Top Scenic Outdoor Destinations in Pennsylvania
The Keystone State spans the Mid-Atlantic to Appalachian regions of the United States. Nestled between Lake Erie and the Appalachian Mountains, Pennsylvania has hundreds of beautifully breathtaking views. Our favorite outdoor destinations lean toward the natural world, although there are plenty of sparkling manmade views to be seen from the buildings of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
East to west, we gathered our list of the best outdoor destinations in the state. Whether you’re planning to camp in one of the state parks or passing by an overlook on a road trip, views can’t be missed.
Hawn’s Overlook at the Raystown Dam has a magnificent view of Raystown Lake. It’s located in the Alleghenies region and was featured on the cover of the 1996 Pennsylvania Visitors Guide! You can reach the overlook is a short hike from the nearby Ridenour Overlook. Hawn’s Overlook is best to visit at sunset. It faces west, providing a view of a beautiful, golden sun setting over the lake.
Image Courtesy of Interesting Pennsylvania
High Knob Overlook
The High Knob Overlook is easily the best view from one of Pennsylvania’s top outdoor destinations, Loyalsock State Forest. The overlook has a beautiful view of the state forest in northeastern Pennsylvania. You can get to High Knob Overlook by hiking the Loyalsock Trail, or drive up the road and park a few steps from the overlook. You can read about camping at Loyalsock State Forest in this PDF.
Big Mountain Overlook
One of the most expansive views, this outdoor destination lets you see hundreds of miles into the distance. This breathtaking mountain vista is located in the Buchanan State Forest. At the overlook, you can see the valley and surrounding mountain ranges of Franklin County. While there are tons of hiking trails in the Buchanan State Forest, you can also drive up to the overlook via Tower Road. There are plenty of camping opportunities in the Buchanan State Forest, read about camping opportunities and fill out an application on the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.
Boone Run Vista
In the Susquehannock State Forest, the Boone Run Vista has a beautiful, open view of the mountains. It overlooks Potter County in eastern Pennsylvania. Only a small sign and a simple wooden bench sits at this overlook, on the side of a narrow dirt road, but with a view this beautiful you don’t need much else. Boon Run Vista is only a few minutes from Cherry Springs State Park, which is known for stargazing opportunities.
Leonard Harrison State Park Overlook
Although the park is known for hiking, this overlook provides a great outdoor destination goal at the end of your hike. This vista is easily accessible for everyone, just a few steps behind the park’s main building. The overlook has a western view of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. There are even a few viewfinders at the outlook for those wanting a closer look!
If you want another view of the PA Grand Canyon, Lebo Vista is a great outdoor destination to visit. It’s easy to reach for everyone; it sits along a bend at the end of the drivable portion of Lebo Vista Road. It has scenic sights of Lycoming and Tioga Counties. If you look to the east, you can see Pine Creek and Cammal about 1,300 feet below!
The Susquehanna River in Lancaster County is a unique sight when looking from Chickies Rock. Just north of Columbia, this outcropping of quartzite rock sits about 100 feet above the water. It offers views of York County, Marietta and Lancaster County. Chickies Rock is also a bit of a historic sight. It once was home of several iron furnaces, rolling mills, a canal and an old trolley line. Remnants of these old structures can still be seen from the outlook.
Image Courtesy of Uncovering PA
We had to shoutout or hometown of Juniata County! Greenwood Access has a great view of the Juniata River, for which our county is named. This river is a tributary of the legendary Susquehanna River. This outdoor destination is located at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Greenwood Access near Thompsontown. Most Juniata River natives will tell you the best time to come is late spring through October, when the fall foliage is at its peak.
Appalachian Mountains to the Susquehanna River, these breathtaking scenic views are the best outdoor destinations in the state. These are just a few travel destinations in Pennsylvania. The state has hundreds more places to visit and campgrounds to stay at. Juniata Valley RV is here to help you get there.
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