October is here! This is my favorite month for many reasons; beautiful foliage, farm markets and pumpkins patches to explore, the sweet smell of falling leaves and cooler air, the great taste of apple cider and pumpkin pie, the plethora of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation.
I encourage you to head out and enjoy these great spots for fall fun!
Ohiopyle State Park, PA
This 20-thousand acre state park is an easy drive from Pittsburgh and offers endless options for outdoor fun. Connect with Wilderness Voyageurs for a rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River – perfect for viewing the foliage. Choose from family-friendly river paddling or more thrilling rapids. Or, opt for a bike tour through the park’s Great Allegheny Passage – a bike trail built on former railroad beds.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, KY
An easy drive from Louisville, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest offers 14,000 acres of protected land for hiking, bird watching, and ecological research. There’s a natural forested area for a longer, wilder hike; and curated plant gardens and a visitors center – including a café and outdoor sculpture gardens. Nearly 2,000 distinct tree and plant species live at Bernheim! And don’t miss the canopy tree walk – and elevated boardwalk built high above the trees, extending into a ravine. The views are magical!
Cunningham Falls State Park, MD
North of Baltimore, a peaceful spot for a picnic and short hike is Cunningham Falls State Park. Located in the Catoctin Mountains, there are short hikes to enjoy, leaf peeping, and camping options. Inside the park, be sure to visit Scales and Tales, an animal rehab and education center. Here, injured birds of prey and reptiles are taken in, and meet the public to share their stories and encourage conservation and proper wildlife management. You’ll meet great horned owls, hawks, snakes and more!
New River Gorge, WV
West Virginia is known for it’s outdoor recreation, with the New River Gorge area being the best spot for kayaking, rafting, biking, hiking and more! There are 70-thousand acres of protected lands along the river, creating a haven for plant and animal life. The river has carved out one of the deepest and longest gorges in the Appalachian Mountains, making for beautiful views. Visit Ace Adventure Resort for an overnight camp or cabin stay and a zip line canopy tour through the autumn leaves.
Griffis Sculpture Park, NY
Located near the charming ski village of Ellicottville, Griffis Sculpture Park is nestled into the Allegheny Mountains, south of Buffalo. Bring your hiking shoes for a beautiful day of exploring this 450-acre outdoor wonderland. There’s more than 250 unique art pieces to view, including some several stories tall! The art dots the landscape and mountainside, including a beautiful pond area. Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day admiring the art and the scenery.