The mountains of Virginia’s Blue Ridge make the perfect fall backdrop when you visit the Roanoke Valley for a few days of outdoor adventure and leisure.
If you’re looking for a full weekend of hiking, try Virginia’s Triple Crown. Begin your weekend with a hike to Dragon’s Tooth as you walk along streams and test your bouldering skills. Make your way to McAfee Knob and the iconic overlook that makes it one of the most popular spots on the Appalachian Trail. Finish your trip off with Tinker Cliffs, featuring almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Complete the Triple Crown in sections or connect the three legs with a 32-mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail.
These trails offer stunning views of the leaves turning colors and the valley below.
Head out of the city to Smith Mountain Lake State Park for miles of shoreline to explore. The 13 miles of trails will take you through hardwood forests to quiet coves and waterfront overlooks. Spend a relaxing day on the water, paddling and fishing for bass. Stick around for a beautiful sunset over the lake. Plan your visit for November in time for the Smith Mountain Lake Chili and Craft Festival at Bridgewater Marina.
Climb the Mill Mountain Star Trail to see the Roanoke Star and views of the valley. Dogs on leashes are welcome to join your trip. While at Mill Mountain Park, check out the mountain biking trails and wildflower garden.
Hikers of all abilities will find a trail to experience the Peaks of Otter. On a clear day, you can see for hundreds of miles from Sharp Top Mountain, Flat Top Mountain, and Harkening Hill. Flat Top Trail offers a strenuous hike to the top of the tallest of the three sister peaks. Stroll along Abbott Lake Trail, an ADA compliant loop around the water. Take the Fallingwater Cascades Trail, a 1.6-mile loop, for views of a waterfall. Stick around after the sun goes down for brilliant views of the night sky.
Want to take in the fall landscape without getting out of the car? Go for a scenic mountain drive along Route 311 as you drive over Catawba Mountain and Potts Mountain. Take the car off road on the Potts Mountain Jeep Trail for steep climbs and incredible views. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to make a stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head north or south for views off of “America’s Favorite Drive.”
After a day exploring the mountains, fill up with the best local food Virginia’s Blue Ridge has to offer. Sit in front of a fire while you dine on a bison burger or brown beans and cornbread from The Swinging Bridge Restaurant. If you’re looking for comfort food, check out some of the best at The Homeplace. Stop by Ruth’s Place for breakfast served all day. And don’t forget to try the pies, freshly baked every day, from The Hub Restaurant.
Visit the Homestead Creamery for all of your favorite ice cream, including a seasonal pumpkin flavor. Call ahead for a tour of the farm and manufacturing area. Don’t miss the hay rides, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes at Layman Family Farms, Sinkland Farms, and Jeter Farm.
Taste your way through the valley with Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail. With nearly 30 different stops, you’re sure to find a craft beer, wine, or spirit that fits your style. Don’t forget to download the Cheers Trail Passport (text ‘CHEERS’ to (540) 253-4311) for awesome savings on drinks and merchandise.
Take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Roanoke Valley when you visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.