UPDATE: Virginia's Blue Ridge is Now Open in Phase Three

Virginia's Blue Ridge is now open in the Phase Three stage of the Commonwealth's Forward Virginia plan. Learn more about the program and what it means for various types of businesses & experiences in the region with our Phase Three Guidelines page. Phase Three >


2020 Fall Color Schedule for Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

2020 Fall Foliage & Leaf Viewing for Virginia's Blue Ridge

Plan your trip to see the vibrant fall colors and foliage of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains! Seeing the autumn leaves around the Roanoke Valley and along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a favorite annual tradition for locals and visitors to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

According to a variety of weather forecasts and predictions, it appears we’ll be experiencing peak fall color in mid to late October for 2020.

2020 Fall Foliage Color Schedule - Roanoke, Virginia - Blue Ridge Mountains

The 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map for SmokyMountains.com shows the second half of October being the prime period for seeing peak fall color in Roanoke & Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The map tool actually shows the region starting to experience partial and near peak color around October 5 and then transitioning to full peak color through October 26.

While no prediction tool is perfect, the Fall Foliage Prediction Map combines an advanced weather algorithm that factors in thousands of data points and scientific factors to come up with the most accurate forecast possible.

According to WDBJ7 and comments from local tree expert Dr. John Seiler, Professor of Tree Biology at Virginia Tech, the conditions are setting up for 2020 to be one of the best years in recent memory for fall foliage. The WDBJ7 Fall Foliage Report is predicting October 10-31 to be the time to expect peak fall foliage in Western Virginia.

This forecast is also consistent with the Farmers Almanac, which is projecting peak fall color for the inland portion of Virginia for October 12-28.

2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map
Image via SmokyMountains.com

Expect Peak Fall Color in Virginia's Blue Ridge in Mid to Late October

Due to the various changes in elevation throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge, it’s important to remember that different areas will see peak fall color at different times. Higher elevations, such as along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail will see peak fall color earlier in the season compared to lower lying areas, including the Roanoke Valley.

Plan Your Adventure: Best Places to See Fall Color in Virginia's Blue Ridge >

In order to see fall colors at their best and brightest, we should hope for warm, sunny days accompanied by cool nights. Less daylight is a key step in the color changing process, as chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops, allowing the yellow, orange, and red pigments to become more dominant in the leaves before they fall.

The Roanoke Times Weather Journal has also indicated that recent dry conditions could set up nicely for a very vibrant fall foliage season this year. 

Still, regardless of the weather leading up to the fall foliage viewing season, you can always count on finding some great areas full of color in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we encourage you to be a #Trailsetter and go find them!

Here are some of the best ways to experience fall in Virginia's Blue Ridge. 

Virginia's Blue Ridge - Now Open in Phase Three

Virginia's Blue Ridge Stay Safe PledgeNOTE: Virginia's Blue Ridge is currently open in Phase Three of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Forward Virginia Recovery Plan. Visit our Phase Three Guidelines page for more information about what you can expect at local businesses in the region.

We also encourage you to join us in taking the VBR Stay Safe Pledge - a commitment between local businesses, residents, and visitors to help the region stay safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Blue Ridge Parkway Detour: A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke is currently closed from Milepost 115.5 to Milepost 135.9 due to multiple road hazards caused by heavy rains. We've created a special Parkway Detour Route to help you navigate around this temporary closure and see some unique things to do in the region. Detour Info >

Additional Fall Color Resources

There are many other fantastic resources to help you plan your trip to see the fall colors in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, including the following:

Roanoke Valley Spotlight

13 local restaurants featuring delicious comfort food in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Roanoke - Fall Getaway - Travel + Leisure

Pitch your tent and rest your head under the starlit as you breathe in the fresh air of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Be a Trailsetter - Virginia's Blue Ridge

Explore the fall foliage of Virginia's Blue Ridge in some truly adventurous, off-road ways!