There are few things in life I enjoy more than afternoon drives during fall. The colors of leaves and constantly changing landscapes resulting from the falling leaves never fails to make me slow down and appreciate the world around me. Here in Northern Virginia, my favorite place to view fall foliage is in Shenandoah National Park. Each year, I try to take at least one day to drive through the park and enjoy the scenery.
Learning from past fall trips, we skipped the North District of the park to avoid many of the visitors heading into the park off of Interstate 66. Instead, we entered at the Thorton Gap Entrance Station, which is located between Luray and Sperryville on Highway 211. Skipping the North District has always allowed us to avoid large traffic backups in the past. However, this year there was a long line of cars even at the Thorton Gap Entrance!
We were shocked at the number of cars on in the park this trip and even more surprised at the numerous antique car clubs having gatherings in the park. We decided that people decided to take advantage of the warm and sunny day, as the foliage had passed peak color. Regardless, the further south we traveled in the park, the fewer cars we encountered. Next year, I think we will start at the southern entrance and work our way north.
The Central District of Shenandoah National Park has some great vistas. Be sure to stop at the numerous overlooks as you drive. My favorite overlook in this section of the park is “The Point” – which is the third picture below.
The South District of Shenandoah National Park is my favorite of the three districts. First, I’ve had the best luck seeing wildlife (lots of bear and deer) in this section. Second, it contains my two favorite overlooks: Moormans River Overlook and Sawmill Run Overlook (images below).
Where is your favorite fall foliage drive?