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Best Places to see Fall Foliage Near Philly

A tree reflects in a pond covered with fallen leaves at Awbury Arboretum
A tree reflects in a pond covered with fallen leaves at Awbury Arboretum

The Hall & Oates song Fall in Philadelphia has always made me feel nostalgic about my fair city in the autumnal months, despite the lyrics describing Philly as a less desirable place. But Fall in Philadelphia is always gorgeous, and there are so many places to see fall foliage near Philly. It's the time when the humidity goes away and you need a cozy sweater or fleece outside. Maybe you'll sip some apple cider next to a campfire or pickup a pumpkin spice latte at your favorite coffee shop.

If you, too, are in love with Fall in Philadelphia, there are so many places within the city limits and outside the city to spend some time enjoying the changing of the seasons as the leaves put on their glorious color show. This recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer agrees with many of my suggestions, but you can see that many of their recommendations for leaf peeping are featured in 60 Hikes Philadelphia. 

Predicting when the leaves will change is always tricky, because it's based on climate conditions, which have also been tricky to predict lately. The leaves usually start to turn in mid-October in our area, but everything has seemed ahead of schedule this year, since last year's mild winter. So, who knows? The state publishes a leaf report each week that can help you gauge when you can see the color show begin. Click here to check it out.

Here are some of my recommendations for the best places to see fall foliage near Philly.

In Philadelphia, anywhere in Wissahickon Valley Park is great to take in the fall splendor. I particularly like the area near the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge in the fall. I absolutely love Awbury Arboretum in the fall, due to the diversity in trees. The Manayunk Bridge Trail will give you a bird's-eye view overlooking the Schuylkill River and Expressway. Pennypack Park in the Northeast never disappoints any time of year and fall brings changing leaves and mushroom hunters. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge near the airport is also a treat any time of year, but I love fall there because they have this amazing stand of sweet gum trees that turn dazzling shades of red and purple. And, the Schuylkill Center in Roxborough has so many showy sassafras trees that drop their different shaped leaves.

Outside the city the opportunities for leaf peeping are endless, but I have a few favorite spots. Crum Woods which is in Delaware County and part of the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College are amazing. What makes this spot extra special is the abundance of witch hazel trees along the trail that bloom in the fall. Sourland Mountain in New Jersey is another fall favorite of mine. And, if you are looking to head south, the White Clay Creek State Park will not disappoint.

All of the places that I mention above are all featured in 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Philadelphia. The 3rd edition has some great updated fall foliage photos, too, so if you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can purchase wherever books are sold.

And, now that the humidity has finally broken and (hopefully!) the heat of summer is behind us, it's time to get back out on the trail!


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