ㅡ Matt Long, Staff Writer ㅡ
Everyone wants to know the best places to go see the seasons change and leaves change color in Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway are ideal for primetime autumn foliage sightseeing, with the views only getting better each year. Peak fall colors typically tend to happen between October and Mid-November, so now’s the time to go see the beautiful leaves. While Virginia boasts many great views of the fall foliage all around the state, these are a few spots in particular that are sure to make anyone’s list.
1. McAfee Knob
Looking for a great panoramic view atop the Appalachian trail? Look no further than McAfee Knob on Catawba Mountain. It’s the most photographed site on the whole trail, and falls just short of a full 360 degree view. It’s hugely popular, so early morning or sunset hiking are optimal for the best experience. Its cliffs make for beautiful photographs and fully capture the surrounding valleys.
2. Roanoke Mountain
The scene from the peak of this mountain grants a wide breadth of fall foliage to admire with plenty of photo opportunities. It’s highly admirable and isn’t hard to get to or enjoy, making the experience more than worth the trip. It’s an easy and perfect short hike for any nature lover or just anyone in particular, with a nice stone patio and wall at the edge—great for anybody looking to get in some last minute senior pictures.
3. Dragon’s Tooth
Catawba and Cove’s Mountain boast many amazing sights, and the 35 foot tall quartz spire at Dragon’s Tooth is easily one to admire and find. This one can be a bit of a hike, at 3.5 miles from the parking lot, but definitely doable. It offers a horizon’s view of the rolling Virginia hills as far as the eye can see, and is the perfect place for anyone looking to book their whole day outdoors.
- Roaring Run
The air is crisp and tangible by the streams of Roaring Run, with orange and red leaves crunching beneath one’s feet. It’s on the National List of Historic Places (that need to be seen in life) and looks as if it were straight out of a movie. The flow of the water is mighty but calm and smooth as it glides over the rocks, it almost feels surreal. For those looking to take a hike without the climb, look no further than Roaring Run at Eagle Rock.
5. Sharp Top Mountain
Here on the Blue Ridge Parkway are the Peaks of Otter, Sharp Top being the far most popular spot. The ascent is steep but not long. At the top there’s a full panoramic view of the nearby ridges, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. On clear days, hikers can see for an untold number of miles. The boulders and smooth stones at the peak make for a fun little climbing experience or a nice relaxing picnic—with the added bonus of an incredible view.