Pennsylvania is a large state that has a lot to offer for landscape and nature photographers. With mountain views, plenty of waterfalls, rivers, and beautiful autumn foliage, this is plenty to choose from when you are looking for a great place to photograph. This page showcases many of the most noteworthy locations in the state for landscape photographers with the hope of helping you plan your own outings. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
The Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania
The following locations will be covered on this page:
- Delaware Water Gap
- Bushkill Falls
- Glen Onoko Falls
- Ricketts Glen State Park
- Sullivan Falls
- Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park
- Hawk Falls
- Nay Aug Falls
- Pine Creek Gorge
- Longwood Gardens
- Susquehannock State Park
- Tucquan Glen State Park
- Mill Creek Falls
- Pine Grove Furnace State Park
- Cherry Springs State Park
- Worlds End State Park
- Dry Run Falls
- Marion Brooks Natural Area
- Hyner View State Park
- Hawk Mountain
- Cook Forest State Park
- Ohiopyle State Park
- Kinzua Bridge State Park
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area includes parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the Delaware River cuts through a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. It is a large area (70,000 acres) that includes miles of trails, beautiful mountain/river views, and a number of waterfalls. Several noteworthy waterfalls are located close to each other, making it convenient to photograph several at once. They are showcased below. Fore more see our guide Guide to Photographing Waterfalls of the Delaware Water Gap.
Within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is George W. Childs Park. The park is home to three waterfalls that can be seen from a 1.5 mile loop. The first of the three falls is Factory Falls.
The second is Fulmer Falls.
And the third is Deer Leap Falls
Also located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is the Dingmans Falls Visitor Center. From the visitor’s center you can take the trail to Dingmans Falls. Before you get to Dingmans Falls you will first pass Silverthread Falls. There is a relatively low volume of water flowing over Silverthread Falls at most times, but it is still a very picturesque waterfall.
If you continue on the trail you will be led to 130-foot Dingmans Falls.
Also in the Delaware Water Gap just a short distance from the other falls already mentioned, Raymondskill Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state at around 150 feet. There is a short, but steep trail that leads right to the falls.
The trail along Hornbecks Creek is a great hike in the Delaware Water Gap and features a few waterfalls. See our Guide to Photographing Hornbecks Creek.
Located in the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, Bushkill Falls is a beautiful place to photograph waterfalls. It is just outside of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and only about a 30-minute drive from the other falls that were just featured. It is privately owned and there is an entrance fee, but it is certainly worth the price. The park is well-maintained with stairs and wooded walkways in the area around the main falls, and a two-mile hike will lead you to several other falls. Along the way there are plenty of other things to photograph, including the creek and some great mountain views. Bushkill Falls is closed in the winter, but is ideal in spring, summer, and fall. For more see our Guide to Photographing Bushkill Falls.
Another popular waterfall in the Poconos is Glen Onoko Falls. To reach this fall you’ll need to take a rugged trail along Glen Onoko Run. The trail also features two other named waterfalls, as well as many beautiful cascades. The trail is not extremely well maintained and can be a little dangerous if you’re not careful, but if you are careful it should be fine. See more in our Guide to Photographing Glen Onoko Falls. I’ve also written an article on Trails Unblazed about this trail.
In northeastern Pennsylvania Ricketts Glen State Park is home to more than 20 waterfalls and is a paradise for the landscape photographer. With plenty of trails and amazing scenery throughout the park it is a must-see. Visit in the fall to capture stunning autumn photos, or in the spring to get vibrant greens and flowing water. This is one of the best places anywhere for photographing waterfalls, and easily one of the highlights of Pennsylvania. See our Guide to Photographing Rickets Glen State Park.
Sullivan Falls is just a few miles from Ricketts Glen State Park. This surprising waterfall is within State Game Lands 13, and easy to access on a gravel road. While Ricketts Glen draws many visitors, you’ll probably find yourself alone at Sullivan Falls. The only bad thing about this waterfall is that you have to make your way down (and back up) a steep bank to reach the bottom. For more, see our Guide to Photographing Sullivan Falls.
Also in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, Hickory Run State Park is home to an 18-acre field of boulders that is truly unique. The boulders are up to 25 feet in length, and they present a great opportunity for photographers. For more details see our post Photographing the Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park.
Hawk Falls is also in Hickory Run State Park. There is a small parking lot with a trail that leads to the falls. It’s about a half-mile out to the waterfall, and an easy hike. This is one of the more underrated waterfalls in Pennsylvania, in my opinion. It’s quite picturesque, especially with the small falls in the foreground. See more in our Guide to Photographing Hawk Falls.
Nay Aug Falls is a beautiful urban waterfall in Scranton. It is part of Nay Aug Park, which features this picturesque gorge. There are trails on either side of the gorge that lead to views of the waterfall. For more, see our Guide to Photographing Nay Aug Falls.
Known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge is nearly 50 miles long, up to 1,500 feet deep, and located in central Pennsylvania. You can catch a great view from the top at Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, and from either park you can take a steep hike to the bottom of the gorge for a different view. The Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park leads you past a few waterfalls on the way down into the gorge. You can learn more about the area in our Guide to Photographing the Pine Creek Gorge.
Longwood Gardens is an amazing 1,000+ acre horticulture display garden in Kennett Square, between Lancaster and Philadelphia. There are both outdoor and indoor gardens, fountains, amazing landscaping, a house, and even a tower. Once owned by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens now attracts over 1 million visitors per year. This is a truly amazing place you will take quite some time to explore and photograph all areas. It is a great place to photograph colorful flowers, and the area is quite different from throughout the seasons. Please note that the photography guidelines of Longwood Gardens do not permit commercial use of photos taken at Longwood Gardens. However, photography for your own use is fine, and you will see plenty of photographers there. Longwood Gardens does offer some photography classes and workshops, and some are held after hours which will give you access to the gardens without the crowds.
Located in south central Pennsylvania (Lancaster County), Susquehannock State Park overlooks the Susquehanna River. However, the best views are in areas separated from the main park area. Pinnacle Overlook provides an amazing view of the Susquehanna River from the east side (same side as the main part of the park). The overlook is easy to get to and with just a short walk from the parking lot you will be able to photograph the river from 380 feet above. The Urey Overlook is actually located in York County on the west side of the river and a little further north. To reach Urey overlook requires a short, easy hike that takes about 5 minutes from the parking lot.
Just a few miles from Pinnacle Overlook you will find the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. It is home to an excellent loop trail that leads along a creek and down to the Susquehanna River. There are a few small waterfalls and many cascades along the creek. See more in our Guide to Photographing Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve.
On the opposite side of the Susquehanna River, in York County, is Mill Creek Falls. Just a very short hike on the Mason-Dixon Trail will lead you to this beautiful waterfall. It’s not the biggest or most powerful, but it’s quite pretty. See more in our Guide to Photographing Mill Creek Falls.
Gettysburg is well-known for being the location of one of the most influential battles of the Civil War, but it is also a great place for photographers. The battlefield is a National Military Park and is it surrounded by scenic farms. The park includes a lot of monuments and canons that can be included in your photos, or simple focus on the landscape itself. For more see our detailed Guide to Photographing the Battlefield at Gettysburg, PA.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is just a short drive from Gettysburg. The best place to photograph here is from the top of Pole Steeple. The Pole Steeple trails starts near a lake in the park and leads a short distance to a nice view of the surrounding area. It’s a steep trail, but not too bad. You can see more in our Guide to Photographing Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Cherry Springs State Park is known as one of the best locations in the United States for photographing the night sky. It is popular with astronomers and photographers. Located in northern Pennsylvania (Potter County), the park is far from any major city, which minimizes light pollution and creates a very dark sky.
→ Related reading: How to Photograph the Night Sky
In northern Pennsylvania Worlds End State Park provides photographers with an outstanding mountain view from the Canyon Vista. The park includes the Loyalsock Creek, Loyalsock Forest, some waterfalls, and several miles of hiking trails. The Canyon Vista Trail is a 4 mile loop that will provide the best views, or you can simply drive to Canyon Vista. The 1.2 mile loop of the Double Run Nature Trail will lead you to some waterfalls. For more, see our Guide to Photographing Worlds End State Park.
Dry Run Falls is a great roadside waterfall not far from Worlds End State Park. The waterfall is within the Loyalsock State Forest, and a gravel road leads right past it. There is a parking area and a picnic table. If you’re heading to Worlds End State Park I definitely recommend extending the trip here as well. See more in our Guide to Photographing Dry Run Falls.
The Marion Brooks Natural Area is a 900+ acre area in north central Pennsylvania that features beautiful white birch trees. For more see our Guide to Photographing the Marion Brooks Natural Area.
Hyner View State Park in northern Pennsylvania provides an excellent view of the Susquehanna River. The viewing area is also a popular spot for hang gliding.
In eastern Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain is an excellent location for photographing birds, but it also provides amazing views for landscape photographers.
The old growth forest of Cook Forest State Park in northwestern Pennsylvania is filled with trails and plenty of photographic opportunities. The Clarion River also runs through the park.
Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohiopyle State Park is known as one of the best places for whitewater rafting in the eastern U.S. The boulder-filled waters of the Youghiogheny River are a great subject for photographers, and the park also includes plenty of other things worth photographing, including waterfalls.
Kinzua Bridge State Park is home to a destroyed locomotive bridge that is still partially intact. After being used for more than 100 years it was destroyed by a tornado in 2003. Part of the bridge still stands, and other pieces lie in the valley where they fell. You can capture unique landscape photos with an interesting twist here. For more details see Guide to Photographing Kinzua Bridge State Park.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in New York
- The Best Places to Photograph in Ohio
- The Best Places to Photograph in West Virginia
- The Best Places to Photograph in Maryland
- The Best Places to Photograph in New Jersey
- The Best Places to Photograph in Delaware