Your Guide to The Blue Ridge Mountains

With the combination of leaves falling and the fall foliage season in bloom, the Blue Ridge Mountains stand tall and more beautiful than ever. Here’s your guide to taking on the Blue Ridge Mountains this autumn. 

Photo by Brett Raeburn NPS

Whether hiking one of the many trails or taking a relaxing day off, the Blue Ridge Mountains have a plethora of options for the Virginia adventurer.

Photo by Neal Lewis NPS

For the more active adventurer, these destinations are just the ticket. Kick off with Shenandoah National Park and New River State Park. With more than 500 miles of hiking trails, Shenandoah Park also includes the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most prominent feature, Skyline Drive. If you would rather hike, canoe, fish, or go tubing, enjoy the beautiful views of what is believed to be the oldest river in North America at New River National Park. 

Hikers gear up for fun with copious amounts of easy, moderate, and strenuous hiking trails scattered throughout the mountains. Rocky Knob Picnic Loop Trail is a great choice for the beginner, stretching only 1.3 miles with easy difficulty. If you prefer a more moderate difficulty, stretching 5 miles long, White Rock Gap Trail may be the best option for you. Finally for the avid hiker, Humpback Mountain Trail, which is one of the most popular hikes, extends a strenuous 7.5 miles. On this short but steep hike, you can explore 1890s farm buildings that were relocated in construction while also getting a beautiful view from the top of the rocks. Plus, these overlooks are the perfect treat for the end of your hiking excursion. Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook, with an elevation of 2148 feet, Ravens Roost Overlook with an elevation of 3200 feet, and lastly Three Ridges Overlook with an elevation of 2800 feet are all great choices of places to take in the alluring scenery. 

Photo by Neal Lewis NPS

Rounding out the more active outings, the Blue Ridge waterfalls offer priceless views. Stop by Crabtree Falls for a series of small and large waterfalls that range in location from just a few feet from the parking lot to 3 miles up the trail. Another waterfall option is Fallingwater Cascades, which is 100 feet with two drops that wind down into an outcropping. 

Although the Blue Ridge Mountains are filled with hiking trails and a lot of active opportunities, relaxing activities abound as well. The mountains have an excess of campgrounds that provide more than just a place to set up for the night. Along with beautiful waterfalls, Crabtree Falls has first-come, first-serve camping sites, 70 tent sites, 22 RV sites, 4 wheelchair-accessible sites, and ample hiking. Open through the month of November, Peaks of Otter sits at the bottom of the peaks and features dining, a gift shop, and comfortable rooms. Its restaurant is located in the Peaks of Otter Lodge, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily. Another dining option along the Blue Ridge is Mabry Mill, a staple in Virginia that serves breakfast all day long, including its signature pancakes, and also offers lunch and dinner entrées.

Mabry Mill

Photo courtesy of Mabry Mill

One final attraction to visit is Roanoke Mountain

Home to the most beautiful scenery on the East Coast, the Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect place to spend your free time this fall. 

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