Best Places to see Fall Foliage in Greater Washington

by McEnearney on October 31, 2018

The Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, USA.


Summer may have lingered longer than usual this year, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the changing colors. Our area is home to a variety of National and State parks where you can experience the red, yellow, and orange fall foliage up close and personal. Also, consider planning a weekend getaway!

The most popular destinations include Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, Elk Neck State Park, and Deep Creek Lake. These getaway experiences could include apple trails, cozy cabins, Civil War history, vineyards, live music, and tasty seafood. Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay, Appalachia—they’ve each got something wonderful to offer.

If you don’t want to go too far, Great Falls is hailed as one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in the Washington metropolitan area. On the Virginia side of the Potomac River, 800-acre Great Falls National Park offers a variety of activities including hiking, picnicking, kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling, and horseback riding. Of course, the main attractions are the 20-foot waterfalls that display the steepest fall line rapids of any eastern river. The Maryland side of the Falls is part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The towpath is billed as “184.5 miles of adventure” from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. It is popular among hikers and cyclists.

Officially authorized in 1890, Rock Creek Park was the third national park designated by the federal government. At 1,754 acres, this park is a refuge from the busy city. Activities range from hiking and horseback riding to concerts, tennis, and boating. You can join a Ranger-led program or explore the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and the historic Pierce Mill.

In Northeast DC, the U.S. National Arboretum offers 446 acres of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. You can tour the gardens on your own by foot, car, or bike. The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum has an annual exhibit to showcase the fall colors of their collection.


For more places to visit this fall, check out these sites:

Best Places to See Fall Colors in Washington, DC
Scenic Fall Drives in Virginia
Take a Maryland Fall Foliage Trip
Best Places to See the Fall Foliage in Montgomery County

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