Thanks to Linda Devlin , The Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau for providing this most helpful information
Foliage.org: What are the projected dates for Smethport, Pennsylvania foliage season?
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 Smethport that are known for their uniquely beautiful autumn foliage displays?
Located along scenic Route 6, the small Victorian village of Smethport, provides a glimpse into “Authentic America”. Scenic Route 6, a two-lane meandering roadway, was named by National Geographic Traveler as “One of America’s most scenic drives.”
The waters of Hamlin Lake, located in the center of the village, mirror the colors of the forested hillsides that surround the village. Goosechaser Trail, a ¾-mile long trail along the banks of Marvin Creek, provides easy walking access to the lake.
Nearby, Wolfinger Trail System is available for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Many loops can be made, from a short half hour stroll along Sandy Lane to several hours’ worth of vigorous hiking on the North Trail. Begin at the main trailhead, located on PA Route 46 north, 1.1 miles from PA Route 6, on the left side by the gate. Maps are available at the trailhead. The trails are rated easy to moderate in difficulty.
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 west of the village of Smethport 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.
Foliage.org: Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for Fall foliage travelers? What are they?
Located 3.4 miles from the entrance of the Kinzua 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.
Nearby, 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 Smethport .What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
Part of the PA Wilds Artisan Trail, the Country Porch Coffee Shoppe, 113 West Min Street, Smethport, offers items such as handmade candles, engraved picture frames, watercolor renderings of local landmarks, photography, and log furniture. Locally produced maple syrup, gourmet chocolates and peppermills made in Smethport are also featured at this great little country store.
Nearby in Bradford, 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.
Foliage.org: Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
The Smethport Mansion District’s self guided walking tour includes a map and history of over 30 architectural gems constructed during the 1800s. Highlights include St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a magnificent English Gothic church, the Orlo J. Hamlin Mansion which was built as a wedding gift, and the Medbury House-Smethport’s underground railroad station.
The Bucktail Civil War monument in front of the McKean County Courthouse pays tribute to the Bucktail Regiment which was formed at that location in April 1861. The Bucktail Regiment and General Thomas L. Kane gained national fame during in the bloody battles of the American Civil War.
Foliage.org: What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
The Route 6 Diner, 423 West Main Street, Smethport, Pennsylvania, is an old-fashioned diner featuring burgers and fries. The house specialty is the “Hubber-Burger” named for the high school football team.
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!
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 Smethport 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!