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.
Delaware Water Gap
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.
→ See our guide 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.
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.
→ See our Guide to Photographing Bushkill Falls
Rickett’s Glen State Park
In northeastern Pennsylvania Rickett’s 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.
Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park
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.
Pine Creek Gorge
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.
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.
Susquehannock State Park
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.
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.
→ See our detailed Guide to Photographing the Battlefield at Gettysburg, PA for many more details.
Cherry Springs 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
Worlds End State Park
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. The 1.2 mile loop of the Double Run Nature Trail will lead you to some waterfalls.
Marion Brooks Natural Area
The Marion Brooks Natural Area is a 900+ acre area in north central Pennsylvania that features beautiful white birch trees.
→ For detailed information about this location please see our Guide to Photographing the Marion Brooks Natural Area.
Hyner View State Park
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.
Cook Forest State Park
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.
Ohiopyle State 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
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.
Located in northern Pennsylvania, very close to the New York line, is the Starrucca Viaduct. The seventeen-arch viaduct was built in 1848 and is one of the oldest railroad bridges still in use in the United States. It is a beautiful structure that can be photographed from the valley below.
The Austin Dam in Potter County was originally built in 1909 and failed just two years later, destroying much of the town of Austin. The dam was rebuilt but failed again in 1942. Today there are five upright sections and several fallen sections in the Freeman Run Valley.
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