Written by John Straitiff | Cover photo by Shaley Tarr

When I think of fall in Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors region, the first thing that comes to mind is scent of the autumn woods. The crisp cold nights and shortening days bring a sweet change to the woodlands you can smell. The ferns are turning yellow as the trees overhead showcase their bright red, yellow, orange, and gold leaves. Apples, acorns, and hickory nuts begin to fall to the ground and provide the end of summer’s bounty for wildlife that call this region home. There is just something special that you can only experience being afield during this time of year.

As I wonder through the autumn woods, I find myself thinking back to my early teens, of fond memories when fall Saturday mornings were spent with my grandfather and his beagle hunting rabbits as the drying goldenrods would blow in the breeze and me coming home with burrs stuck to my clothes. I vividly recall families from my hometown piling into the beds of pickups with blankets and cider in hand for a fun filled night of spotting deer. Now, I enjoy sitting in the woods watching squirrels busily rustlePhoto by Kelli Kopacka around the forest floor, while deer feed under a mighty oak, and wild turkey call in the distance. The scents, sights, and sounds of the autumn woodlands offer me a sense of calm, peace, and tranquility and a much-needed break from today’s hectic electronic world.

Thankfully, there are many places and plenty of public land where you too can enjoy peaceful autumn walk in Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors region. State Parks, Allegheny National Forest, and Quehanna Wild Area, and local hiking trails are a great place to start. Find everything you need to plan your own adventure in the fall woods at or call (814) 849-5197.



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