When the wind carries its piney winter warning through the Blue Ridge Mountains, we prepare for the spectacular Shenandoah fall foliage. A colorful display of gold and red unveils itself as the beautiful landscape transforms.
At Front Royal Outdoors, we believe it’s important to share our nearby treasures. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to visit and things to do during fall foliage in Shenandoah National Park. If you are planning a trip, set aside some time for these experiences!
Want to beat the crowds around Shenandoah? Some of our favorite hikes during fall are in Shenandoah River State Park. While the trails on the mountain are sometimes very crowded this time of the year, the State Park can be much less crowded, especially on weekdays.
Shenandoah River State Park boasts a trail system of nearly 30 miles! With various levels of difficulty, there are trails ranging from an easy stroll along the river to a heart-pumping climb up the bluff to a wonderful vista of the river valley.
Another fall foliage favorite area is in the George Washington National Forest. The national forest is loaded with hiking opportunities and with such a vast area it is also not as crowded as some other popular hiking destinations near Shenandoah.
A trip down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is always a favorite fall drive! With the many scenic overlooks, picnic areas, hiking trails, and visitor centers, there is something for everyone. When visiting the park don’t forget to hike up to Big Stoney Man peak, the highest peak along Skyline Drive and an easy hike from the Skyland Lodge area of the park.
While enjoying your drive along skyline drive make sure to stop and spend some time at the Range View Overlook. This overlook uniquely features great views of both the sunrise and the sunset – really cool stuff!
Beware that the traffic can get really crazy on the mountain on the weekend’s during peak foliage time. If you want to experience Shenandoah’s beautiful colors away from the hustle and bustle of the park, we recommend spending a day paddling the Shenandoah River!
Kayaking, rafting, and canoeing the Shenandoah River make for the perfect scenic escape during fall. Vibrant colors of red and yellow reflect off the water as visitors enjoy a relaxing paddle. Sounds good right?
Here’s what you’ll do: Wake up early, pack a snack, a picnic lunch, and hit the road heading to Shenandoah National Park/Skyline Drive northern entrance in Front Royal.
Try to enter the Park by 8 AM heading south along Skyline Drive. There will be little to no traffic at that time of the day. Make your way south enjoying the overlooks as you go, but keep an eye on the time. Exit the mountain at Swift Run Gap onto US Rt. 33 west to Elkton. Then take US Rt. 340 north toward Front Royal Outdoors.
Once you reach Front Royal Outdoors you’ll hit the river for a canoe, kayak or raft trip of your choice all the while viewing the fall foliage from a different vantage point. This is a wonderful way to experience the scenic views from both mountain and valley while avoiding the traffic jams… you just can’t beat that!
Front Royal has many great places to stay and to eat after you have spent the day exploring our mountains and the valley. Main Street has the Front Royal Brewing Co, PaveMint Smokin’ Tap House, Vinova Tapas & Wine Bar. For the area’s best burger be sure to visit Spelunker’s and the best pizza you can’t go wrong with the Melting Pot Pizza.