Great Places to View Fall Foliage

Pandapas PondIn Blacksburg, fall’s brilliant peak is underway. Recently, Charlie Whitescarver shared tips for photographing fall foliage. Here are a few choice sites for shooting, or just enjoying, the region’s scenery.

Up Close: Walks, Hikes, Bikes

Huckleberry Trail

Walk, run or bike along this paved, mostly wooded trail linking Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Various entry points and parking along trail.

Pandapas Pond

  • 3 miles outside Blacksburg, via 460 West, in the Jefferson National Forest
  • Open sunrise to sunset
  • Plenty of parking

Hike, bike, or ride horses on the 17-mile Poverty Creek Trail.

Use the one-mile, wheelchair-accessible trail around or put your canoe/kayak into the eight-acre pond.

Mountain Lake

  • 16 miles outside Blacksburg, via 460 West. Directions here
  • $5/vehicle/day parking and trail access fee for day visitors (fee supports Mountain Lake Conservancy)
  • ½-day or full-day bicycle rentals available from Mountain Lake Outfitters (540-626-7139)

Hike or bike on 22 miles of trails in the 2,600-acre wilderness preserve, which includes one of the last two stands of virgin Eastern Hemlocks in the eastern U.S.

Guided hikes, a treetop adventure course, orienteering, and Frisbee disc golf also available.

Spectacular mountain vistas from several trail overlooks, especially Bald Knob – plus good views on the drive to get there.

[Bonus: See the lovely Mountain Lake Lodge, where parts of the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing were filmed.]


Mountain Lake (see above)

Dragon’s Tooth Trail in Catawba Valley

  • Approximately 22 miles from Blacksburg, via U.S. 460 West and Va. 624 to Va. 311 North.
  • 5-mile round-trip, moderate-to-difficult hike, with fabulous views from the summit.

Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Several entry points in Floyd and the Roanoke Valley
  • A leisurely, scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a variety of overlooks, hiking trails, campgrounds and lodging

Don’t have time for day-trips?

You’ll get fine views simply by traveling to and from Blacksburg on I-81, I-64 or I-77.

Find other places to enjoy fall in our region:

Montgomery County

New River Valley

Roanoke Valley