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15 Virginia Parks Where You Can Catch the Best Fall Foliage

·4 min read

Hop the Blue Ridge Parkway and take it north to find great fall foliage in Virginia. Parks across the commonwealth offer up vibrant foliage that blankets the mountains and valleys with the colors of autumn, and it happens sooner than many spots located farther south, which means you can start planning your road trip now. Winding scenic roads will take you to wilderness areas and state parks filled with deep forests of deciduous trees and campgrounds too—all perfect places for leaf peeping. Set your sights on Virginia's parks, and you'll also be charting a course to the area's mountain towns, rivers, and vistas as well. Sections of the Appalachian Trail also run through, offering unparalleled access to the most dramatic fall sights. Explore the most picturesque autumn places in the Old Dominion state this season, and you'll be glad you did.

1. Algonkian Regional Park

Sterling, Virginia
Find 838 acres of hiking trails, fields, and wooded areas in Algonkian Regional Park, which is located along the Potomac River.
Plan your trip.

2. Bear Creek Lake State Park

Cumberland, Virginia
This 326-acre state park has plenty of room to roam along with camping facilities near a scenic lake in the Cumberland State Forest west of Richmond.
Plan your trip.

3. Breaks Interstate Park

Breaks, Virginia
A state park located on the Kentucky-Virginia border, Breaks Interstate Park has campgrounds, picnic areas, lakefront log cabins, and scenic views overlooking the Russell Fork River.
Plan your trip.

4. Channels State Forest

Saltville, Virginia
This 4,836-acre state forest includes the Channels Natural Area Preserve, which includes canyons formed in 400-million-year-old sandstone.
Plan your trip.

Autumn
Autumn

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

5. Claytor Lake State Park

Radford, Virginia
Enjoy a day on the water at this 4,500-acre Virginia lake, and be sure to take in the scenic shoreline with its seasonal hues too.
Plan your trip.

6. George Washington National Forest

Roanoke, Virginia
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests comprise 1.8 million acres across several states, one of the largest stretches of public land in the region. Visit the section in Virginia to see some of the most striking foliage on the East coast.
Plan your trip.

7. Grayson Highlands State Park

Mouth of Wilson, Virginia
Stunning vistas along the park's hiking trails are par for the course in Grayson Highlands, which makes anyone who visits year-round, but especially in fall, a fortunate traveler indeed.
Plan your trip.

8. Great Falls Park

McLean, Virginia
If you like your foliage with a side of whitewater recreation, set your sights on Great Falls Park, which finds the shoreline of the Potomac River turning red and gold during the season.
Plan your trip.

Shenandoah
Shenandoah

Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images

9. Hidden Valley Lake

Abingdon, Virginia
Fish with a view at Hidden Valley Lake, a mountain lake in Washington County that borders a thick forest to the south. (Be sure to obtain necessary permits before visiting.)
Plan your trip.

10. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Marion, Virginia
This recreation area is located in southwestern Virginia near the Tennessee and North Carolina borders. It includes the Lewis Fork Wilderness area and Mount Rogers, Virginia's highest point.
Plan your trip.

11. Natural Bridge State Park

Natural Bridge, Virginia
The centerpiece of this state park is a 215-foot-tall limestone gorge eroded into a natural bridge by Cedar Creek, which flows below. There are also hiking trails, waterfalls, and vibrant fall foliage throughout the park.
Plan your trip.

12. Seven Bends State Park

Woodstock, Virginia
A few miles from historic Woodstock, find Seven Bends State Park, which offers access to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and places to enjoy a picnic, launch a boat, or set out on a hike along 8 miles of trails.
Plan your trip.

Hazel Mountain
Hazel Mountain

Dennis Govoni/Getty Images

13. Shenandoah National Park

Luray, Virginia
You can enter Shenandoah National Park from many places, but the best way to see it is by meandering along Skyline Drive and taking in the vistas along the way. Make a stop at Hazel Mountain Overlook near Luray to see the changing leaves.
Plan your trip.

14. Shenandoah River State Park

Bentonville, Virginia
This 1,600-acre park lies along the shore of the Shenandoah River and has scenic views of the area including Massanutten Mountain and Shenandoah National Park.
Plan your trip.

15. Sky Meadows State Park

Delaplane, Virginia
This 1,860-acre state park has panoramic views and woodlands, and it offers access to the Appalachian Trail. It's a popular spot for hiking, fishing, camping, and biking. Bring a packed lunch to make a day of it, and settle in for a leisurely picnic among the area's changing leaves.
Plan your trip.

Which of Virginia's parks have you visited? Where are your sights set for your next autumn road trip?