Each season in Cumberland Valley promises an endless variety of experiences for the ideal Weekend Easy getaway but this region really shines in the fall when you dine, play, explore and discover the perfect place to get away from it all. Whether you are seeking out breathtaking views, looking to recharge along a quiet path, or experience adrenaline-pumping activity, your weekend adventure awaits in the serene beauty of south-central Pennsylvania.
Whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting out, discover and explore Cumberland Valley’s more than 200 miles of scenic trails. Sweater weather makes hiking even better. Seek out solitude as you leisurely stroll along trails glowing with dazzling fall foliage colors or try a more challenging hike that rewards you with spectacular panoramic views of Cumberland Valley.
Hike or bike the 13-mile Cumberland Valley Rail Trail from Newville to Shippensburg. This easy out-and-back trail treats visitors to a corridor of woods and shrubs adjacent to farms and grasslands and is an excellent location for bird watching. The trail provides a quiet oasis awash in color.
Combine hiking and bird watching with scenic vistas at Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch, one of the best sites in PA to watch the fall hawk migration. Located at the top of Blue Mountain, you’ll find two short trails that lead to a beautiful 180-degree vista of Cumberland Valley.
Forty-six miles of the iconic Appalachian Trail meander through Cumberland Valley, including a 13-mile section that is the longest, lowest and flattest on the entire trail making it easily accessible for a short day hike or a longer overnight adventure. Immerse yourself in the A.T. at Pine Grave Furnace State Park where you can hike to the midpoint of the entire trail, visit the Appalachian Trail Museum (open weekends through October), or stay like an A.T. thru-hiker at the Ironmaster’s Mansion, a renovated historic building that now serves as a hostel. The Mansion is open daily through the end of October and then by appointment.
If you are interested in combining your outdoor adventure with history, you’ll find Camp Michaux two miles northwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park. This site is linked to the iron industry in the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Its story continued as a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (CCC) during the Great Depression. During World War II, it served as a secret Prisoner of War Interrogation camp for more than 7,000 German prisons and over 150 Japanese prisoners. Following the war, the area eventually became a church camp. Now, visitors can take a self-guided walking tour along trails that go by ruins that reflect the long history of this site.
In addition to Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland Valley’s two other state parks are also full of beauty and charm for nature lovers. You’ll find a variety of excellent hiking trails for all skill levels, scenic mountainside lakes and creeks, wildlife, and panoramic vistas. Pack a picnic lunch, grab a blanket, and relax in a zen-filled space that will leave you feeling refreshed. Even better, well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome along the trails so you can spend time with your furry friend.
Cumberland Valley is also a flyfisher’s paradise with some of the world’s most sought-after fly-fishing hotspots. Flyfishers from all over travel to fish at the Yellow Breeches Creek, LeTort Spring Run, and Big Spring Creek Greenway. Be sure to include a visit to the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum, which preserves the history and rich fly-fishing heritage of the state. Stay at Allenberry Resort, one of only three Orvis-certified fly-fishing lodges in Pennsylvania. Nearby, TCO Outdoors has all your hiking and fly-fishing needs.
Whatever adventure you choose, you will be whisked into wide-open spaces where you can unplug and unwind.
Cumberland Valley Highlights
When you’re ready to relax from all these outdoor adventures sip PA wines or enjoy the unique flavors of craft brews at 20 locations along the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, savor distinctive dining at more than 200 local restaurants, explore charming downtowns filled with specialty shops, travel picturesque back roads where you’ll find roadside stands and farm markets filled with season fresh-picked produce, roam through a corn maze, or find the perfect fall festival to complement your outdoor getaway.
Places to Stay
Cumberland Valley’s hotels fit every style and budget. From luxurious lodging, to comfortable and conveniently located brand hotels, to intimate and unique bed and breakfasts, your accommodations promise a perfect home base for your getaway.
Plan Your Trip
Order a copy of the free Cumberland Valley Visitors Guide to help you plan your trip. Once you arrive, pick up free brochures, maps, and guides, or get suggestions from the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center.
What are you waiting for? Your Weekend Easy adventure awaits. The hardest part is returning home.