With fall foliage in the DMV finally nearing its peak, D.C.’s trees are bursting with spectacular hues of gold and auburn, making it the perfect time for leaf-peeping!
Whether you can’t get enough of the fall foliage, or you’re simply itching to jump into a big pile of crunchy leaves, read on to discover some of our favorite places to watch season change in and around D.C.:
1. The National Mall
The National Mall and its surrounding areas are one of our favorite spots for basking in the beautiful colors of fall without leaving the city! Whether you choose to wander around on foot or on bike, there are a number of spots along the Mall where you can admire the fall foliage. You can take a turn around the Tidal Basin or sit on the steps of Jefferson Memorial and admire the Basin’s beautiful trees from afar, or take a stroll alongside the Reflecting Pool. Make sure to make frequent stops along the way to capture the trees in different lights and snag the perfect shot of D.C.’s famous monuments surrounded by stunning shades of auburn and gold!
Rock Creek Park is another great option if you want to immerse yourself in the fall foliage but don’t feel like leaving the District. Plus, its network of trails and pathways are hiking friendly for those who want to go on a crisp autumn walk. While at the park, be sure to also check out some of its awesome historic landmarks, such as the Pierce Mill g\Gristmill, the Rolling Meadow Footbridge, and Miller Cabin.
These century-old gardens are actually one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Located between Woodland Park and Cleveland Park Tregaron’s 20 acres of secret gardens, meadows, and ponds are a great spot to take in the changing leaves. The estate was once home to the D.C. elite, but now it’s a spectacular place where nature and the city meet when you need a break away from D.C. life without traveling far!
4. Theodore Roosevelt Island
If you’re a fan of wildlife then this little island is the perfect spot to go on a quiet autumn hike and see the changing leaves! Its 1.6-mile loop trail is perfect for hikers of all levels and its easily accessible location makes it one of the best trails to go hiking in Washington, D.C., featuring boardwalks over marsh areas and clean-wooded forest paths.
5. The U.S. National Arboretum
Located just two miles from the U.S. Capitol, the National Arboretum is especially beautiful in the autumn. The stark contrast of the sandstone Corinthian Columns (that once supported the U.S. Capitol portico) and the vibrant leaves on surrounding trees make the arboretum a totally stunning autumn leaf-peeping destination!
Shenandoah National Park is a stunning hiking spot all year round whether you choose to go swimming in the summer or leaf-peeping in the fall. The popular Skyline Drive is a great option for this time of year, allowing you to experience the leaves’ changing colors on a gorgeous car ride no matter the weather. But if you’re more of the walking type, the 6.5-mile Mary’s Rock hike follows the Appalachian Trail up to an astonishing viewing point of the sprawling hills and all of its magnificent colors.
This gorgeous little town is located at the merging of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Harpers Ferry offers activities for both adventures and the less intrepid, including the beautiful Maryland Heights Trail which overlooks the city, making it the perfect location for taking in the stunning foliage from up high!
8. Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park’s 78-foot-tall waterfall is the largest in Maryland. The water splashes down through a series of ledges and into a beautiful water pool at the bottom. Plus, the park’s full of light hiking trails, ranging from a half-mile to 7.5 miles, taking you through paths blooming with the stunning colors of autumn!
9. Seneca Creek State Park
These 7.8 miles of gorgeous woodland offer great views of the Great Seneca Creek and its stunning flora! While hiking on the trail, you can also check out the historic Middlebrook and Watkins Mills with beautiful golden, auburn, and crimson trees as the backdrop.
10. Sugar Loaf Mountain
Want to admire Maryland’s gorgeous foliage? Just a short drive from D.C., most of the trails on Sugarloaf Mountain are moderately difficult, but the climb is worth the effort because all of them will reward you with spectacular views of the fields and sprawling hills of pastoral Maryland teeming with all of autumn’s brilliant colors.
Article Written by Ma Del Rosario Castro Diaz and Jenna Romaine