Morgan Christopher Fall 2021
Two Spectacular Structures Connect Fantastic Fall Foliage
There is an interesting thing that visitors do not realize about Pennsylvania Route 6 until they have explored the highway. Travel the road connecting the counties of the state’s northern tier, and you will discover two colossal structures: Wyoming County’s Tunkhannock Viaduct, often referred to as an “engineering wonder of the world,” and McKean County’s Kinzua Sky Walk (formerly the Kinzua Viaduct). Constructed as infrastructure that allowed for the advancement of transportation and industrialization during the Industrial Revolution, today, both structures offer breathtaking scenery for visitors.
Allow these two structures to serve as “bookends” as you put together a unique trip across the heart of Pennsylvania’s northern tier. Going east to west along the route, consider these stops when planning a fall foliage tour of Pennsylvania’s northern tier.
1 – Tunkhannock Viaduct
Named for the creek it crosses in the town of Nicholson, this century-old structure was built to shorten the train route between the Great Lakes and New York City. A visitors area offers fantastic views for photos and sightseeing. The restored Nicholson Train Station is set to open in the coming months (check out the website for details) as an interpretive center sharing the story of the construction and legacy of the viaduct.
2 – Quilted Corners of Wyalusing
Along Route 6, you will see large, brightly painted quilt squares adorning structures that pay tribute to the art of quilt making that generations of farm families continue to practice. The stories of the squares can be enjoyed while touring historic barns, orchards, wineries, and other businesses listening to the OnCell Audio Tour on your drive. Stop by the Wyalusing Chamber of Commerce on Main Street to pick up the brochure.
3 – Marie Antoinette Lookout/French Azilum
One of the great panoramic views along Route 6 can be enjoyed from the overlook between Wyalusing and Towanda. This breathtaking view of the Susquehanna River valley is a “must see” for leaf peepers. From the lookout, take in the farmlands of the French Azilum, the historic site where a community was planned for gentry fleeing the French Revolution. Enjoy the overlook named for the most famous resident who never arrived, then drive down to the site to learn more about this unique chapter of Pennsylvania history.
4 – Pennsylvania Grand Canyon/Pine Creek Rail Trail
Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks on opposite sides of Pine Creek Gorge (aka the PA Grand Canyon) offer incredible foliage viewing points of the 47-mile-long glacially carved canyon. The vast abundance of hardwoods and evergreens offer stunning shades of fall color. The Pine Creek Trail running along the canyon floor provides a view from the “bottom up” that can be enjoyed from an immersive ride through the foliage aboard the popular Ole Covered Wagon Tour.
5 – Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Viewing fall foliage is a delight, but at the lumber museum, you can also learn about the trees you see! This state museum offers interactive displays and interpretive exhibits chronicling the story of Pennsylvania’s lumber history. The on-site lumber camp, sawmill, and Shay Locomotive displays offer a chance to spend time on the grounds surrounded by the lush foliage of Potter County.
6 – Austin Dam Memorial Park
In September 1911, a flood destroyed the town of Austin and is remembered as the sixth-worst dam failure in U.S. history. Today, a 76-acre park surrounds the ruins and offers a beautiful spot for hiking, biking, camping, and recreation. Fall offers fantastic foliage displays and a great place to connect with nature.
7 – Kinzua Skywalk
The incredible skywalk which offers breathtaking views in and around Mt. Jewett in McKean County, was constructed on six of the historic Kinzua Viaduct towers that survived the tornado of 2003. Once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world, the structure has been revitalized as a popular attraction extending 624 feet into the Kinzua Gorge, offering visitors panoramic views. At a stunning height of 225 feet above the valley, the partial glass overlook gives visitors the chance to “walk the tracks across the sky.”
Connecting all these suggested stops along the heart of Route 6 between Wyoming and McKean Counties are seasonal businesses like orchards, roadside stands, and cider mills, as well as farmers markets and wineries/microbreweries that offer fall favorites. Pick up a pumpkin or two on your journey, enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, and discover the magic of autumn along Pennsylvania’s beautiful northern tier on Route 6.