Virginia’s hidden gems: the best places to see fall color

It’s no secret that Virginia is a go-to destination for fall leaf peeping. For the highest concentration of gorgeous scenery, outdoor adventure, and hospitality, head to Abingdon, VA, located in the southwest corner of the state. This artsy Blue Ridge mountain town is mile-marker zero for the Virginia Creeper Trail, as well as the home of Barter Theatre and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

South Holston Dam

South Holston Lake is the first in the series of TVA dammed lakes, with pristine waters and hundreds of miles of undeveloped shoreline in Cherokee National Forest.  For a breathtaking view of the lake surrounded by fall colors, head to South Holston Dam and its viewing station.

South Holston Lake. Photo by Jared Kreiss.

Hungry Mother State Park

Hungry Mother State Park is not just for swimming in the summer, it’s also for experiencing the breathtaking views Virginia has to offer in the Fall. Luckily, you have options when visiting this scenic park. There are plenty of trails to hike, but you can also just stroll around and eat dinner at the park. There are some great spots to take pictures at too!

Abingdon Vineyards

If you want to kick back and relax surrounded by fall beauty, Abingdon Vineyards is the place for you. Walk through the grapevines or down by the river. Accessible by car, bike, boat or horseback via the Virginia Creeper Trail or the South Holston Lake.  Kids, dogs and kayaks welcome! 

Abingdon Vineyards.

Backbone Rock

Originally blasted out to accommodate the smokestack of a steam engine, the tunnel through Backbone Rock is a fascinating sight.  Driving to Backbone Rock is another beautiful drive, and along the way you’ll find some great spots to stop, sit, and soak in the beauty of Southwest Virginia. Just keep your eyes open for the picnic tables scattered across the edge of the road on the way.

Backbone Rock. Photo by Chad McGlamery.

Downtown Abingdon

Downtown Abingdon is a great place for a leisurely stroll, especially during the fall season. Enjoy the charming architecture and brick sidewalks, surrounded by the picturesque leaves and unique restaurants like The Tavern, White Birch Food & Juice, or Morgan’s.

The Abingdon United Methodist Church and brilliant fall foliage on Main Street.
Photo by Jason Barnette.

The Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail is something Abingdon takes great pride in, and once you see it you will understand why! The trail has a backdrop of beautiful fall foliage and the more you walk the better it gets. Along the trail there are many places to stop, if you’re lucky you’ll see the wildlife all around you.

Biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Want more ideas for a fall getaway in Abingdon? Check out this three-day itinerary to make the most of a fall trip. 

Places to Go, Things to See: