When Is the Best Time to Visit Shenandoah National Park for Fall Colors?

Virginia is a magical, outdoor oasis unlike any other. Do you consider yourself a fall foliage fanatic? If so, you must visit the Shenandoah National Park. During autumn, the park comes alive with colorful trees, auburn sunsets, and golden rolling hills. If you’re wondering about the best time to visit Shenandoah National Park for fall colors, keep reading. 

For additional outdoor activities, as well as other attractions throughout Shenandoah Valley, refer to our complimentary Four-Day Itinerary. It’s full of hand-picked things to see and do throughout the area. 

Get the Free Itinerary 

The Best Time to Visit Shenandoah National Park for Fall Colors

If you have never experienced fall foliage in Shenandoah National Park, you must add it to your bucket list. Red, orange, and yellow leaves adorn the trees and will dazzle your eyes. When you visit during the autumn months of September, October, and November, you’ll experience unbelievable sights.

However, the best time to visit Shenandoah National Park for fall colors is in October. During the first week of October, the leaves are beginning to change at the highest elevations. Throughout the last three weeks of the month, the fall color display reaches its peak at mid- to low-elevation.

The Ultimate Ways to Experience Fall Foliage in the Park

Take a Scenic Drive Along Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive is an iconic road that runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park. It’s the only public road in the park and takes about three hours to travel the entire length on a light traffic day. Along the ride, stop at one of the 70 overlooks (yes—70!) that offer mindblowing views of the fall foliage in the Shenandoah Valley. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, such as deer, black bears, and wild turkeys. 

Enjoy the Best Fall Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

This national park has an overwhelming amount of exciting hikes to explore. It’s best to select a few before embarking on your journey. The hike to Little Stony Man Overlook is only 1 mile round trip and ideal for those looking for a shorter walk. It follows a section of the Appalachian Trail that brings you to an incredible viewpoint. For adventurists seeking a beautiful, but challenging all-day trek, we recommend Old Rag Trail. This 9.2-mile hike features narrow rock corridors, unique stone formations, and outstanding vistas. 

Dine With a View  

There are several impressive dining options in the park. Some restaurants even offer panoramic views of the Shenandoah fall colors. The first being Skyland Resort. Their full-service dining room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the Mountain Taproom at the resort features a light fare menu and nightly entertainment. Your second option, Big Meadows Lodge, also features a dining room that serves all three meals with a panoramic view. Both of these eateries also provide “grab n’ go options” so you can take their delicious food along on a fall picnic. 

Fall Asleep at the Lovely Blackburn Inn 

Autumn in Staunton, VA, is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Stay at The Blackburn Inn, and you’ll be within short driving distance to Shenandoah National Park so you can explore the exquisite fall colors. Exterior of The Blackburn Inn

Our serene property sits on 80 acres of picturesque grounds, so you can continue to soak in gorgeous fall scenery when you return from your trip to the park. Also, our inn is just a few minutes away from downtown Staunton, which is charming as ever during autumn. Be sure to stop in one of the local wineries to sip on their seasonal selections. 

When you stay at The Blackburn Inn, you’ll fall in love with our pristine guest rooms and amenities. Our lodging merges modern and historic expressions with elegant touches, such as barn-style doors in oversized bathrooms and intricate architectural features. Our functional and full-service hotel amenities include concierge services, a 24-hour fitness room, and on-site dining. We create a home away from home where you can truly relax, rejuvenate, and rest. Check the availability of our accommodations and start planning your visit to the Shenandoah Valley today. We can’t wait to host you! 

Fall in Love With Staunton