Virginia State Parks with fall hiking recommendations

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Outdoors

From Virginia State Parks:

Leaf peepers are always looking for the best place to view the autumn leaves, so whether you’re looking for a scenic road trip, some short hikes to overlooks or waterfalls, or more intensive treks, we’ve got some great ideas at Virginia State Parks.

Here are a few of our favorites you might want to check out.


Experience the fall views from above the lake at Douthat State Park, Va

Experience the fall views from above the lake at Douthat State Park.

If you’re visiting for the day or spending a few nights, you’ll want to hike the Guest Lodge Trail to the Ross Camp Trail, and if you’re an experienced hiker, tack on the Mountain Top Trail at Douthat State Park for a birds-eye view of these spectacular mountains. Above and around the 50-acre lake are more than 43 miles of hiking, mountain biking and bridle trails. Learn more about Douthat’s epic wooded trails.

Paddle the lake for some of the most spectacular scenery. Bring your own or rent one from us (rentals are seasonal).

This park is popular for camping and cabin stays or by calling 800-933-7275 for reservations. Find directions to Douthat.


You won't want to miss the breathtaking Falling Spring Falls near Douthat State Park, Va

You won’t want to miss the breathtaking Falling Spring Falls near Douthat State Park.

If you decide on a road trip to see the fall leaves when you stay at Douthat State Park, you might want to add Falling Spring Falls to your list.

Trip Advisor calls it the number 1 out of 4 Top things to do in Covington, Virginia, and many call it one of the most scenic locations in Virginia. It is a chart-topper for selfies and one of the most photographed spots in the Allegheny Mountains. The breathtaking waterfall has the tallest drop of all the waterfalls in Virginia, as the water tumbles 80 feet from the top to the rocks below. It is located in Allegheny County, just five miles north of Covington, Virginia.

It’s one of Virginia’s most easily accessible waterfalls, as you won’t need to hike for miles over rough terrain to get this spectacular view; you can pull off the road and walk just 100 feet to the overlook. Note: No trespassing is allowed beyond the overlook and is strictly enforced. See directions from Douthat here.

You may also enjoy 4 Favorite Falls of Virginia State Parks.


One of the most scenic roads is also a trail at Caledon State Park.

Meander down this leafy trail to the river at Caledon State Park.

One of the most scenic autumn roads is also a trail at Caledon State Park. This leaf-strewn path will lead you to the Potomac River, where you can observe Bald Eagles, Osprey and a plethora of wildlife in the park.

This National Natural Landmark is known for its old-growth forest. It offers ten hiking and four multi-use trails that take park visitors through environmentally sensitive marshlands and picturesque wooded areas of the park.

You’ll also find hike-in or paddle-in camping. For reservations, call 800-933-7275 and find directions here.

You may also enjoy: 5 Reasons to Visit This Hidden Gem on The Potomac.



A front row waterfront seat to enjoy the fall scenery at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Va

A front-row waterfront seat to enjoy the fall scenery at Smith Mountain Lake State Park.

Explore the stunning fall lake scenery by boat or land. Smith Mountain Lake State Park has three hiking trails ranging from half a mile to three miles long. Trails weave through the park’s various features, including hardwood forests, pine forests, secluded coves and picturesque vistas. Along these trails, you may even encounter an old homestead chimney or tobacco barn.

The park offers ample opportunities for shore and boat fishing. You’ll find striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and several other species. Learn more about the recreation at Smith Mountain Lake State Park.

For overnight accommodations in cabins or the campground, click here or call 800-933-7275. Find directions to this park.

You may also enjoy A Fishing Paradise in the Blue Ridge Foothills.


Explore the lake on the Fisherman's Trail at Lake Anna State Park this fall in Virginia

Explore the lake via the Fisherman’s Trail at Lake Anna State Park.

This park has 11 trails totaling more than 15 miles. All are for hiking, with 12 miles designated as shared, multiple-use trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Overnight stays are made possible by camping, six camping cabins, two six-bedroom lodges and ten two-bedroom cabins. Seven cabins and the lodges have gorgeous views of the lake, which are even nicer when the leaves begin to drop. Learn more about spending a few nights at the beautiful Lake Anna State Park. Or call 800-933-7275. Park directions can be found here.


Trail Rides through October by reservation at New River Trail State Park, VaMore than 160 miles of the park system’s 672 miles of trails are reserved for hiking, and hiking is allowed on more than 397 miles of multi-use trails. Virginia State Park trails accommodate other activities, including biking, mountain biking and horseback riding, and many parks have universally accessible trails.

New River Trail State Park even has a horse livery where you can go on a guided trail ride; call Foster Falls Horse Livery at 276-699-2460 for rates and reservations.

The four hikes above are to get you started. We have more than 672 miles of fantastic trails to see the fall leaves in our parks. Learn about the trails at Virginia State Parks.

Learn more about the trails at Virginia State Parks here

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