Fall is finally here! We welcome the sights and smells of crisp red and orange leaves drifting through the air, the taste of autumn dishes like pumpkin and apple pies and, of course, the specialty drinks. Many people fall in love with Lynchburg because of the natural surroundings: our rolling hills, majestic mountains and lush trees. And now, that scenery is about to start changing color. So it’s time to start planning your next outdoor fall activities, a time when you can see all of the beauty of Central Virginia’s changing seasons. Here are some ways to celebrate the colorful scenery of the fall season in Lynchburg and throughout the surrounding area.
Fall Foliage Report
Virginia’s Forestry Department is all about educating people on the health and beauty of Virginia nature, and during the autumn season, that means keeping nature-lovers updated about how and when leaves are changing color. It gives weekly reports that include when trees in each part of the state are expected to change and what colors each type of tree will exhibit when fall is in full swing. Colors are expected to be at their boldest in October, which leaves you with some time to plan your next trip to some of the best views of autumn leaves in the area.
Where to Get the Best Views in Central VA
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a local favorite scenic route near Lynchburg that will give you access to the abundant natural environment of Central Virginia. It’s a mountainside drive that winds and curves along the Appalachians, giving you breathtaking views from high elevation. There are dozens of landmarks and pull-off points along the way so you can snap a quick picture and breathe in the crisp mountain air.
Additionally, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great area to take a day trip for a nature hike and put yourself right in the middle of the season’s beauty. Lots of popular locations are available for a relaxing time among the trees, and they’re all within an easy hour’s journey of Lynchburg! Sharp Top, Crabtree Falls and the Peaks of Otter (just to name a few) offer stunning views complete with accessible trails, rushing waterfalls and well-placed campsites for a fun overnight trip or picnic lunch. The Appalachian Trail has paths for everyone, from beginners to experts, so you won’t have any difficulty finding a good trail to follow to a beautiful autumn mountain view.
The Lynchburg trail network that includes the Blackwater Creek Trail, the Riverwalk Trail, the Ivy Creek Greenway and more takes the trail walker or cyclist along some of the finest forest paths in the city. These trails run for a collective length of over a dozen miles, leading you past or through several Lynchburg parks and sometimes along the rushing waters of the James River and its tributaries. They’re perfect for a casual leaf-sighting journey.
Liberty Mountain is a great place in Lynchburg to see how the metropolitan areas of the city mesh beautifully with the colorful treetops. Liberty Mountain Drive is a short but sweet parkway with an incredible view of the city. This mountain is also home to walking and biking trails where you can venture as the trees show off their best fall colors. If the experience of simply enjoying a high-up view of fall splendor is what you’re looking for, you can try three different places on Liberty Mountain: the overlook at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Liberty Mountain Lodge at Snowflex Resort and the gazebo above the monogram on the mountainside.
The Skyline Grill is a great place to get a bite to eat downtown and take in the beauty of the city. While enjoying a meal on the rooftop of the Virginian Hotel and sipping on a glass of craft brew, cast your eyes to the east. You’ll be able to see the banks of the James River turning orange, red and gold as you chat with loved ones.
Located in Brookneal, Virginia, less than an hour outside the borders of Lynchburg, Patrick Henry’s historic home Red Hill looks fantastic during the fall season. The countryside of Central Virginia in which this property is located is well-known for its quiet, pastoral surroundings, with rolling hills, varied flora and tall, magnificent trees. It’s this peaceful, natural landscape on the campus of Red Hill that provides a thoroughly enjoyable fall color experience for the autumn beauty seeker. Not only that, the drive through the countryside that leads to this famous farm is just as scenic.
The trails at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest are an excellent secluded location to retreat just as Jefferson himself did. Carefully preserved by the team of historians and groundskeepers at Poplar Forest, these trees will remind you of just how magnificent fall colors can be, and just how easily you can lose yourself among them for an hour or two.
Enjoy Your Autumn!
No matter how you choose to view autumn leaves this season, we’re sure you’ll have a great time. After all, seeing leaves float gently to the ground and hearing that satisfying crunch as you walk among them is a sensation like no other! We hope to see you out there. Happy First Day of Fall!