2020 has largely been a year to forget, but it did provide some breathtaking fall colors in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
We were fortunate to have an extended period of peak fall foliage this year from October into November, with some sections of the region showing extremely vibrant fall colors.
Whether you were able to experience the fall colors in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in person this year, it’s on your list for future travel plans, or the fall colors are a way for you to reminisce about previous experiences, we hope you enjoy this collection of photos featuring the leaves from this year!
The following images were captured at various locations in our region and shared publicly on Instagram. We’d like to thank all the photographers for being willing to let us showcase their beautiful pictures and encourage you to show your support by commenting on their posts.
Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors
Instagram User: @thetrailgator
Taking a drive on the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall colors is an annual tradition that attracts visitors from all around the world. The canopy of trees provides stunning scenes along the route, and you can also stop at numerous scenic overlooks and trails to take in the breathtaking natural landscapes.
Learn More: Blue Ridge Parkway in VBR >
Instagram User: @tpfmariah9999
Located at Milepost 176.2, Mabry Mill is the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is a gorgeous view during every season, but especially when the mill is framed by peak fall color. If you’re planning a trip to take in this magical scene, keep in mind that peak fall color usually takes place a little earlier around Mabry Mill, so early-to-mid October would likely be the most opportune timeframe.
Learn More: Mabry Mill >
Roaring Run Falls
Instagram User: @stacig24
When we say certain parts of the region showed exceptional fall foliage this year, the Roaring Run Recreation Area in Botetourt County was one of those spots! The leaves along the trail and near the waterfall provided a variety of beautiful colors, including a contrast with the green leaves that turned later in the season.
Learn More: Roaring Run Day Use Area >
Roanoke River Gorge
Instagram User: @aaron_spicer
The Roanoke River Gorge is one of our favorite spots in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and we hope these photos helps illustrate why. This section of the Roanoke River is a wonderful spot for paddling and you can also take advantage of nearby access to Explore Park, which features camping & cabins for overnight lodging, water access & fishing, trails for hiking & mountain biking, and a brewpub.
Learn More: Explore Park >
Century Plaza - Downtown Roanoke
Instagram User: @domforshort
Located between Church Avenue & Kirk Avenue near the Market District, Century Plaza is a hidden gem for fall color in Downtown Roanoke and a great spot for photos! If you stand facing Church Avenue, you also get a view of the Historic Fire Station No. 1 building, which was modeled after Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
Learn More: Century Plaza >
Abbott Lake at Peaks of Otter
Instagram User: @rvahikergirl
The Peaks of Otter at Milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-see spot during the fall season in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Take advantage of the fantastic collection of trails, including the Abbott Lake Trail, which is an easy, ADA accessible, 1 mile loop around the lake. To learn more, RVA Hiker Girl also put together a great 2-part YouTube video of her experience of camping at the Peaks of Otter, hiking around Abbott Lake and other trails, and visiting a couple nearby spots.
Learn More: Peaks of Otter Hiking Trails >
Natural Bridge State Park
Instagram User: @hiltyy
The Natural Bridge of Virginia offers a breathtaking view any time of year, but this view with the fall colors is truly spectacular. The Natural Bridge State Park is a wonderful spot for a day trip in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, where you can stand in awe of the bridge, explore the network of trails, and learn about the rich history of the bridge and its significance as a sacred site to the native Monacan tribe of the area.
Learn More: Natural Bridge State Park >
Sharp Top Mountain
Instagram User: @visually_capturing
A fall road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway should always include a stop at the Peaks of Otter at Milepost 86. The opportunity to stretch your legs as you take in the view of Abbott Lake and the nearby fall foliage on Sharp Top Mountain is an amazing scene. If you’re up for the climb, you can get a pic at the base of Sharp Top Mountain and then hike to the summit and get a pic looking back down at the area where you took the first photo.
Learn More: Peaks of Otter >
Smith Mountain Lake
Instagram User: @starcityskycams
With over 500 miles of shoreline, Smith Mountain Lake is full of beautiful views and scenes that showcase the fall season. Whether you’re taking in the view from aboard a boat, along the edge of the lake at one of the many vacation rentals, while hiking or biking along a nearby trail, or enjoying the view from the air like in this gorgeous drone shot from Star City SkyCams, it’s easy to see why Smith Mountain Lake is described as “The Jewel of the Blue Ridge.”
Learn More: Smith Mountain Lake >
Roaring Run Trail
Instagram User: @_kyleboykin
This year’s fall colors at Roaring Run were so good, they earned two spots on this list! In addition to the fall foliage at the waterfall, there were vivid colors surrounding the trail and all along Roaring Run Creek. And even as the leaves began to fall from the trees, it still provided the perfect fall view with the ground covered in autumn color.
Learn More: Roaring Run Day Use Area >
Did you capture any great views of this year’s fall colors in Virginia’s Blue Ridge? Let us know on social media by tagging @visitvbr in your posts or using the #Trailsetter hashtag! You can also follow us on Instagram at @visitvbr, where we regularly share beautiful photos from around the region.