in the valley — fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking and all the best outdoor activities to take on while enjoying the colors of fall.
Drive along Route 32
Passing through Washington Crossing State Park, Yadley and New Hope while running adjacent to the Delaware River, Route 32 is a gorgeous road for fall foliage viewing.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
The historic site where George Washington crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey on Christmas night in 1776, Washington Crossing is filled with history, but also prime for outdoor sight seeing.
Foliage is the specialty at Tyler Arboretum. Featuring 20 miles of carefully constructed and nicely maintained trails, this is a full-on fall sanctuary.
The trails of Tyler Arboretum connect with those of Ridley Creek State Park, making for a two-for-one forest adventure. (Photo courtesy Tyler Arboretum)
Ridley Creek State Park
The creek is stocked for trout fishing and the trails are perfect for fall foraging at Ridley Creek State Park. Waterfalls, epic views and vibrant fall colors anyone?
Brandywine River Museum of Art
Not only is the Brandwine River Museum of Art an art institution you must see, but the wildflower gardens that surround the building are as well. They’re designed to highlight the best of fall foliage and teeming with the vibrantly-colored Tupelo trees, stunning sunflowers and so many more.
The artwork of the Wyeth family is on display inside the Brandywine River Museum of Art, but venture outside to see the countryside that inspired Andrew Wyeth to paint his signature landscapes. (Photo courtesy Brandywine River Museum of Art)
Located in the absolutely adorable Peddler’s Village, Chaddsford Winery is a great place to get some foliage action while tasting the harvest.
Everyone’s favorite local botanical garden, Longwood Gardens features more than 1,000 acres of gardens and a four-acre conservatory, making it the ideal setting to simply take in the foliage. Check for special events and exhibits like the Ikebana and Bonsai show, November 3-4.
Stroll along the many paths at Longwood Gardens in Chester County through acres of exquisitely maintained grounds featuring 11,000 different types of plants and trees for one great fall foliage outing. (Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens)
Marsh Creek State Park
Enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, fall foliage and killer sunsets on the scenic Marsh Creek Lake.
The 535-acre Marsh Creek Lake is a popular destination for boaters, but the surrounding land is full of fantastic trails perfect for a fall excursion. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Hibernia County Park
Take in the sights of the Brandywine Creek, Chambers Lake, the Hibernia Mansion, scenic overlooks and more at Hibernia County Park. Make a fall foliage weekend out of it and reserve a spot at the campground.
French Creek State Park
Hopewell Lake at French Creek State Park is famous for fall scenery, but the 40 miles of trails make it the perfect fall getaway for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
More than a mile of paved walkways run through the woods of this majestic botanical garden, making it the perfect fall foliage spot for all ages. For those looking to get a little more exercise, Jenkins Arboretum also offers free self-guided tours with maps throughout the property and the nearby conservation woodlands.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
You can’t say that you’ve experienced historic Philadelphia until you visit Valley Forge National Park. The location of the winter encampment of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War remains preserved for historic tours but, with its miles and miles of rolling hills and meadows strewn with forest land, it also serves as a great location for fall foliage.
Once the site of General George Washington’s Revolutionary Army headquarters, Valley Forge National Historic Park is now a destination for leisurely pursuits like hiking, biking and sightseeing. (Photo courtesy Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau
John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove
Check out the Montgomery County museum or simply take a stroll in the sanctuary grounds at the John James Audubon Center. The five miles of trails run throughout the grove where a staggering 175 species of birds and over 400 species of plants have been identified.
Mill Grove, the home to American naturalist John James Audubon, is a haven for wildlife with 175 acres of woods and quiet trails. (Photo courtesy John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove)
Evansburg State Park
Take your pick of meadows, forests, farmland or fields for your fall foliage adventure at Evansburg State Park. Heads up to golf enthusiasts: check out the 18-hole Skippack Golf Club located within the park.