This Train Through Central Pennsylvania Is the Best Way to See Fall Foliage

How to plan a trip to ride the East Broad Top Railroad this fall.

The East Broad Top Railroad going through fall foliage

Matthew Malkiewicz/Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad

Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, is a borough that might go unnoticed by travelers; In Huntingdon County, the neighborhood in central Pennsylvania is home to fewer than 400 residents and is quiet for most of the year. In the fall, however, tourists flood in, because Rockhill Furnace is a major destination for both railway history buffs and fall foliage fanatics. 

In 1873, the East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) constructed a railway through the quaint town and built a maintenance facility. However, by 1956, the railway was completely outdated and shut down regular service. That is, until the Kovalchick family, whose work in the railroad industry dates back to 1928, saved the EBT from total demise. 

"Saved from scrapping by the Kovalchick family, the EBT was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1964," the railroad's website explained. "Preserved today by the EBT Foundation, we welcome visitors from around the world to sample this monument to early railroading and our industrial heritage."

Now, the railway takes passengers on a scenic tour through nine miles of pristine rural landscapes, through the forested hills, by lakes, over streams, and through craggy, mountainous areas, making a seat on the railway the place to be for fall foliage season. Here's what you need to know to plan a visit to the East Broad Top Railroad. 

When the East Broad Top Railroad Runs

The East Broad Top Railroad going through fall foliage

Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad

The railroad offers one-hour train rides in either an enclosed or open-air passenger car or in its caboose every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $15 for children. Those looking to dig a little deeper into the railroad's history and mechanics can hop on one of the EBT's in-depth guided tours, too.

How to Get Tickets

A tour of the trains at The East Broad Top Railroad

Matthew Malkiewicz/Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad

Booking tickets in advance is encouraged. Passengers interested in a ride can book their tickets on the EBT website. Simply choose your date, time, and class of service — enclosed coach, open-air carriage, or caboose. Note: While the railway makes efforts to be accessible for all, its historical nature does come with limitations. The railway offers one wheelchair-accessible train car but cannot accommodate powered wheelchairs. See its FAQ section for more information.  

Peak Foliage Season in the Area

Aerial of The East Broad Top Railroad

Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad

According to Visit Central Pennsylvania, fall foliage in the region tends to peak from Oct. 8 to Oct. 14, but please don’t hold them to those dates as fall foliage peak can be a tricky thing to predict down to the minute. Keep an eye on the weather, and plan your trip as close to these dates as possible for your best chance at seeing a spectacular natural color show.

Where to Stay

Come to the area for the train ride, and stay even longer for more fall foliage fun. While there aren’t many accommodation options around Rockhill Furnace, there are a few adorable bed-and-breakfasts and rental spots, including The Iron Rail Bed & Breakfast. This 1885 Victorian-era home was used by the railway until its closure in 1956 and lovingly restored as a B&B in 2007. If you’re bringing your friends and family along, book a stay at this six-bedroom secluded cabin in nearby Blair Mills. With 10 private acres to roam, the home is like your own personal fall foliage destination.

Finally, try to make it out even farther to explore a few of Central Pennsylvania’s fall foliage drives that stretch for hundreds of miles in every direction. Find the one that fits your needs best here

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