Come September, red maples, golden oaks, and bronze beech leaves turn Virginia’s mountains into a fiery tableau of color. While you can enjoy the show from hundreds of hikes throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains (and even closer to home), these four represent some of the best options for every level of hiker.
EASIEST: Turk Mountain, Shenandoah National Park
2.5 miles, 450 feet of elevation gain
Turk Mountain’s wide summit rolls out views across the colorful Shenandoah Valley and the distant Allegheny mountains alike. To get here, start at the Turk Mountain Parking Area along Skyline Drive, at the southern end of the national park. Cross the road to pick up the Appalachian Trail going west, then turn right at the fork to gain the Turk Mountain Trail. This will take you to the summit, but don’t rush it: The canopy of red and yellow hardwoods along the trail are part of the draw. At the top, stop to admire the expansive views before retracing your steps back to your car. (Map here.)