It’s the first day of fall, and we’re looking forward to amazing autumn colors. Soon, public lands across the country will transform into a tapestry of red, orange and gold. Where is your favorite place to go leaf-peeping? Here’s a breathtaking shot from a previous fall at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.

Sunrise in the Appalachian Mountains can be an awe-inspiring sight. Sitting on an ancient rock and breathing in the cool mountain air, the beauty of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia unfolds before you as the first rays of sun sweep down into green valleys and misty hollows. No matter how many times you see it, it never gets old. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.

Just 75 miles from the bustle of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is your escape to cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas and one of the best drives on the east coast. There are 75 overlooks along the park’s Skyline Drive that offer stunning views of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east. So roll down your windows, feel the breeze and experience every curve and turn of this beautiful drive. Photo from The Point Overlook at milepost 55 by National Park Service.


Sunrise over Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. At this site, parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains run almost north-south across the Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland countryside, but the Potomac River has eroded its way through the ridges. This gap hosts the meeting site between the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers - both of them are funneled along the ridges until they find a small gap right here. This site also served as a Civil War era munitions depot and was involved in several campaigns, including the Antietam Campaign in 1862 and John Brown’s raid before the war.

Shenandoah National Park in Virginia has over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint; others penetrate deep into the forest and wilderness. With such an abundance of trail options and the famous Skyline Drive, it’s easy to find an adventure to fit your interest and ability. Sunrise photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.