Are you looking for the best spots for fall foliage in Southwestern PA? What a beautiful area of our country that we live in, Southwest Pennsylvania! If you enjoy seeing all four Seasons, you are living in the right place. Fall is especially beautiful in the tri-state area. We are fortunate to have so many parks, trails, lakes, and rivers that lend themselves to amazing photo opportunities as well as hiking, fishing, and biking. If you are new to the burgh area, you are in luck we have some tips for you. If you were born and raised here, you may have forgotten about some of our hidden gems. Here is a refresher.
Whether you are looking for that perfect spot to have some Fall Family Portraits created or looking for some weekend fun to blow off steam. Here are a few areas that my family has enjoyed recently in the tri-state area.
Cass Railroad, Cass WV
Cass Railroad, Cass WV. https://wvstateparks.com/park/cass-scenic-railroad-state-park/ Go back in time to a simpler life. See how the small hill side town carved out it’s place in history. Take the half day or full day trip up the mountain with a steam locomotive. The views are amazing. I love hearing how things ran and the stories of the workers and how they lived. Call ahead for reservations. Especially this time of year.
Bruceton Mills WV
Coopers Rock, Bruceton Mills WV. https://wvstateparks.com/park/coopers-rock-state-forest/ Some of the most iconic views of the mountains of West Virginia. Lots of amazing rocks to climb and explore. There are many walking and biking trails in the area. We found using the AllTrails app most helpful. You just put in the location you want to explore and it will give you a list of trails, level of difficulty and other tips. These two locations are out of state but doable as a day or weekend trip! Another West Virginia mention is Oglebay Park. There is more than just the zoo! We took a friend in August and did the paddle boats. FYI, don’t let your kids steer the boat!! The water coming out of the fountain is COLD!!
Some places a little closer to home are Peter’s Lake Park in McMurray, Mingo Park Finleyville, South Park, Raccoon state park, Hookstown, Wingfield pines, Pittsburgh, Boyce/Mayview in USC, Sewickley park, Moraine State Park.
Peter’s Lake Park is a quiet little lake just minutes from Route 19. There is a nice path that circles the lake. It offers kayaking and fishing as well. My daughter loves kayaking here because it is smaller, no motorboats, and quiet. I love to watch to see if we can spot any water turtles. So far we have not. But lots of ducks and geese. We even saw ducklings earlier this Summer.
Moraine State Park if a lot bigger! We visited this past summer and also did some kayaking. I LOVED all of the water lilies. There are picnic areas, swimming in a designated area and fishing. Check out the Alltrails app to find the hiking trails.
A colleague of mine just recommended Sewickley borough park and sent a few snapshots. Tree covered trails and open fields. I may just have to check this one out in person!
2020-2021 have certainly been years for the history books. More and more families are looking for outdoor activities to blow off steam, spend some energy and just get out of the house!! Pittsburgh has so much to offer and then some. Our suburbs are filled with parks, trails, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and more. So whether you are looking for an afternoon activity or a full weekend of events, the above-mentioned locations are just a fraction of what this area can offer.
Just in case you are looking to take some snapshots of the kids, here are a few tips:
- Eliminate background distractions.
- Don't be afraid to get up close.
- Put their back to the sun to help with squinting.
- Keep clothing simple, no busy patterns.
- Not all photos have to be cheesy smiles looking at the camera. Capture the moment.
Want to know when fall colors will be at their peak in Peters Township, Canonsburg, Washington? Check out this fall foliage prediction map from SmokyMountains.com. Simply move the slider at the bottom of the map to get an idea when leaves will be at peak colors in Washington PA and across the United States. No map like this can be 100 percent accurate, of course, but it can give you a good idea of when fall colors will peak.
Ready to go find some beautiful fall leaves in Washington PA? GO!
Thank you to Shari Brownlee of Studio M Photographic for putting together this list and for the amazing pictures!