Thanks to Linda Devlin, The Allegheny National Forest Visitors Center for providing this information
Foliage.org: What are the projected dates for Bradford, Pennsylvania’s foliage season?
The prime leaf season in this “neck” of the woods is the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October. Color typically will last to the end of October, but for the most vivid colors, plan to visit early!
Foliage.org: Are there areas, vistas, scenic lookouts or other destinations within Bradford that are known for their uniquely beautiful autumn foliage displays?
Located at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, Bradford provides a central location to enjoy more than 201 miles of hiking trails within the forest. Suggested scenic areas include the Marilla Bridges Trail system which features colorful forest vistas along a 1-mile trail system that circles Marilla Reservoir. You will experience spectacular fall foliage as you cross over raised walkways and through a wooden covered bridge. Part of an interconnecting trail system, from Marilla Reservoir you can hike through the deep forest along Marilla Springs Trail, White Pine Trail or the popular Indian Pipe Trail. The trailhead is located along PA 346, five miles west of the City of Bradford.
Nearby, Morrison Trail, a 10.8 mile trail loop within the Allegheny National Forest, provides two unique experiences for either the day hiker or for a two-three day backpacking adventure. Passing through open hardwoods and large rock formations, Rimrock Overlook provides scenic views of the shorelines of the mighty Allegheny Reservoir. The trailhead parking lot is located along PA Route 59, 17 miles west of the City of Bradford.
Foliage.org: What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for Fall tourists?
The Longhouse National Scenic Byway offers some of the most breathtaking views imaginable of forests and waterways in the eastern United States. The 29-mile loop-a designated National Forest Byway-circles the Kinzua Creek arm of the Allegheny Reservoir and allows visitors to enjoy the majestic splendor of the Allegheny National Forest along PA Route 59 and PA Route 321 and Allegheny National Forest Road 262.
Enter the Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway just east of the village of Mt. Jewett from scenic Route 6. Winding through the lush hardwood forests of the Allegheny Plateau, you will pass by a maple syrup farm, State Game Lands and wetlands that offer wildlife and bird watching opportunities. This nine-mile byway, connecting to PA Route 59, is designated a shared use byway for biking and hiking. Traffic counts are low, and the heavy forest canopy arching over the roadway provides spectacular fall foliage touring. Located 3.4 miles from the entrance of the byway is the Kinzua Bridge State Park, home of the world-famous Kinzua Viaduct. The Kinzua Bridge State Park, at an elevation of 2,110 feet provides breathtaking views of the Kinzua Gorge. Hailed as one of the engineering marvels of the 19th century, the Kinzua Viaduct once stood as the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the entire world. Repair work was underway to this historic structure when a tornado struck and toppled 11 of the viaduct’s 20 towers.
Currently undergoing repair work, the viaduct will be reopened in the fall of 2010 as the Kinzua Skywalk with a new octagon shaped overlook with a partial glass floor. Today, one can watch the construction and view the fall foliage from a designated overlook within the park. Family picnic areas and hiking trails are located within the park.
Foliage.org: What festivals or other public events are taking during Fall foliage season?
We provide a calendar of Allegheny National Forest area autumn events at our website. Some area events in autumn include:
Foliage.org: Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for Fall foliage travelers? What are they?
The Eldred War World II Museum is dedicated to those who were part of the dramatic war that changed the world forever. Located in Eldred, just 30 minutes from Bradford, this is history you can see, touch and feel. The museum is open Tues-Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM.
Foliage.org: What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to Bradford .What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
The Zippo/Case Visitors Center houses rare Zippo lighters and Case knives and a series of engaging interactive kiosks and exhibits. The museum is open daily and includes an extensive gift shop that offers one-of-a-kind prototype Zippo lighters.
Grandma’s House Tea & Gifts, located in the historic Congress Street Diner, serves up freshly baked pastries daily, and offers a large variety of Stash and Eastern Shore teas, teapots, and tea accessories along with a wide variety of gifts and collectibles.
John Williams European Pastry Shop, located on Mechanic Street, Bradford, offers a wide variety of freshly baked sconces, cakes, cookies and fudge. Serving breakfast and lunch, the menu is always packed full of delicious treats.
Foliage.org: Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
Bradford’s National Historic District offers a self-guided walking tour. The majority of the buildings were built, designed and constructed between 1880 and 1920. The Hooker-Fulton building, located along Main Street, is considered by many as one of the prime examples of Art Deco architecture in Pennsylvania.
Nearby, the Smethport Mansion District walking tour provides a self-guided tour through a charming village built during the Victorian age by the lumber barons. The Route 6 Diner, located along Main Street, is a favorite stop for a hamburger and a shake.
Foliage.org: What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
McKean County, Pennsylvania, is Trail Central. Families can enjoy more than 600 miles of trails for hiking, biking, backpacking and over 100 miles for ATV riding.
Kayak, scooter and ATV rentals are available from Allegheny Recreation Rentals.
For the adventure seekers, Free Fall Oz offers tandem skydiving-a great way to view the fall foliage from above!
Kinzua Wolf Run Marina & Docksiders Café offers waterfront dining along the Allegheny Reservoir, spectacular sunsets and live music on Sundays.
Foliage.org: What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
A free travel guide and map for the Allegheny National Forest Region, which includes Bradford, Kane, Smethport and other local communities, can be ordered by calling 800-473-9370 or clicking on visitANF.com
For Fall foliage viewing, a free Scenic Driving Tour brochure that features seven suggested tours, attractions, restaurants, lodging and a color-coded driving tour map is available by calling 800-473-9370, or e-mail info@visitANF.com.
Foliage.org: Is there anything else you would like to tell visitors thinking about traveling to Bradford for the fall foliage season?
In the Allegheny National Forest the sky is more vast, the mountains higher, the trees a bit taller. The fall foliage peeks early in the upper elevations of the Allegheny Plateau offering a wide spectrum of vivid colors due to the diversity of the hardwood forest. This is an area of winding roads, scenic byways, and low traffic. Travel Savvy Magazine named the Longhouse National Scenic Drive as one of the top six fall foliage drives in the United States. Fall really is bigger here!