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12 Hikes and Events to Celebrate Fall in Cumberland Valley

Pictured: Boiling Springs

Pictured: Boiling Springs

As summer comes to a close, it can be easy to get the cold-weather blues. Luckily, there’s a seasonal transition that lends itself brilliantly to temperate hikes and autumnal festivities. Here are 12 hikes and events to celebrate changing leaves and fall fun in Cumberland Valley. 

Family Fun

Tote the tots to Paulus Orchards any day of the week from September through October and enjoy the themed five-acre corn maze, wagon rides and tube slides before picking your own pumpkins and/or apples.

Explore a straw castle, giant corn maze, pedal tractors and a barrel train at Butcher’s Family Fun Farm. Kids (and kids at heart) can also have some good-natured (and admittedly messy!) fun shooting vegetables out of a potato launcher and corn cannon outside.

Pick up locally grown fruit and veggies and fresh baked goods at Paulus Farm Market before checking out the barnyard animals with the kids or trying your hand at Pumpkin Chunkin’. The farm also transforms its greenhouse into a fall fun fort, engaging small ones with activities like a corn box, coloring table, mini straw maze and more. 

Fall Festivals

Head to downtown Carlisle on Sept. 24 for the Harvest of the Arts, a lively arts festival, with juried and non-juried artists, music, theater, kids’ activities and great food.

The first full week of October features American Craft Week to celebrate the variety of artisans, galleries and shops specializing in American-made crafts via artists-in-action, open houses and special sales.

Celebrate Oktoberfest at US Army Heritage & Education from Oct. 6-9, where you’ll find carnival rides and games, live music, great eats—and the tapping of the Official War College Brew.

For one day only, the Fall Furnace Fest at Pine Grove Furnace State Park is an annual October event featuring food and craft vendors, pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, live entertainment and more. Similarly, Garden Harvest Day in Kings Gap includes leaf printing, apple cider pressing, pumpkin painting, apple butter making and bird feeder building, among other classic autumnal hobbies.

Take a Hike

It’s the perfect time of year to hike up the rocky road to Waggoner’s Gap through the Hawk or Songbird trails. Both lead to a breathtaking, 180-degree view of Cumberland Valley, a landscape bursting with red, yellow and orange leaves. The 125-acre hawk watching rock outcrop sits on the “Blue Mountain” Kittatinny Ridge. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a Golden Eagle taking flight through the foliage.

Colonel Denning State Park boasts 273 acres of woodland with a 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake for a scenic boat ride, if the weather allows. There’s no shortage of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding (there are three trails within the park and nearby Tuscarora State Forest allows for 10 more!) and the 52-site campground is ideal for a brisk fall picnic.

For a more romantic, picturesque adventure, check out the historic village of Boiling Springs and stroll down Lover’s Walk along the Appalachian Trail. The seven-acre Children’s Lake and its bubbling water make for a great relaxation, paddling and fishing stop before diving into the charming 19th century Boiling Springs Self-Guided Walking Tour.

There are plenty of autumnal festivals, hikes and activities to keep you sufficiently busy through December. For more information about more events in Cumberland Valley, click here.