Something about cool, fall weather makes you want to hike farther. Now that that weather has finally arrived, we’ve got some of those longer trails we think you might like. Here are 11, including nine in the Piedmont and two along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. (We’ll talk long trails at the coast in coming weeks, once the weather turns from cool to cold.)
Editor’s note: This is a piece we run annually around this time. It has been tweaked, updated and massaged.
When it comes to fall color, outdoors types take the changing of the leaves pretty seriously.
Virginia has a fall foliage hotline — 800.424.5683 — that you can call for the latest breaking fall color news. Operators standing by; in our book, that’s quite serious. And, curiously, quite practical.
It’s the last weekend of summer, but on the trail it’s beginning to feel like fall. And that means many of the trails we love year-round are getting lots of love from the seasonally infatuated.
Many trails — but not all.
Finding the trails less traveled was the focus of our first Lunch with GetHiking! gathering at noon today. If you missed it, you can catch it in reruns here.
In today’s GetHiking! Southeast Podcast we scout a potential graduation trip route for our first GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking class in Virginia. In the podcast, we explain what, in our opinion, makes for a good weekend trip for first-time backpackers. That is, a trip that will get them hooked on backcountry camping.
Wondering when your favorite seasonal campground or roadside attraction in the National Parks will reopen? We have some dates:
Blue Ridge Parkway
- Price Park Campground at MP 297: April 2-Oct. 31
- Linville Falls at MP 314: April 2-Oct. 31
- Crabtree Falls at MP 339: May 28-Oct. 31
- Mount Pisgah at MP 408.8: May 28-Oct. 31
- Moses Cone Manor House at MP 294: April 15
- Linville Falls at MP 316: April 30.
- N. Museum of Minerals at MP 330: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through April.
- Craggy Gardens at MP 364.5: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. starting April 17.
- Waterrock Knob at MP 451: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. starting April 17.
Shenandoah National Park
- March 25: Lewis Mountain Campground (mile 57.5)
- March 26: Big Meadows Campground (mile 51.2)
- May 5: Mathews Arm Campground (mile 22.2), Loft Mountain Campground (mile 79.5), and Dundo Group Campground (mile 83.7)
- Picnic Grounds will open on the following schedule:
- March 25: Lewis Mountain Picnic Grounds (mile 57.5)
- March 26: Big Meadows Picnic Grounds (mile 51.2)
- Open year round: Dickey Ridge Picnic Grounds (mile 4.7), Elkwallow Picnic Grounds (mile 24.1), Pinnacles Picnic Grounds (mile 36.7), South River Picnic Grounds (mile 62.8), and Dundo Picnic Grounds (mile 83.7)
- Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 Skyline Drive): open Fridays through Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays), No indoor exhibits or films.
- Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51 Skyline Drive)
- Open 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., No indoor exhibits or films.
The restaurants, lodges, and associated facilities operated by the park concessioner, Delaware North, open as follows: