back to articles | August 31, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

The 10 Most Scenic Fall Drives in Virginia

Virginia promises one of the best gateways for a fall road trip. During autumn, the state's oak, maple, poplar, hickory, dogwood, and beech trees explode in hues of orange, red, yellow, gold, scarlet, and brown colors.


When you pair the chromatic scenery with a road trip, you will have one of the most memorable experiences. Note that fall in Virginia starts in October and ends in November, which ensures you have plenty of time for scenic drives. Here are the top scenic fall drives you can consider taking during your vacation in Virginia.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredibly popular and favorite scenic drive among most tourists in Virginia. This route stretches for more than 450 miles and provides fabulous national park scenery, from panoramic mountain views to historic tunnels. It also joins the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Shenandoah National Park.

When you add in the spectacular fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will experience a memorable treat. The best thing is that you will have several opportunities to make stops and take a hike, camp, or stroll through the many trails available. This route will ensure you enjoy a relaxed and slow-paced drive as you relish the stunning close-up and long-range views of pastoral landscapes and rugged mountains.

2. Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

The best time to enjoy the changing fall colors along Skyline Drive is from October to November. This location is incredibly popular for its vibrant fall foliage. The Skyline Drive stretches for about 105 miles and promises an easy, tranquil drive.

Note that since you will need to transverse through the Shenandoah National Park, you must pay $30 per vehicle as an entrance fee. Completing a one-way trip can take about three to four hours. The Skyline Drive presents one of the best choices for fall driving and boasts endless rolling hills, a sweeping mountain range, and picturesque mountain switchbacks.

This national park is open 24/7; thus, you can enjoy your road trip anytime. Also, note that there is a 35mph speed limit along this drive. The speed limit ensures you can have a calming driving experience from start to finish. Apart from sightseeing, you can go canoeing or kayaking at the Shenandoah River.

3. The George Washington Parkway

This iconic road stretches from Great Falls Park to Mount Vernon. Along this route, you will see the magnificent sights of the majestic Potomac River, the DC Skyline, and the spectacular fall colors. Be prepared for one of the best road trips ever in Virginia.

You can start this scenic drive from George Washington's Mount Vernon or Capital Beltway. The George Washington Parkway will take you to some of the best destinations, including forests, monuments, and historic forts. You can also make stops at the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve and the United States Marine Corps War Memorial.

4. Potomac Heritage Trail

The Potomac Heritage Trail follows the Potomac River. It is an incredible route to see the fall colors and other spectacular natural scenery. Along this trail, you can see the breathtaking fall foliage along the Allegheny Highlands.

You can also make stops at Turkey Run Park, Gulf Branch Nature, and the Potomac Overlook Regional Park. The best thing about the Potomac Heritage Trail is that there are several outdoor activities you can participate in. These activities may include wildlife viewing, history learning, and enjoying views of the natural landscape.

5. Clifton Road

Clifton Road is perfect for a sweet, short drive through a panoramic environment. You can access this road from Route 123 in the south or at the intersection of Braddock Road in the north.

This road will take you through the charming town of Clifton, which in 1985 was labelled as a National Historic District. This town of Clifton boasts winding roads and horse fields that allow you to experience the beautiful fall colors in the most memorable way.

6. Colonial National Parkway

The best time to enjoy the fall foliage along Colonial National Parkway is October to November. This parkway stretches for 23 miles and will take you through Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

The construction of this parkway took place in the 1940s and boasts one of Virginia's most pristine natural environments. As you drive through the Colonial National Parkway, you will enjoy sights of wildlife, historical objects, and magnificent fall colors.

There are also several amazing bridges you can drive under, plus a unique 1,190-foot tunnel. This drive will offer you the perfect chance for reflection and contemplation during the cool fall season.

7. Alexandria Heritage Trail

Alexandria Heritage Trail boasts over 100 notable trees, which present a stunning sight of the fall foliage. In addition to leaf peeping, you can enjoy historic buildings and streets along the trail. The best time to relish the fall season along Alexandria Heritage Trail is mid-October, as it is the time when the leaves start changing color in this part of Virginia.

8. Mount Rogers Scenic Byway

Mount Rogers Scenic Byway stretches for 65 miles and boasts fewer crowds. The availability of fewer crowds means there will be fewer cars. Hence, you can enjoy a quiet drive as you relish the fall scenery. You can start your road trip from either Abingdon or Marion.

In addition, this scenic byway boasts winding roads that will take you to the highest point in Virginia and offer you several opportunities for fishing, horseback riding, camping, and picnicking. You will also get to see some of the oldest mountains in the United States on this byway.

9. The Crooked Road

The Crooked Road is a must-visit scenic fall drive. This scenic drive will take you through 300 miles of the most picturesque landscape on the southern side of Virginia. The road winds through valleys and mountains, allowing you to experience the scenic fall in a unique and amazing way.

In addition, the Crooked Road will ensure that you enjoy the American music roots as it boasts a rich history of country music. This route still harbors a hotbed of old-time music. There are several cultural centers, museums, and live music venues along this trail that you can enjoy.

10. George Washington National Forest's Route 33

Driving through a national forest presents one of the perfect opportunities to enjoy the scenic fall colors and feel the crunch of the fall leaves on the ground. The vibrant fall colors carpet the George Washington National Forest, making it one of the most memorable sights.

Route 33 in the George Washington National Forest is a perfect choice for beautiful fall scenery viewing. It has well-maintained roads and several backroads that offer amazing views. You can stroll along the sparkling streams and enjoy incredible views of the fluttering leaves.

Final thoughts

Virginia is an incredible place to be for scenic fall drives. As you can see, it boasts several magnificent routes for fall foliage viewing. Furthermore, these locations bustle with lush trees and beautiful attractions, ensuring you can have the best time possible during your fall vacation.

Traveling in your own car is the best way to get around Virginia. While interstate highways link all the major cities and most towns, the main advantage of driving your car is that you can explore on your own and drive through Virginia's scenic drives.

Are you in the market for a car for your trip to Virginia? Use an auto loan to secure a new or used vehicle.