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The Best Places to Enjoy Fall Foliage in Erie County

Friday Sep 15th, 2023

Fall in Erie is a magical time filled with crisp air, pumpkin patches, fall events, and spectacular colors. The Erie region is one of the best places in Pennsylvania to experience fall’s beauty up close, especially when reflected in the waters of Lake Erie. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, Pennsylvania will be at its peak from October 5 to October 21, however, watching the month-long transformation from verdant green to vibrant reds, oranges, and golds can be just as fascinating.  

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Presque Isle State Park

Perhaps the best place for the most stunning fall foliage in Erie County is Presque Isle State Park.  For fantastic views, walk or drive among the 13 miles of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants flanked by Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie.  The sequence of warm sunny days and chilly nights provides the perfect scenario for the leaves to shine in a brilliant display of fall colors. The best places for memorable photo opportunities are at the Presque Isle Lighthouse, Perry Monument, “The Feather” bird observatory platform (pictured), and everywhere in between.

Asbury Woods

The winding trails and towering trees that call Asbury Woods home set the scene for a perfect fall foliage adventure.  Some of the most beautifully colored trees on Asbury Woods’ 200-acre property can be found just inside the main entrance in front of the Andrew J. Conner Nature Center. The oaks, maples, beech, and tulip trees are bursting with color and are ready to be part of your fall photo collection. The wooden boardwalk trail, Walnut Creek, and Brown’s Farm also serve as excellent photo backdrops. 

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Erie Cemetary Fall Leaves and Path by Curtis Waidley WEB Crop

Erie Cemetery

One of the city’s oldest burial grounds, dating back to its opening in 1851, stands out as the most scenic cemetery in the region. Erie Cemetery is situated on 75 acres in the heart of the city at 21st and Chestnut Streets and features a diverse collection of tree species, many of which are deciduous. That means that in the fall, these trees undergo a beautiful transformation as their leaves change color before falling to the ground. Different types of trees exhibit different colors, creating a stunning tapestry of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. With its hills and meandering pathways, there are many vantage points for admiring the changing foliage. Photo by Curtis Waidley.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail

Driving through Lake Erie Wine Country along Route 5 in Erie County, also known as the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, will fill your senses with spectacular vistas and the tantalizing aromas of ripening grapes on the vine. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 518-mile National Scenic Byway stretching from the Ohio/Pennsylvania border through Erie County to Sackets Harbor, NY along the Lake Erie coastline. Numerous stops along this scenic route are perfect for picture taking, from sprawling acres of vineyards to commercial and estate wineries including Johnson Estate Winery and Yori Wine Cellars.   

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Frontier Park 4 from LEAF

Frontier Park/LEAF

Wander among the hundreds of deciduous trees, shrubs, and flowers found at the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park to see a striking showcase of fall colors.  Frontier Park is a viable and sustainable green space located in the heart of Erie featuring more than 1,000 trees. Winding your way through the park’s elaborate labyrinth, strolling streamside along Cascade Creek, or sharing a walk with your four-legged friend on the multi-purpose pathway are great ways to immerse yourself in the season.      

Wintergreen Gorge

Delight the senses with the crunch of leaves underfoot, the babbling sounds of Four Mile Creek, the smell of fresh forest soil, and the breathtaking views along the six-mile expanse of Wintergreen Gorge in Harborcreek, PA.  Wintergreen Gorge is part of the Greater Erie Regional Trail Network, a system of more than 15 trail venues across Erie County. The gorge was carved from shale and sandstone by the creek and is a partially mature forest featuring large quantities of its namesake American Wintergreen plants with bright red berries.  Grab the best fall foliage shots from atop the gorge’s overlook or its tranquil waterfall.

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Harrington Covered Bridge

Historic PA Route 6

Amidst an amazing sea of color winds historic Pennsylvania Route 6, the perfect route for a fall foliage road trip through southern Erie County. Erie County’s portion, Route 6N, leads visitors through the charming towns of Edinboro and Corry as well as Albion, PA where covered bridge enthusiasts will find the picturesque Harrington Covered Bridge. This well-maintained, still functional bridge was originally built in 1870 and rebuilt in 1962.  Following Route 6 from one side of Pennsylvania to the other is a leaf peeper’s dream, traveling through endless forests of ever-changing leaves, friendly small towns, overlooks, shops, restaurants, and parks.

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