Keystone State Park Nominated for USA Today’s 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Destination for Fall Foliage

LIGONIER, Pa. (Aug. 7, 2023) – Residents of the Laurel Highlands have long known about the scenic beauty of Keystone State Park, and now the 1,200-acre Westmoreland County oasis is drawing national attention.

A panel of experts and USA Today’s 10Best editors announced Monday that Keystone State Park in Derry has been recognized as a nominee for the Readers’ Choice Awards for the Best Destination for Fall Foliage.

Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region has been a top-10 destination in each of the past three years, but this year’s awards aim to highlight a specific location, putting Keystone – which is popular for its 78-acre lake – in the well-deserved spotlight.

“Keystone State Park is one of the most photographed spots in our region,” said Ann Nemanic, executive director of GO Laurel Highlands. “The lake setting coupled with spectacular sunsets are the perfect combination in a photographer’s lens. The peaceful setting is enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike, especially when the leaves reach their peak performance colors in mid-October.”

Individuals have a chance to support Keystone State Park – one of 20 locations selected for the 2023 Best Destination for Fall Foliage award – by voting daily through Sept. 4 at

“Pennsylvania has some of the most beautiful, diverse fall foliage in the country, and I am extremely honored that Keystone State Park has been selected as one of the top destinations for fall foliage,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “I thank USA TODAY for this special honor and I encourage those looking to visit the Laurel Highlands to check out Keystone to see the splendor and majesty of the trees as they change colors this fall.”

The land for Keystone State Park was purchased in 1945 from the Keystone Coal and Coke Company, which built the Keystone Dam in 1909, creating the lake that now supports kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and boats with electric motors. Anglers regularly pull catfish, panfish and muskellunge from its waters. Keystone Beach is a popular destination for swimmers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Eight miles of hiking trails – including the two-mile Lakeside Loop, an ADA-accessible flat path around the lake – are found within the park. A wide range of plant and animal life call Keystone home, making it a popular spot for wildlife watching. Picnic and pavilion facilities are available.

Keystone State Park features about 100 tent and trailer sites available from the first Friday in April to the third Sunday of October. The park also includes 11 modern cabins, three camping cottages and two yurts. provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. Its staff is made up of a collection of local travel experts that specialize in the region or city they write about.

As home to thousands of acres of unspoiled state forests, parks, and gamelands, the Laurel Highlands is the ideal destination for an autumn getaway for visitors. The mountain ridges and river valleys provide a dramatic landscape for the diverse population of trees that offer their own signature color each fall. Eager leaf peepers are always anxious to take their first fall hike or drive of the season and curious to know when the leaves will start changing. While Mother Nature is not always predictable, fall foliage begins to shine in mid-September with the brightest bursts of color ablaze in mid-October.

Paired with the natural beauty of the fall foliage, the Laurel Highlands’ charming small towns, covered bridges, and iconic attractions such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and the Flight 93 National Memorial are also must-see stops on a leaf-peeping getaway.

About Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands A magnificent mountainous region, the Laurel Highlands is an outdoors lover’s paradise that spans 3,000 square miles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Located just an hour east of Pittsburgh, the beautiful four-season destination offers spectacular natural scenery, outstanding skiing, hiking, biking and golfing opportunities, historic sites and attractions, family activities and world-class resorts. Notable destinations within the region include four architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater®, Kentuck Knob, Mäntylä and Duncan House – as well as Nemacolin, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting in Ohiopyle State Park and much more.

Located within 200 miles of the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Washington D.C., Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands can be easily accessed from exits 67, 75, 91 and 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Visitors to the Laurel Highlands can find information online at Established in 1958, GO Laurel Highlands, formerly known as Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, is the official destination marketing organization for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.