The Best Spots in and Around Philly for Fall Foliage Photos
These leaf-peeping destinations (all accompanied by stunning pics) are located within an hour of Center City — and many are accessible by public transit.
Fall is here, and so are the fall photos.
If your timeline has yet to be filled with infinite gradients of rusty autumnal tones, it won’t be long now. Philly and its surrounding counties are approaching peak fall foliage color, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry. Counties north and west of here are already at their brightest.
You don’t want to be left out of the fall photo jubilee. To help you snap the best pics to wow your friends, we’ve compiled both a map and a list of the best places to capture fall foliage photos within an hour of the city.
The list, which you’ll find below, is organized by distance from Center City and accompanied by exemplary sample shots. It’s a feast for your eyes — and (bonus!) a helpful guide.
Drive: ~10 minutes from Center City; also accessible by bus and bike
Maybe the closest, easiest way to achieve that outside-the-city feeling. Check out our guide to the park right here.
Drive: 15 to 35 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic); also accessible by bus
A nine-mile park in Northeast Philadelphia, with woodlands, wetlands and meadows.
Drive: ~20 minutes from Center City; also accessible by trolley
Botanist John Bartram founded this garden and arboretum site in 1728, making it the continent’s oldest remaining botanical garden. Walk through flower gardens, across a meadow and along the Schulykill River — plus, catch a stunning view of the skyline.
Wissahickon Valley Park
Drive: ~30 minutes from Center City; also accessible by bus and Regional Rail (Manayunk/Norristown Line)
Without a doubt the most optimal hiking spot in Philadelphia proper — and the ideal location for autumnal photos. (Bonus info: Want a great shot above the trees? Head to the Walnut Lane bridge.)
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
Drive: ~30 minutes from Center City; also accessible by bus and Regional Rail (Airport Line)
Waves of warm amber tones surround expansive marsh views at John Heinz this time of year. Take a three-mile walk around the water, or opt for a shorter, more casual stroll. Bring binoculars if you want to spot the resident eagles. (Not the football team — actual birds.)
Drive: >30 minutes from Center City; also accessible by bus and Regional Rail (Chestnut Hill West Line)
A 55-acre Germantown estate gem, ready for the camera and perfect for short strolls.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Drive: 30 minutes to an hour from Center City (depending on traffic); also accessible by bus
If you’re looking for views of rolling meadows, open skies and fall-toned trees — as well as a bit of history — you can’t beat this destination.
Ridley Creek State Park
Drive: 30 to 50 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic); also accessible by bus
Ridley Creek is home to more than 2,600 acres of woodlands and meadows — and located just 16 miles from Center City. Go for photos. Stay to hike, picnic, camp, fish, birdwatch, bike and more.
Drive: ~35 minutes from Center City; Also accessible by Regional Rail (Media/Elwyn Line)
Acres and acres of forested land (and a picturesque creek) in Swarthmore. More than three miles of walking trails.
Natural Lands’ Hildacy Preserve
Drive: 30 to 45 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic); also accessible by bus
These former farm fields were converted into a nature preserve with tall-grass meadows, woodlands, a creek and an 1806-built farmhouse.
Drive: 30 to 50 minutes from Center City; also accessible by bus
Hiking trails, historic trees, a replica of David Thoreau’s Walden cabin — what more could you want? (Know before you go, though: admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $9 for youth, military and students.)
Rancocas State Park
Drive: 30 to 50 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic); also accessible by New Jersey Transit (bus)
Here, you’ll find opportunities to hike (on more than eight miles of trails), fish, canoe and horseback ride — all along picturesque waters.
Black Run Preserve
Drive: 30 to 50 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic)
This 1,300-acre New Jersey preserve has been called an “ecological paradise.” Its tree-rimmed cranberry bogs and other wetlands look particularly idyllic in the fall.
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Straight outta CBS Sunday Morning, we leave you now with this scene from the Shanty Bog at the Black Run Preserve in Evesham Township, New Jersey. #anybodycanhike #blackrunpreserve #cbssundaymorning #hiking #hikenj #hikingday #southjerseytrails #scenicnj #nature #bog #hikertrash #peaceful #hikingadventures #outdoors #outsideisfree #stayandwander
Wharton State Forest
Drive: 40 minutes to an hour from Center City (depending on traffic)
It’s the largest state forest in New Jersey — and home to Batsto Village, a former iron and glassmaking town dating back to 1766. You’ll find plenty to explore here, including rivers for canoeing and kayaking, as well as trails for hiking and horseback riding.
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Drive: 45 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes (depending on traffic)
Acres of sandy trails, cedars and swamplands in New Jersey’s wild Pine Barrens.
Evansburg State Park
Drive: 50 minutes to one hour and 15 minutes from Center City (depending on traffic)
Meadows, fields and woodlands in Montgomery County — plus an 18-hole golf course open to the public.