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A few Virginia road trips to whet your fall foliage appetite

October 6, 2014 · 1 minute read

This past weekend, Ryan Abrahamsen and I drove out to Natural Bridge to give a presentation to the James River Association’s River Rats on our summer efforts to create a 360-degree, surface-level map of the James River. We had a lot of fun, and it was amazing to note the temperature difference between when we left Richmond and when we got to Natural Bridge. It was downright cold out in the mountains!

Credit: innvirginia.org

Credit: innvirginia.org

On the way home, we noticed that hints of yellow, orange and red had begun creeping across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains on both sides of the I-81 corridor. It reminded me that we’re on the cusp of leaf peepage season here in the Commonwealth.

If you’re the kind of person looking for a fall foliage road trip, you’re in luck. The Department of Forestry maintains a cool resource on their site. Fall Foliage in Virginia offers a map of when leaves should change by region, a chart of which trees turn which colors, and a list of other leaf-peeping resources. For the first time last year the DOF tasked its foresters with producing a number of off-the-beaten-path fall foliage driving tours.

Each of these tours – designed by a local VDOF forester – is sure to fill your eyes with wide swatches of vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. And, because these recommended drives are “off the beaten path,” you’ll be able to enjoy a leisurely trip without the hassles of a lot of traffic on the road or large crowds at stops along  the way.

Scenic driving tours are listed for the following areas: