By: Emily Whalen
The crisp autumn air and fall season are upon us! Mother Nature puts on a stunning show in the Poconos, and the fall colors cloaking our hills are the perfect backdrop for a wide variety of different outdoor adventures and fall happenings.
Take time to make memories and soak in the season this year! Admire the brilliant foliage on foot, on wheels or even up in the air. Gather your friends or bring the whole family along for fall festivals and harvest fun. Keep reading to discover 14 autumn experiences to catch in the Pocono Mountains before the leaves fall.
Reconnect with nature and breath in the fresh mountain air on a fall hike. Over 260 miles of Pocono trails feature spectacular views and incredible seasonal colors. Crunch through the leaves, discover a beautiful waterfall framed by flaming foliage or get a glimpse of local wildlife preparing for winter.
Lacawac Sanctuary is a peaceful, 550-acre nature preserve offering nine trails to wander, from easy to difficult. Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) features six trails open year-round from dawn until dusk as well as public programs and weekend workshops allowing visitors to learn more about the great outdoors. Not far from PEEC is famed Bushkill Falls, open through October/November, featuring eight waterfalls along four hiking trails varying in length and difficulty.
Roll beneath branches loaded with vibrant leaves: autumn is an ideal time for biking in the Poconos! Two national and nine state parks, totaling over 100,000 acres, offer trails for every skill level.
Rent a bike or bring yours and pedal through beautiful Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the McDade Recreational Trail. Stay on the mostly flat part of the trail from Hialeah to Owens trailheads, or take the switchbacks up the ridge north from Owens Trailhead and continue past the park’s headquarters through rolling hills.
Another amazing spot for a fall cycle is Lehigh Gorge State Park. Spend a day exploring the 24 scenic and historic miles of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor running through the Gorge alongside the Lehigh River. For those up for a challenge, head to the nearby Switchback Railroad Trail. Start in Summit Hill and cycle downhill towards Jim Thorpe to let gravity do some of the work for you.
A scenic train ride through our region’s eclectic small towns is the perfect opportunity to view the reds, oranges and golds covering the hillsides. Take to the tracks in an old-fashioned rail car and learn about the history of the Poconos Mountains. From couples to families, everyone will love an autumn ride on the train!
Hop aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for a 70-minute round trip excursion winding north along the river from Jim Thorpe through Lehigh Gorge State Park. The Stourbridge Line chugs along 25 miles through the Poconos, passing incredible views of the region’s fall finery in picturesque towns like Hawley and Honesdale, the birthplace of the American railroad.
Giddy up! Hit the trails and discover the fiery hues while horseback riding. Mount a friendly horse from local stables and canter through forests, over streams and across fields! Wherever you venture, beautiful scenery awaits.
Never ridden a horse? No problem! This is the perfect opportunity to try riding for the first time. At local stables like Bushkill Riding Stables, Happy Trails Stables and Mountain Creek Stable , no experience is required, and beginners are welcome. If you’d rather let someone else take the reins, Daisy Field Farm offers carriage, hay wagon and pony rides. Be sure to call ahead to make your riding appointment in advance.
Can’t get enough of the trees? See how the foliage looks to the squirrels and play up amongst the branches! Balance on a tight rope stretched over the forest floor, cross a swinging log bridge suspended up in the air, or glide down the mountainside with foliage on every side at a local adventure park. Take on a treetop ropes course, rock climbing, zip lining and more!
Blue Mountain Resort – Summit Aerial Park offers five levels of difficulty with a new course perfect for young children and first-time treetop adventurers. Challenge family and friends to the 87 elements at Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures or enjoy 3,000 feet of in-air obstacles at Adventure Center at Skytop Lodge.
From the red maple to the golden hickory, over 120 varieties of plants, trees and shrubs put on their fall foliage finery throughout our region’s four counties. The Pocono Mountains has ranked in USA Today’s Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations for the past three years running. You’ll want to see this bright palette of seasonal shades for yourself!
Pull up a playlist of relaxing road trip music and roll along beneath the autumn branches. Car and Driver Magazine ranked PA Route 6, which runs through the charming towns of Honesdale, Hawley and Milford, as one of the “Top Scenic Routes in America.” Follow the shores of Lake Wallenpaupack along Route 507, hailed by the Travel Channel as one of the “Best Fall Foliage Road Trips.”
CNN named beautiful Delaware Water Gap one of the best places to view fall foliage, and Route 209 is a great byway to take through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Stop in Stroudsburg for lunch, continue west on 209 past Beltzville State Park and wind up the day in historic Jim Thorpe. One of the best things about a scenic drive in the Poconos is that whenever you’re feeling like a snack or a stretch of the legs, there are lots of small towns in the area to explore.
Fly through the foliage. Ride solo or race a friend on a mountain zip line! See the leaves while zooming down from more than eight stories high on the 900-foot zip line at Whitewater Rafting Adventures, or feel your adrenaline pumping as you zip past the trees on North America’s longest twin zip-flyers at Camelback Mountain Adventures.
Battle it out in a paintball game beneath the trees for bragging rights. Play a round at Skirmish Paintball , a 700-acre facility in Albrightsville, PA with over 50 playing fields. Kittatinny Canoes – Paintball in Milford has wooded battlefields providing natural cover and extra color.
There’s nothing like seeing the fall colors reflected in the serene surface of a peaceful lake. Plan a day of boating and float over Poconos waters to enjoy breathtaking views. Bring your own boat to parks like Mauch Chunk Lake Park and Tobyhanna State Park or rent one from local outfitters. Rubber Duckie Boat Rentals offer boat rentals on Lake Wallenpaupack until late October.
Canoe or kayak down the Delaware River for unmatched views of the autumn leaves. Take a trip with one of our many outfitters like Edge of the Woods Outfitters, Shawnee River Trips , Chamberlain Canoes or Lander’s River Trips .
Looking to kick things up a notch? Sign up for a Big Day Out with Pocono Whitewater Adventures to pack three big adventures into one epic outing. Raft, bike and hike your way through bright fall foliage on the Lehigh River. Equipment and meals are provided. This is one fall day you won’t forget. Try it September 6 or 25, 2021 or October 2 or 16, 2021.
When it’s time to rest, pitch a tent beneath the beautiful leaves at a campground. Don Laine Campground and Jim Thorpe Camping Resort are open through mid-October and offer on-site activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer RV, tent or cottage sites, Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA and Otter Lake Camp Resort have year-round camping options. Spend a night under the stars and around the fire while camping at Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort. You’ll enjoy stunning fall scenery and amenities like the 90-acre lake, camp store, game room and movie lounge.
Wake up early to watch an autumn sunrise and get an early start at area golf courses. Hitting the links is a great way to enjoy the cooler temperatures surrounded by beautiful fall colors. Hideaway Hills Golf Club and Jack Frost National are both surrounded by tall trees—ideal for an autumn outing.
Play a round on a pristine local golf course, or buy our Golf-A-Round Card and play more than one! There are eight participating Pocono Mountains courses, including historic properties the greats have played like Pocono Manor Golf Course and Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.
See if you can catch the big one this fall. Head out on Lake Wallenpaupack for a guided fishing trip with Ray’s Charter Guide Service. Call ahead for fall hours of operation to schedule your outing.
Visit Big Brown Fish & Pay Lakes to fish two stocked ponds through the end of October, no fishing license required. If you have your own equipment and are out fishing public Pocono waterways, you’ll want to make sure you have purchased a state license.
What better way to marvel at the fall foliage than from a bird’s-eye view? Take in the beauty of fall in the Pocono Mountains with an air tour! Soar over waterways and mountains bursting with brilliant colors.
Moyer Aviation offers air tours year-round! Catch aerial views of popular beauty spots like the Delaware Water Gap and Lake Wallenpaupack, or choose your own customized sightseeing excursion. Buckle up for a private tour, and see the sights of the region like never before!
The Pocono Mountains covers 2,400 square miles, roughly the size of Delaware, and wonderful properties and attractions are spread across the region. Looking for the latest on the season? Visit our fall foliage forecast for weekly updates about each of the three zones’ peak colors! Check out our leaf peeping FAQs and more adventures to experience fall fun, plus ideas for fall day trips. Don’t forget to browse special offers to find beautiful places to stay during your fall getaway.