5 Best Areas to Catch Fall Foliage in the Poconos

by Emily Whalen, PMVB

The leaves are calling: it’s time to start planning that autumn trip to take in the splendor of the fall foliage! Take in the season from beside a sprawling lake, hike to the heights for a panoramic view of the reds, oranges and yellows, or hop in the car to wind along scenic drives that take you to local small towns where fall fun abounds. We’ve broken down five fantastic areas to visit in the Poconos this autumn to see the changing colors.

1. Camelback Mountain

Visitors can look out over spectacular fall foliage across three different states from the summit of Camelback Mountain in Big Pocono State Park. Let the car do the uphill work, and park near a picnic area with a panoramic view along Rim Road. Rather work up your appetite first? Big Pocono has 8.5 miles of challenging hiking trails to explore. Get a treetop view of the autumn leaves from the aerial obstacle courses and zip lines at Camelback Mountain Adventures, or stay overnight at Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark to experience even more seasonal fun including UTV fall foliage tours, fall tubing and cozy campfires complete with s’mores.

2. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Running through the heart of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Delaware River winds between mountains blazing with russet and golden hues at this time of year, offering incredible foliage vistas from the water, from hiking trails high on the cliffs above, or deep in the forests, framing mighty waterfalls. Discover the two tallest cascades in Pennsylvania, Raymondskill Falls and Dingmans Falls, on the northern end of the Recreation Area. The Cliff Trail not far from Milford offers a breathtaking overlook of the landscape, or hikers can ravel south to the historic borough of Delaware Water Gap to view the season’s finery from Mount Minsi along the famed Appalachian Trail.

3. Lake Wallenpaupack

There’s magic to be found on the shores of Lake Wallenpaupack in all four seasons, but the flaming colors reflected in the water every autumn are something no lake lover should miss. With 52 miles of shoreline and a surface stretching 5,700 shimmering acres, there are plenty of different viewpoints to discover. Get out on the water with a rental from local outfitters like Rubber Duckie Boat Rentals, or book a September or October day of fishing with Troll On Guide Service. See the sunset from the Wallenpaupack Lake Trail, or tee off with views of the lake in the distance at Paupack Hills Golf Course.

4. Lehigh Gorge and Jim Thorpe

Fall is all about the foliage in Carbon County, where the mountains and rocky outcroppings rising above the Lehigh River in Lehigh Gorge State Park harbor plenty of autumn outdoor adventures. Try hiking or biking along the D&L Trail or even go for a whitewater rafting trip with local guides like Jim Thorpe River Adventures before the weather turns. The Victorian splendor of Jim Thorpe is set off perfectly by the seasonal colors and drifting leaves, and the Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival brings live music, kid-friendly activities, vendors and seasonal specialities to town select weekends throughout October.

5. Scenic Route 6 through the Northern Poconos

On the northern end of the Poconos region in Wayne and Pike counties, scenic Route 6 has been called one of the top fall drives in the country. Starting from the Delaware River, the road winds west past Shohola Marsh Reservoir before turning north at Lake Wallenpaupack and following the Lackawaxen River. If your ideal way to view the fall foliage is from a sidewalk cafe with a freshly-brewed coffee, you’ll want to make sure you plan a few pit stops! Route 6 connects the charming small towns of Milford, Hawley and Honesdale, and all three communities boast picturesque and historic downtown districts lined with colorful trees plus fun harvest celebrations.

Make sure you consult the fall foliage forecast on PoconoMountains.com, updated every Thursday through the end of October, to plan your getaway for when the trees will be at their peak in the three distinct color zones across the region!