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The Stunning Big Mountain Overlook, Tower Road Vista, Fort Loudon, PA

Today we take a look at the stunning Big Mountain Overlook, just off of the historic Lincoln Highway, on the edge of Franklin and Fulton Counties in Buchanan State Forest. This is easily one of the finest overlooks in the state. Perched on the ridge of Tuscarora Mountain around its summit, you get breathtaking views of the surrounding ridges both to the east, and western views as you head up to the overlook. As with many overlooks in the state, a worn away rock outcropping is the perch for the overlook at an elevation of 2458 feet. The lowest points in Path Valley are around 700 feet in elevation, giving views of roughly 1700 feet down into the valley, making this one of the biggest, if not the biggest, elevation differences between a summit overlook and the valley below within the state. On clear days, you can see about 100 miles out to Maryland, West Virginia, and Northern Virginia since this is gives a view beyond the end of the next ridges. 

The 252 mile long Tuscarora Trail, a spur route off of the Appalachian Trail, goes along the ridge. Just north of the overlook, you can get access to Cowans Gap State Park, home to a beautiful mountain lake, beach, and more scenic overlooks.  
Basically the entire road heading up to the overlook is filled with stunning westward scenic views. I was thinking that this was the scenic overlook as we went down the road. The views are pretty awesome.
Note the multiple ridges out in the distance. 
The road leads up to a loop. At this point you park and then walk about 100 feet to the main overlook.
CeCe was all excited by the snow!
My first glimpse of the overlook immediately blew me away. It is easily one of the finest scenic overlooks in the state, and frankly one of the coolest that I have ever seen. This is up there with Hyner View, High Knob near Worlds End, Canyon Vista at Worlds End, and the views at the PA Grand Canyon. The day that we visited was the start of a warming trend after days of freezing temperatures. This lent itself to neat foggy views down in the valley, with pretty clouds in the sky and great brightness coming off of the remaining snow. It was an incredible sight.
Views to the northeast show Path Valley, the giant valley between the mountain and the next ridge.
Note the rugged topography of the area thanks to this view from Google Earth.
The views to the Southeast show an abrupt drop in the next mountain, Hogback Mountain, and the valley between that ridge and the next few ridges. The valley was still filled with frosty fog.
I love the contrast between the white snow and the trees in the winter. It adds so much to scenic views like this. 
The rugged notches in the adjacent mountains are just incredible.
On the clearest days, you are able to see roughly a hundred miles to Maryland, West Virginia, and Northern Virginia, since no ranges are immediately visible from this direction after Hogback Mountain. This sightline is one of the longest, if not the longest, within the state. The view is absolutely breathtaking. 
Kittatiny and Little Mountains are visible behind Hogback Mountain. Cococheague Creek drains Path Valley and leads to the Potomac River.
CeCe absolutely loved the view!
Note the icy fog hanging out in the valley. It was just beautiful.
Big Mountain Overlook really blew us away. We highly recommend checking it out. For more awesome scenic overlooks, check out our list of many of the state's awesome scenic overlooks.  

The drive to the overlook is really easy. Turn onto Aughwick Road on Route 30/Lincoln Highway at the Mountain House Inn. Follow Aughwick Road and then bear right onto Tower Road. It is about 2.8 miles from the Mountain House Inn. The state forest roads can be a little dicey in the winter weather, so take care as you drive. You may have to pull over and walk the rest of the way if it gets too treacherous. 


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  1. Thanks for highlighting this beautiful overlook! We went there in the fall, my younger boys were blown away at the beauty!

  2. How bumpy is Tower Road?


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