Scenic Drives

The mountain forests in our part of Pennsylvania are priceless natural wonders. They are renowned for their inspiring beauty, especially in the fall as the colors of the leaves turn orange, mustard and scarlet.

Pennsylvania's Woodlands Show Their True Colors

As the dappled greens of summer wane to reveal the dazzling oranges, crimsons and golds of autumn, the woodlands of Pennsylvania show their true colors.  When you take into consideration Cook Forest, the Allegheny National Forest, and the several state parks and natural areas located in our part of the state, the trees outnumber the people easily by a thousand to one.  For folks on a fall leaf drive, that means Mother Nature's crazy quilt of color can be enjoyed around almost every bend in the road wherever you go.  We have put together a few recommended routes for your convenience along with a number of our favorite stops along the way.  Enjoy!

Cook Forest Loop (40 miles, 1 hour)

Within its 7,000 acres of woodlands, Cook Forest has one of the finest stands of primeval white pines and hemlocks in the eastern U.S.  In fact, these huge, ancient trees are as much as 350 years old.  But if you're looking for fall color there are plenty of maple, birch, beech, black cherry and ash trees to provide those lovely autumn hues.  River Road, which is part of this drive, follows the course of the Wild & Scenic Clarion River and is a beautiful stretch of highway any time of the year.

Along the route, you will find the Cook Forest Fire Tower and Seneca Point (A), offering the best panoramic view of the fall leaves from the top of the 87-foot tower.  Cooksburg Dry Goods (B) is a great stop for a snack for the road or a souvenir from your trip.

As you round the loop, you'll come to the town of Leeper.  Here you can sample wine and relax on the patio at the R** Bandana Winery (C) and stop for a delicious "sawdust" burger at the Sawmill Restaurant (D).

Elk Country Loop (76 miles, 2 hours)

Take a self-guided tour of elk country on this scenic loop.  The drive includes an excursion through a magnificent river valley along Route 120 from St. Marys over to Emporium and down to Driftwood.  In Emporium, stop by the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce (A) to see the PA Wilds Artisan display and get information about the area.

The loop also leads through the heart of the elk range from Driftwood to Weedville on Route 555.  The Fred Woods Trail (B), near Driftwood on Route 555, offers a magnificent scenic overlook, known as the "Top of the World."  (Turn onto Castle Garden Road, which turns into Mason Hill Road. Parking is on the left.)

Route 555 winds along the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek.  It travels through small towns such as Benezette, where the Elk Country Visitor Center (C) is a popular attraction for kids and adults.  You'll be glad you stopped at the new Old Bull Cafe (D) for hand-dipped ice cream, s'mores around the campfire, or a sandwich and a great cup of coffee.  The little town of Weedville is just a few miles down the road.  We recommend stopping at the Weedville Hotel (E), where you can enjoy great homemade Italian food and fresh dough pizza.

If you have time for a side-trip, you should check out the new Wildlife Center (F) and the Stevenson Dam (G) located in Sinnemahoning State Park.  The center has interactive exhibits and displays and the dam has beautiful scenery and many bald eagle sightings.  The side-trip will add about 30 miles to your drive.

Allegheny National Forest Drive (69.5 miles, 1 1/2 hours)

Hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, over 700 miles of streams, and 87 miles of the Wild & Scenic Allegheny River traverse the terrain of the 1/2-million acre Allegheny National Forest. There are also over 100 undeveloped islands including seven Wilderness Islands in the Allegheny River and the huge forest tract is home to amazing wildlife and magnificent stands of trees.

Tionesta is the western gateway to the ANF, where you can see the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse (A) along the Wild & Scenic Allegheny River, a great photo opportunity. Browse the beautiful selection of artwork from local artisans at From the Forest Gallery (B) in the Forest County Visitor Center. Take Rt. 62 north 7 miles to East Hickory and you’ll get more outstanding views of the river, which runs parallel to the road.

When you turn east onto Rt. 666—the Devil’s Highway—you’ll be headed toward Kellettville. The drive will take you past woodlands, farms, and dense forests. This is an exceptional stretch of road for fall foliage. It curves uphill and down with some hairpin turns. In Kellettville, stop by the Longhorn Saloon and Trail’s End Dining Room (C) at the Flying W Ranch to quench your thirst and check out the Western themed merchandise at the ranch’s gift shop.

Head out of Kellettville and continue traveling on Rt. 666 for another 15 miles into the village of Lynch. Turn right onto Blue Jay Creek Road where you will cross Tionesta Creek then continue 5 miles to intersect with Rt. 66. Heading south, between Pigeon and Marienville you’ll find the newly remodeled Allegheny National Forest Visitor Center (D). The center has informative exhibits about the flowers, trees, birds and other wildlife of the forest. When in Marienville, make sure you try the delicious homemade dinners at the Bucktail Hotel (E).

From Marienville take Rt. 66 for 12 miles through Vowinckel to Leeper where you can enjoy a hand-dipped ice cream treat at the Country Store (F). In Leeper you pick up Rt. 36 north for 14 miles. As you make the steep descent into Tionesta past Tionesta Lake, you will notice how the road was carved into the rocky mountainside.

Clarion Countryside Loop (65 miles, 1 & 3/4 hours)

Clarion County is home to Clarion University, Cook Forest and two Wild & Scenic rivers.  The town of Clarion is easily accessed from I-80 to start the countryside loop.

From Clarion, the drive winds south along Route 68 through Rimersburg and Sligo to East Brady.  Sligo was named after the seacoast town in Ireland and has streets named Shamrock Drive and Colerain that have an Irish flair.  At the southern point along the route, you'll find Brady's Bend Overlook (A).  The overlook offers an eight-mile panoramic view of a magnificent bend in the Allegheny River.  It is also a popular spot for eagle and hawk watching.

Traveling north on Route 268, you'll arrive at Parker, where you can cross the Allegheny on one of the few remaining metal truss bridges (circa 1934) of any kind on this area of the river.  Go a few more miles north and discover the charming resort town of Foxburg.  Stop in the Divani Chocolate Boutique (B) for unique handmade gourmet European-style chocolates.

Rounding the top of the loop, you'll come to the town of Shippenville along Route 58, where you can enjoy free wine tastings and sample the wine sorbet at the Deer Creek Winery (C).  Continue on Route 58 and head back to Clarion for some good food in a comfortable setting at the RGB Restaurant and Lounge (D) at the Park Inn by Radisson.

Eagle's Flight (105 miles, 2 1/2 hours)

This drive features the beautiful countryside of Clarion County and winds through dense forests, along peaceful rivers, around quiet farms, and into some quaint little towns.

Starting at the Clarion County Courthouse in downtown Clarion, take N. 5th Avenue out of town and across the bridge. Stay on Miola Road (Rt. 1005) for 14 miles. A) While on Miola Road, stop at Kalyument Fore Fun for a round of mini-golf or laser tag. Make a left onto Rt. 36 N. and drive 8 miles through the town of Leeper. At the Rt. 208 intersection, take 208 east toward the town of Fryburg. B) When in Fryburg enjoy shopping for collectibles at the Fryburg Old Treasures Depot.

Once in Fryburg, make another left on Rt. 208 toward the town of Marble. Travel 12.6 miles until you reach Shippenville. From Shippenville, stay on Rt. 208 E. through Knox for 13.6 miles. C) Stretch your legs and spot some birds and wildlife at the Beaver Creek Natural Area. Make a left on Rt. 478 West/PA 38 S. for 2.2 miles to St. Petersburg. Then make a right on to Rt. 58 E. Follow this road for 2.3 miles to Foxburg. D) Foxburg has a wine cellar, chocolatier, fine dining, lodging, art gallery, and America’s oldest golf course in continuous use.

Leaving Foxburg, cross the bridge over the Allegheny River, and make a left on Rt. 268 S./Kittanning Pike. Travel 11 miles towards Petrolia. Make a left onto Main St., which becomes Queenstown Road (Rt. 4002). Drive for 6.2 miles then make another left onto Rt. 68 E. and go 10 miles through East Brady to Rimersburg. E) When leaving East Brady be sure to take in the spectacular view at Brady’s Bend Overlook. As you leave Rimersburg make a right on Rt. 861 E. After that it’s 11.6 miles to New Bethlehem. In New Bethlehem, turn left on Rt. 66 N. and travel for 16.2 miles until you reach Clarion. F) Make a left on Main St. and end your journey with a visit to Clarion River Brewing Company at 6th and Main.

Also Look For:
G) Kahle Lake - Knox
H) The Big Cow - Sligo
I) Deer Creek Winery - Shippenville

Wapiti Way (86 miles, 2 1/2 hours)

This drive offers spectacular mountain views in the heart of Pennsylvania’s wild elk country and Quehanna Wild Area.

Starting at the Elk Country Visitor Center, make a left turn at the bottom of the hill onto Winslow Hill Road. Follow this road for 1.5 miles until you reach the town of Benezette. From Benezette, turn right on Rt. 255 W. and drive 3 miles to Medix Run. (A) While there, shop for country collectibles at the Elk Country Store. Turn left on the Quehanna Highway and travel 14.4 miles. Make a sharp left turn onto Wykoff Run Road and then follow it for 10 miles to Sinnemahoning. (B) The Marion Brooks Natural Area is a must see. You’ll be amazed by the huge stand of Eastern white birch trees.

From Sinnemahoning take Rt. 120 W. for 21.6 miles to the town of Emporium. (C) Keep an eye out for the Driftwood Saloon & Grill for a great meal. (D) While in Emporium, visit the Chamber of Commerce and Artisan Center to see works by local artisans. From Emporium take Rt. 120 W. 19 miles to St. Marys.

Upon entering St. Marys, make a left at Sorg St. (E) to visit the world famous Straub Brewery. From Sorg St., turn left on Brusselles St., following it as it veers right and becomes S. Michaels St. in .4 miles. Turn left on to Rt. 255 S./N. St. Marys St. Continue on Rt. 255 S. for 8.8 miles. (F) Be sure to sample some premium vintages at the Elk Mountain Winery. Turn left on Caledonia Rd. Follow it for 3.7 miles. Turn left on Rt. 555 E. and back to Benezette for more elk viewing.

Also Look For:
G) Sinnemahoning State Park, Reservoir, Wildlife Center - Sinnemahoning
H) Mason Hill Overlook - Sinnemahoning
I) Whittimore Overlook - Emporium

Groundhog Loop (107 miles, 2 1/2 hours)

This drive features the town of Punxsutawney, home of the world famous weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

Starting at the PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau in Brookville make a left on Maplevale Rd. Turn right on Jenks St. In 1 mile make a slight right on to Valley St., and another slight right on S. White St. Continue on Rt. 36 N./S. White St. for 19.5 miles. Turn left on Walston Rd. and follow it for 2.4 miles until it becomes N. Findley St. Follow that for .8 miles and you’ll be in the Weather Capital of the World —Punxsutawney. (A) Learn about weather with hands-on exhibits at the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center.

Following N. Findley St., make a left onto Clark St. Then make another left onto Rt. 119 N. Follow it for 13.5 miles until you reach Sykesville. In Sykesville, turn left on Rt. 119/Sykes St. and follow this road for 3 miles. Head northeast on Rt. 119 N. towards Rt. 322 west/28th Division Hwy. Follow this for 1 mile before making a left on Rt 219 N. Follow Route 219 N. for 2.7 miles. Then, make a left turn on E. DuBois Ave. (B) Stop at DuBois Harley Davidson, one of the most unique Harley Davidson Dealerships in the US. Upon leaving DuBois Harley Davidson, make a left on Rt. 219 N./W. DuBois Ave. and follow that for 9.8 miles to Brockway.

From Brockway, turn right onto 219 N. and follow it for 17.5 miles to Ridgway. (C) On your way, stop at the BP Inn and try some of their famous hot dogs and frosted beer mugs. In Ridgway, make a left turn on South Broad Street. (D) Visit the Elk County Council on the Arts and browse some locally produced works. Take Rt. 949 S./State St. for .5 miles. Continue on Rt. 949 for 16.6 miles before turning right on to Rt. 949 S. and following that for 14.8 miles to Sigel. (E) While on Rt. 949, stop by the Elk County Elk Farm and try their delicious elk jerky. In Sigel turn left on Rt. 36 S. Follow that for 7.5 miles to Brookville. (F) Top off your journey by sampling some moonshine at the Blackbird Distillery.

Also Look For:
G) Gobbler’s Knob - Punxsutawney
H) Jefferson County History Center - Brookville
I) Scripture Rocks Heritage Park – Brookville

Fantastic Forests (82.3 miles, 2 1/4 hours)

This drive features sparkling waters and dense forests with two nationally designated Wild & Scenic rivers (the Clarion and the Allegheny), Cook Forest State Park, and the half-million-acre Allegheny National Forest. Starting off in Cook Forest, take River Rd. for 8.5 miles along the banks of the Wild & Scenic Clarion River to the town of Clarington.

Right outside of Clarington, make a left onto Rt. 899, and follow it for 9 miles before turning right onto Rt. 66 N. Continue on Rt. 66 N. through Marienville for 3 miles. (A) The Allegheny National Forest Ranger Station will be on your left 3 miles outside of Marienville. Stop over to learn about the forest and stretch your legs. From the ranger station, make a left onto Rt. 66 N. and follow it for 4 miles before making another left on to Blue Jay Creek Rd. Stay on it for 5.5 miles. After you cross the Tionesta Creek, make a left onto Rt. 666. Travel the Devil’s Highway, Rt. 666 across the Allegheny National Forest for 24.5 miles and enjoy the spectacular mountain vistas. (B) Along the way, stop by the Flying W Ranch and wet your whistle at their Longhorn Saloon.

Continue along Rt. 666 to East Hickory, make a left on Rt. 62 South for 7.2 miles as you ride along the Allegheny River to the town of Tionesta. In Tionesta, check out the (C) Sherman Memorial Lighthouse and the (D) Tionesta Market Village for locally made artisans products. From Tionesta take Rt. 36 S. for 20.6 miles through Leeper back to Cook Forest State Park. Upon entering Cook Forest, take in the stunning views provided by (E) Seneca Point and the nearby (F) Fire Tower.

Also Look For:
G) Cook Forest Sawmill Center for the Arts - Cooksburg
H) Buzzard Swamp - Marienville
I) R** Bandana Winery - Leeper

Request your Travel Guide
Download or order FREE guides and maps

Subscribe to our e-newsletter
Get the latest news, events, and travel deals