The geography of Virginia’s Heart of Appalachia region is as varied as the experiences it offers. Reaching the peak for fall leaf colors can vary due to significant differences in elevation. While mid-October is commonly considered the peak of fall colors, early and late October remain visually vibrant. With a myriad of activities, attractions, and aesthetics, you’ll fall for autumn in the Heart of Appalachia! We suggest you enjoy the colors of fall both on and off the road.

Here are some ideas for both…

Little Stony Falls is a hidden gem located between Coeburn and Dungannon. The 2.8-mile trail follows the stream through a 400 foot deep and 1,700-foot wide gorge. Large rock outcrops, ledges, and boulders form the scenic edges along Little Stony Creek, including two waterfalls 8 and 24 feet high. Hike the trail, fish, or kayak as you enjoy the frigid water and colorful trees of the Jefferson National Forest.

Birch Knob – At an elevation of 3,144 feet above sea level, Birch Knob offers some of the best mountains views in the region. You’ll find the 100-yard walk from the parking lot and the 183 stair steps to reach the top to be well worth the trek. Just bring along some bottled water and don’t forget your camera!

The Pinnacle Natural Preserve – If you’re looking for towering cliffs, sheer limestone ledges, and waterfalls galore, then look no further than the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve. Located near the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, the topography of the Pinnacle has been modified by the forces of time to create this dramatic landscape.

Lake Witten and Cavitt’s Creek Park is a quiet, breathtaking retreat for fun and relaxation, birding, hiking, camping, fishing and more. They offer restrooms/showers, tent sites with water, camping sites and full-service RV campsites. This is the perfect spot for an impromptu fall weekend camping trip with breathtaking views of the 54-acre lake and surrounding fall foliage!

Sand Cave is a hike worth making from Lee County, VA. A rugged uphill climb will award you with a beautiful view and amazing Cave structure. You can continue your trek toward White Cliff. Plan for the entire day to be on the mountain and bring plenty of water and your camera.

Flag Rock & High Knob – There are spectacular views and exploration to be had, both on and off the pavement. From the City of Norton, Flag Rock can be seen as a rock outcrop capped with an American Flag. The recreation site sits over 1,000 feet above the City’s elevation of 2,350 ft. and offers twenty-five acres of recreation area with spectacular views, hiking trails, fishing, and camping. Moving on from Flag Rock will take you to High Knob, at an elevation of 3,800 ft. You’ll find several trails, High Knob Lake, and the grand prize view from High Knob Observation Tower at 4,223 ft.

Happy Fall Color exploration in the Heart of Appalachia!!!