Virginia’s devastatingly gorgeous foliage is one of the commonwealth’s most spectacular features. With hundreds of hikes to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which will yield the greatest reward. Below, you’ll find five sure-fire paths to help you enjoy the striking fall foliage.
Virginia fall foliage is best experienced in groups, and Roanoke Mountain is an excellent option because it is accessible to nearly everyone. The top of the Roanoke Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia, is a four-mile, easy breezy loop that provides fantastic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Tinker Cliffs, and the Andy Lane Trail specifically. The hike is over 7.5 miles with 2,000 feet in elevation. Part of the Triple Crown (along with McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth, both worthwhile foliage hikes, too), Tinker Cliffs offers wondrous views of the Roanoke Valley at its height.
Take a drive down Skyline Drive to enjoy the golden brown foliage of the Shenandoah Valley before heading into the Shenandoah National Park. Once inside, head straight to Hawksbill Mountain for a rewarding 360-degree view of the valley. Keep in mind that Hawksbill is the highest peak in the park at over 4,000 feet, but the trails vary in steepness from moderate to difficult.
Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia, is home to Molly’s Knob, one of Virginia hikers’ favorite trails. At only 1.6 miles, this narrow and steep trail can be difficult, but reaching the summit at over 3,200 feet offers a stunning view of the park. Make sure to enjoy the 108-acre lake and the 12 miles of additional trails, too.
The Crabtree Falls Trail is one of Virginia’s gems. It is the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall this side of the Mississippi and features five major waterfalls. Hikers can choose between a three-mile trail or sticking to the first overlook, at just a few hundred feet from the parking lot. No matter which you choose, you’ll get an eye full of fall along this trail.