Home Want to see Virginia’s fall foliage? Driving tour map now available

Want to see Virginia’s fall foliage? Driving tour map now available

Crystal Graham
fall foliage drive
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Want to take a drive and take in some of Virginia’s vibrant fall foliage? The Virginia Department of Forestry has you covered with suggested driving tours covering parts of northern, western and central Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Forestry collects information on when and where to see the best of autumn’s vibrant colors across the Commonwealth.

While it can be difficult to predict the exact timing of fall color change and intensity, in general, ample summer rain followed by fall’s bright sunny days and cool clear nights produce the most vibrant foliage. Healthier trees usually give the best show, while stressed or diseased trees often go straight to brown.

Fall colors generally peak sometime between October 10 and October 31, according to the VDOF.

Virginia’s fall color change begins at the highest elevations of Southwest Virginia and the Alleghenies in late September and proceeds downslope and eastward through October.

In early November, Virginia’s fall foliage show wraps up near the coast.

“Virginia’s abundant hardwood forests provide weeks of beautiful foliage viewing this time of year,” said state forester Rob Farrell. “The local roads that make up the fall foliage tour were suggested by long-time forestry staff for consistent, beautiful autumn scenery year after year.”

The fall foliage driving tours map can be found on VDOF’s website.

VDOF weekly fall foliage report

Green still predominates across most of Virginia, but there are little pops of color all over northern, western, and central regions, according to the VDOF website.

High elevation forests (above 3000 feet) in southwest Virginia have up to 50 percent color change in some areas. In the Alleghenies, there are patches of intense color as well. At lower elevations, you’ll see some nice reds developing in sumac, dogwood, black gum and red maple. Cooler nights to come will enhance the development of red pigments.

In the Piedmont, the overall effect is green spattered with yellow, accented with pale orange, occasional flashes of red, and deep maroon from our native dogwoods. In the Coastal Plain, look for the beginnings of color in wet areas, such as the edges of swamps.

For weekly updates on Virginia’s color progression, visit VDOF’s website.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.