Discover the Coldest Place in Pennsylvania

Written by Emilio Brown
Updated: February 17, 2023
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Key Points

  • Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State.
  • The average temperature low year-round in Pennsylvania is 35.1 degrees °F.
  • The coldest place in Pennsylvania is located in the Appalachian region in the northern portion of the state.

Pennsylvania is located in the far east of the United States and is one of the many regions that reach freezing temperatures in the winter. North America has a continental climate, which means the winters are generally dry and cold. Pennsylvania is filled with flatlands, and mountain regions that get extremely cold and touched with snow. Across the state, the temperatures plummet significantly, and in this article, you will discover the coldest place in Pennsylvania. 

The Keystone State is one of the coldest places in America. The country’s winter is the time of arctic winds, heavy snowfall, and low temperatures. A region’s latitude, altitude, and surrounding landscape are a few of the factors that contribute to how cold an area gets. Let’s take a look at the coldest place in Pennsylvania, including some interesting things to know about this area. 

Coldest Place in Pennsylvania

The coldest place in Pennsylvania is Smethport.

© Michael Jones

The borough of Smethport is considered the coldest place in Pennsylvania, and the town holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state at -42 degrees Fahrenheit. This record-breaking weather recorded in the town occurred on January 5, 1904.

While summers in the city are comfortable, winters in the area are harsh. Smethport’s cold season lasts from December until March, with January being the coldest month. The annual average low in the city is 34 degrees and around 51 inches of snowfall yearly.

Regular temperatures in Smethport, Pennsylvania frequently range from 16°F to 78°F. Smethport also has a record tied with Lawrenceville for the lowest temperature recorded in February within the state at −39 °F. With climate shifting and temperatures getting colder new records are bound to be set.

The average temperature low year-round in Pennsylvania is 35.1 degrees °F. The southeastern corner of Pennsylvania is the warmest in the state, and the more mountainous regions are where temperatures can drop greatly. 

Pennsylvania Winter
On January 5, 1904, the state of Pennsylvania experienced a record-breaking cold snap, with the town of Smethport reaching an unprecedented low temperature of -42°F (-41°C).

©Andrew Hearn/

Where Is Smethport Located?

The coldest place in Pennsylvania is located in the Appalachian region in the northern portion of the state. Smethport has a total area of 1.7 square miles and sits at a high altitude of around 1,488 feet above sea level. This town is located near Prospect Hill, which is the highest point in Mckean County. 

Known for being the coldest place in Pennsylvania, Smethport holds deep history and is also worth a visit because of the surrounding scenery. The small cold town is located deep in the Pennsylvania Wilds and near many different natural attractions. 

History of the Coldest Place in Pennsylvania

Smethport’s history goes all the way back to 1807 when the town was first founded by Dutch land investors. The town’s name originates from the Dutch banking family the De Smeths, who financed the land the town was on. 1826 is when Smethport became the Meakan County Seat, and by 1853 it was officially incorporated as a Borough. 

The small town has had many important roles throughout history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Smethport was an important city for the timber industry and helped fuel the economic boom of the construction mansion industry at the time. It is also home to the creation of the first magnet toy, the Wooly Willy. Smethport is also where America’s first Christmas store opened up in the year 1935.

When it was first founded, Smethport was only home to a few people. Today the population is estimated to be around 1,430, and the town has a population density of 1,009 people per square mile.

Things To Do in Smethport

The town of Smethport is near one of the most scenic drives in Pennsylvania route 6, and if passing through, there are a few things you may want to see. In the town, you can visit the Old Jail Museum or the nearby nature trails. The coldest city in Pennsylvania has a large park and nearby creeks. 

Smethport is only a short distance away from natural wonders like the Allegheny National Forest, and Kinzua Bridge State Park. The area is known for its severe cold, but Pennsylvania has other regions that also become freezing. 

Wildlife in Pennsylvania

close up of an eastern chipmunk
Chipmunks hibernate during winter.


The cold winter in Pennsylvania is the time that many animals hibernate. It is common for mammals like chipmunks, bats, frogs, and snakes to become inactive. Animals like the woodchuck slow their heart rate and breathing, and their temperature drops right above freezing. Some species may become active on warmer winter days to search for food.

Winter in Pennsylvania is also the breeding season for a variety of animals like beavers, ravens, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and otters. As the temperatures begin to cool in the spring, the resting animals begin to emerge, and so do their young. Since Pennsylvania can get so cold, many of the animals are not as active and are rarely seen when temperatures get extremely low. 

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While it is the largest city in the state, Philadelphia is not the coldest.
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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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