Fall Foliage Tours on Two Wheels
Kaitie Burger Fall 2020
When the fall months roll around, Pennsylvania’s outdoor scenery takes center stage. Washed in bright hues of red, orange, and yellow, the Keystone State’s fall foliage is among the best in the country. Perhaps one of the best ways to take in the season’s best? By taking a motorcycle tour across the state. These scenic routes promise views of autumnal colors and provide you with looks at historic bridges, stunning architecture, national scenic byways, and more.
Explore the “Somerset Scenic Six” in the Laurel Highlands, located on the southwestern side of the state. Each of these routes provides a two-hour riding excursion through some of Somerset County’s most impressive locations. Take a single day to explore one or two rides, or consider making it a multi-day trip complete with a stay at one of the region’s impressive resorts. Seven Springs or Nemacolin Woodlands Resort are both absolute stunners during the fall months.
Of the six highlighted routes, be sure to check out the Ohiopyle Loop, which takes you on tour in and around the 19,000-acre state park, including glimpses of the Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River. To extend your ride, consider a detour to a nearby Frank Lloyd Wright building, including the famed Fallingwater.
Additional routes in the Somerset Scenic Six include the Coal Heritage Loop, Pike and Ridge Loop, Mount Davis Loop, Mason Dixon Loop, and Flight 93 Loop. The latter incorporates a stop at the Flight 93 Memorial, including the newly opened Tower of Voices, in honor of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
As you make your way east across Pennsylvania, a stop in York County is a must for any motorcycle fan. This area is known for being home to many favorite snack makers and factory tours and is also home to Harley-Davidson. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s York Vehicle Operations Plant™ is one of only two manufacturing facilities in the country. It offers a variety of tour options for those looking for a behind-the-scenes peek at how these legendary bikes are made. There is a free tour option available on a first-come, first-served basis.
After the tour, it’s time to hit the road! In York County, you’ll find scenic routes along the Susquehanna River, providing beautiful views as you tour the region. When you’re ready to stretch your legs, head to one of the region’s seasonal corn mazes to participate in some of autumn favorite fun!
Continuing across Pennsylvania, consider a visit to Bucks County. Nestled in the countryside of Philadelphia, Bucks County is home to quaint towns, including New Hope and Doylestown. Perhaps one of their best-known assets is the historic covered bridges. In total, you’ll find 12 covered bridges along the trail. Visit Bucks County (the destination marketing organization for the county) breaks up the tour into two sections. The first including stops at nine bridges spanning a two-hour drive and the second will take you 90 minutes and features visits to three sites. The red paint of the structures pairs exceptionally well with the season’s foliage, making for the perfect photo op!
Aside from touring the twelve bridges, you’ll experience additional doses of history along the way. The tour begins at Washington Crossing Historic Park. On this site, General George Washington and the Continental Army crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776. Break up your ride with a stop in one of the county’s charming small towns that will provide the perfect setting for an afternoon lunch (or even a scoop of ice cream).
As you head north across the state, Pennsylvania’s Route 6 is the ultimate choice for a scenic drive to admire the fall colors. Rt. 6 was highlighted as one of America’s most scenic drives by National Geographic! The scenic highway covers more than 400 miles across the state’s northern tier. Motorcycle enthusiasts consider Rt. 6 a prime location to hit the road and take in the stunning scenery on two wheels.
To make your trip-planning easier than ever, consult the Rt. 6 Motorcycle Itineraries and Maps, organized by the Scenic Rt. 6 Association. There are five different tours to choose from, each offering unique views along the way. Particularly stunning in the fall months is the PA Wilds East Loop, which offers spectacular views of the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. You may even spot some elk along your journey! Your itinerary ends with a stop at Cherry Springs State Park, an area recognized as one of the best places in the world for stargazing. This distinction has earned Cherry Springs a Gold Level Dark Sky Park designation from the International Dark Sky Association.
Additional routes along Pennsylvania’s Route 6 include the Great Lakes Loop, PA Wilds West Loop, the Endless Mountains Loop, and the Pocono Mountains Loop. Each of these itineraries covers a unique region of the state and highlights driving directions paired with must-see attractions along the way.
Ready to hit the road? There’s no better way to see the season’s brightest colors across Pennsylvania!