Experts pick the best places to see fall foliage in Southwestern Pa.

PITTSBURGH — Local foresters, outdoors enthusiasts, biologists and motorcycle riders all have their favorite places to see the fall panorama of leaves.

Mountains, hillsides and river valleys are among the best places to view the fall leaf spectacle not just because of the volume of trees, but the variety, according to our partners at

“The diversity of the landscape creates many different types of soil, chemistry and moisture content that provide the richness of different species of trees here,” said Charles Bier, a Buffalo Township resident and senior director of conservation science at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

There are 134 species of trees in the state and many more shrubs and vines that contribute to the display of autumn color, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

As fall progresses, various tree species change color and mix it up in the landscape, Bier said.

“Sugar maples are found in rich moist valleys, the aspens will turn yellow in younger forests that were once farmland,” Bier said. “The oaks will often change last and hold leaves longer, giving us browns and reds when other trees have dropped their leaves.”

Bands of yellow halfway up a mountain as seen while driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike will likely be tulip trees, Bier said.