This Scenic Drive Offers Some of Northeast PA’s Best Leaf Peeping

 

A motorboat at Lake Jean with red fall foliage in the background
Lake Jean at Ricketts Glen State Park. Photo by Dennis J. Kowalewski.

 

As the air grows cool and crisp, the rural Endless Mountains become blanketed in red, orange, and gold. In late September, the leaves start to show the first hint of color. By mid-October, they normally reach their peak, when the trees are blazing in their full glory.

Located just northwest of Scranton and only two to three hours from Philadelphia and New York, the Endless Mountains make the perfect leaf peeping day trip. For some of the best views, hit the road on the Endless Mountains Fall Foliage Loop. This 126-mile route features sweeping vistas, gorgeous parks, and adorable small towns. Check out our interactive map for directions and points of interest along the way.

 

Helpful Tips

  • The estimated total drive time is three hours, but plan on spending a full day to explore all the stops.
  • For the latest conditions, check out the weekly fall foliage report by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
  • Some areas on the route are very remote and do not have cell service or Wi-Fi. Make sure to print out directions or download an offline map before you leave home.
  • Bring sturdy shoes if you plan on hiking. Some trails, particularly at Ricketts Glen and Worlds End, are rough, rocky, and challenging.
  • Hours may vary at local businesses. Call to confirm.

 

Start in Historic Tunkhannock

Historic barn at Vosburg Neck State Park
Historic barn at Vosburg Neck State Park in Tunkhannock, PA.

Tunkhannock is a bustling small town along the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania’s 2023 River of the Year. Victorian homes and 1800s storefronts line the downtown streets. With easy access on Route 6, it makes a great starting point for your day.

Once you grab breakfast and a coffee in town, it’s time for your adventure! Head west on Route 6. Just before the turnoff onto Route 87, you can make a side trip to Vosburg Neck State Park, one of Pennsylvania’s newest state parks. With river access and eight miles of hiking trails, this park will boast beautiful views of the foliage.

 

Stop 1: Dushore

A barn, mountains, and fall foliage along Route 87 near Dushore
Fall foliage outside of Dushore, PA.

Route 87 meanders through the quiet countryside, passing bucolic farms and rustic valleys. Eventually, you’ll reach downtown Dushore, home of Sullivan County’s only stoplight. That’s just life in the country!

Right by the stoplight, you’ll find Jolly Trolley, an old-fashioned variety store and soda fountain. Visitors of all ages love this nostalgic local landmark. Pick up some snacks and Sullivan County souvenirs before you hit the road.

 

Stop 2: Forksville

Forksville Covered Bridge with fall foliage
Forksville Covered Bridge. Photo by Steve Harrington.

Continuing on Route 87, you’ll start to enter the real wilderness where the mountains grow taller, the creeks run wild, and the forests seem endless. At the junction of Route 154, make a left into Forksville, a tiny town known for its big views. Don’t miss the chance to drive over the historic Forksville Covered Bridge. Forksville’s Big Mike’s Steaks & Hoagies waits just over the bridge. Taste for yourself why USA Today 10 Best named them “Best Cheesesteak in Pennsylvania.”

 

Stop 3: Worlds End State Park

An overlook of fall foliage at Worlds End State Park
High Rock Vista at World’s End State Park, Forksville, PA. Photo by Jeff Mitchell.

Just up the road, you’ll reach Worlds End State Park, where the Loyalsock Creek carved a plunging valley through the mountains. It boasts several scenic overlooks and part of the famous Loyalsock Trail.

Stop at the day use area, which provides plenty of picnic spots along the water. For a short, family-friendly hike, try the Double Run Nature Trail, which travels 1.2 miles through the forest. High Rock Trail is another short hike, but don’t let the mileage fool you—this one-mile trail is steep and strenuous, but with rewarding views.

The most iconic view is the Loyalsock Canyon Vista, which overlooks the park and the vast Loyalsock State Forest beyond. You can reach the vista by hiking the four-mile-long Canyon Vista Trail or by driving up Mineral Spring and Cold Run roads.

 

Stop 4: High Knob Overlook

A vista overlooking fall foliage in Loyalsock State Forest
High Knob Overlook near Hillsgrove, PA. Photo by James Peace.

As you leave the park, take Worlds End Road toward Eagles Mere and follow the signs for High Knob Overlook. A paved access road will lead you to one of Sullivan County’s biggest views. You’ll spot the tiny town of Hillsgrove below, along with 90,000 acres of state forest decked out in fall colors. On a clear day, the view stretches 20 miles into the distance.

 

Stop 5: Eagles Mere

A bench beside the Outlet Pond in Eagles Mere
Outlet Pond at Eagles Mere Conservancy.

Return the way you came, continuing south on Worlds End Road. You’ll soon meet Route 42 and the charming town of Eagles Mere. Known as “the town that time forgot,” it was once a popular summer resort with direct trains from the major cities. The days of grand old hotels are long gone, but the town is still a beloved destination with many historic cottages and vacation rentals. Stop by the shops at the Eagles Mere Historic Village or take a walk on the peaceful paths and trails at the Eagles Mere Conservancy.

 

Stop 6: Ricketts Glen State Park

A waterfall surrounded by rocks and yellow fall foliage
Ricketts Glen State Park in Sullivan County, PA. Photo by Donald Biresch.

Continue on Route 42 toward Laporte, then hop on Route 220 North. Take a right onto Old Bernice Road toward Mildred. At Mildred, you’ll make a sharp right onto Route 487. This road features a unique mountaintop habitat and is typically the first place to change colors in the fall. The route will take you directly to the entrance of Ricketts Glen State Park.

It’s impossible to see all of Ricketts Glen in a day, but make sure to visit some of the highlights. Enjoy a picnic by Lake Jean or take a short walk on the trails. The 1.9-mile Laurel View Trail is an easier, family-friendly option that leads to the highest point in the park. During this time of year, the wild blueberry bushes turn a blazing red.

The challenging Falls Trail is a favorite, but you may not have time to squeeze it in if you arrive in the late afternoon. For waterfall views without the trek, continue down the mountain on Route 487, then bear left onto Route 118. Two parking areas are located directly off the road. Here, you can explore the bottom of the glen, including Adams Falls and the Evergreen Trail.

 

Stop 7: Noxen

Crates of pumpkins and a pavilion at Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch
Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch in Noxen, PA.

Start to make the return trip to Tunkhannock along Routes 118 and 29, which both offer beautiful countryside views. But before you finish the day, you have to enjoy some classic fall fun. On weekends leading up to Halloween, the Whistle Pig Pumpkin Patch is a great spot for families with hayrides, u-pick pumpkins, a corn maze, and more. Just up the road, Grassy Ridge Farms offers farm-fresh produce like squash, mums, apples, pumpkins, and more.

 

Return to Tunkhannock

Stay on Route 29 North to return to Tunkhannock, perhaps taking a detour to Creekside Gardens’ Pumpkin Walk on the way. You’ll be back in Tunkhannock for dinnertime, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and small shops to explore.

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