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The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the DMV

The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the DMV

Picture of Nicole Hampton
Updated: 14 November 2017

The pristine weather, the ability to walk around the National Mall without bombing a selfie, the beer gardens, and of course, the foliage. Living in the DMV (D.C, Maryland, Virginia) area gives you the ability to travel to three states in less than an hour, and as far as fall goes, they all have a lot of scenic places to see those leaves turn their reds and yellows.

Harpers Ferry National Park

About an hour out of D.C in West Virginia, this historic Civil War site is quite the walk, and is ideal for families who want to get their history on. They offer the miraculous trees in all their transitional glory, while also providing live historical performances, ranger-guided tours, museums, craft stores, and restaurants. Make this one into an all-day event or request your kid’s school to make it their next field trip and you can tag along as chaperone.

767 Shenandoah St, Harpers Ferry, WV, USA +1 304 535 6029

Cunningham Falls State Park

Unlike the word Ferry in Harpers Ferry National Park, they didn’t throw Falls in there just for kicks. This state park located in Thurmont, Maryland in the Catoctin Mountains boasts a 78-foot cascading waterfall. It has plenty of light hiking trails that range from half a mile to 7.5 miles so you can choose which path you wish to follow based on how much time you have. If you start to fall in love with the foliage here so much that you never want to leave, don’t worry. They have campgrounds available until the leaves turn from red to brown.

14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd, Thurmont, MD, USA +1 301 271 7574

Seneca Creek State Park

No, not Seneca Crane, Seneca Creek. It’s not named after the Hunger Games character who was thrown into a room with only Nightlock berries to eat after he let two tributes win. And the outdoor activities offered here are much more safe and fun than in that book. There’s boat rental for their 90-acre lake, canoeing, kayaking, hiking trails, fishing, picnic areas, disc golf course, and a 19th-century cabin that’s been restored with the trees a’ turnin’ as the backdrop to it all.

11950 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg, MD, USA +1 301 924 2127

U.S. National Arboretum

This is probably one of D.C’s proudest accomplishments. 44-acres of trees, shrubs, and plants right here in the city. You’re able to tour the garden on your own, including some major hiking, or take a 30-minute tram ride to hear information about the Arboretum, its display gardens, and history.

3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC, USA +1 202 245 2726

C & O Canal National Historical Park

Starting in Georgetown and ending in Cumberland, Maryland, this park is pretty accessible to almost everyone in the DMV. And you can expect plenty to do within the expansive 185-mile land area. Enjoy seeing all fall has to offer with tons of outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, biking, and boating. Calling all equestrians in the DMV area, this park also has horseback riding available along the canal.

1057 Thomas Jefferson St NW, Washington, DC, USA +1 202 653 5190

Rock Creek Park

The largest park Washington, D.C has to offer, one which starts downtown and ends 30 miles later in Montgomery County, Maryland, it is the perfect place to go this fall. Check out the Old Stone House, historical Pierce Mill, and the Rock Creek Park Nature Center before or after you indulge in some hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

2401 Tilden St NW, Washington, DC, USA

Sugarloaf Mountain

The most beautiful thing about being in the mountains at fall is the way the trees look combined and at a distance. You are able to get that striking view at this Natural Historic Landmark in Dickerson, MD that’s elevated 1,282-meters and surrounded by endearing farmland and wineries. The drive there is enough to want to go. And once you get there, appreciate the plants and wildlife that can be seen walking the two-and-a-half, five or seven-mile trails.

18125 Comus Rd, Dickerson, MD, USA

Burke Lake Park

With a 218-acre lake, you better believe there are recreational activities galore. Fish, boat, camp, and hike through the beautiful fall foliage. Some of the more unique activities in this large park include a golf course and mini-golf course, disc golf, a miniature train and carousel, ice cream parlor, horseshoe pits, and an amphitheater.

7315 Ox Rd, Fairfax Station, VA, USA +1 703 323 6600

Mount Vernon Estate

This 500-acre estate which belonged to George Washington himself has a lot to offer. Walk along the Potomac River, tour his mansion, pet the livestock that’s still on the land and stroll through the garden Washington once tended to. See him and his wife’s tomb, and be sure to visit the memorial where his slaves were buried. During the start of fall and when it’s warmer out, don’t miss the live performances and the large market which takes you back to simpler times of psychics, homemade goods, and “miracle cure” shows.

3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA, USA +1 703 780 2000