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Unplug with These Ten Fall Foliage Frolics in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa.

October 8, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

With daily temperatures falling and sunlight on the wane, the trees and bushes throughout Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa., are getting dressed in their finest gold, crimson and auburn hues, spectacularly displayed against azure autumnal skies.

A hut at Valley Forge National Historical Park, with a full array of autumn colors as a backdrop

There may be no time on the calendar that has this section of the state looking better and more inviting.

Before the stiff winds of early winter arrive to send the leaves scattering, make plans to see this yearly display up close and personal by leaving the car behind.

The following are suggested ways to enjoy the fall leaves without driving:

On Two Wheels: With nearly 60 miles of trails in Montgomery County, Pa., October is prime time to pedal through our impressive pathways. Two of the standouts are the Perkiomen Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail. On the former, cyclists can enjoy the sight of a flurry of brilliant maple leaves landing gently on the flowing Perkiomen creek. On the latter, the wide vistas of Valley Forge National Historical Park — from its open grassland to its hilly rises — are transformed into real-time picture postcards of fall beauty.

From the Air: On this list of car-free leaf-watching recommendations, one does indeed involve gas. It’s in the propane tanks that fills the canopy high overhead the baskets of the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team, Pottstown, Pa. Once the envelope has been filled and heated, though, things turn decidedly low-tech. Liftoff is a gentle rise, and soon the entire landscape spreads out, enabling breathtaking views for miles. Float over the glassy surfaces of wandering waterways. Glide by parks and forests and enjoy the kaleidoscope of treetops. Back on the ground, each flight ends with a champagne toast. Here’s to the spectacular scenery. Call 800.763.5987 for details.

In a Festive Trolley: The Encampment Store at Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, Pa., is the start of an adventurous tour on a festive trolley. This outing has just as much to offer fall foliage fans as it does to history buffs. The tour includes the impressive scenery and the moving story of our nation’s quest for independence. Through October 26, tours are available weekends at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

From the Water: Tucked in the northwest corner of Montgomery County, Green Lane Park, Green Lane, Pa., is a natural wonderland; however, each autumn it should really be renamed “Yellow-Orange-Red Lane Park.” The trees here blaze with color, and viewing them from the water make the experience especially magical. Pontoon boat tours especially designed to show off the landscape are scheduled Saturday October 11, and Sunday October 12. Tours are available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., departing on the hour. Rake in a reservation quickly, before this opportunity fades, by calling Marsh Creek Boat Rental at 610.458.5040.

On Horseback: Red Buffalo Ranch provides guided trail rides on horseback through the 3,500 acres of Evansburg State Park, Collegeville, Pa. Trails are custom chosen to suit riders of all experience levels, but all routes feature the sound of hooves clip-clopping through crunchy fallen leaves. The ranch is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 610.489.9707.

At High Speed: It may be difficult to appreciate gold-tinged poplar leaves when they speed by in a blur, but there’s no denying the thrill of ziplining in autumn. The canopy tours at Spring Mountain Adventures, Schwenksville, Pa., send visitors flying through the forest alongside a 535-foot mountain, with challenging obstacles along the way to really bump up the cardio. There’s more than one option for high-energy autumn appreciation; the terrain can also be descended on a mountain bike. Tour hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to dusk. Reservations are a must; call 610.287.7900, ext. 100.

On Foot: Here’s a recipe for a fallish fantasy: Take 12,000 plants, trees and flowers, dress them up in their autumnal best and spread them out over 92 acres of historic ground. Connect them with winding pathways and top with a cool, sunny afternoon, and the result is the Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, Pa. A birds-eye view of fall can be enjoyed at the new “Out on a Limb” experience, which raises the game on leaf watching 50 feet off the ground. The grounds are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends until 5 p.m.

From a Golf Cart: Duffers who lose a shot in a pile of reddish-brown oak leaves may not cheer the change in seasons, but despite the effect on a score, the colorful view from a golf cart is a pleasantry unavailable any other time of year. The layout of Raven’s Claw Golf Club (Pottstown, Pa.) and Turtle Creek Golf Course (Limerick, Pa.) are particularly recommendable from the viewpoint of autumn’s awe; the fairways and greens are nestled among lush groves of trees that turn fiery in the October sun. For a shorter round, make the “drive” to Mermaid Golf Club (Blue Bell, Pa.) for nine-holes of beauty. And for a full weekend of fall golf, the ACE Conference Center and Hotel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) offers play-and-stay possibilities.

From the Height of an Impressive Vantage Point: The tower at Glencairn Museum rises seven stories above the Bryn Athyn Historic District, Bryn Athyn, Pa., and on a clear day, the Philadelphia skyline is visible in the distance. In between are miles and miles of trees in their best fall dress, turning the landscape into a patchwork quilt of vibrant hues. The tower is included only on guided tours, Tuesdays through Fridays at 2:30 p.m.; weekends at 1:00, 2:30 and 3:00 p.m.; or by appointment. Call 267.502.2993 for reservations.

From the Comfort of a Rocking Chair: The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Audubon, Pa., features a little-known respite: a row of comfortable rocking chairs on the porch of the homestead. For a true experience in unplugging, visitors can grab one and sit in the warmth of the fall sun, viewing the trees that line the Perkiomen Creek as it burbles along. Time it just right, and the onset of dusk becomes breathtaking. The grounds are open from 7 a.m. to dark on every day but Monday.

With so much to see and do — and so many ways to enjoy the fall — it’s best to plan an entire weekend in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa. The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board can make it unforgettable, recommending opportunities for adventure, art & culture, family fun, food & dining, girls’ night, history buffs, nightlife, romance and shopping. Visit our website,, for more information.

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