Fall Foliage in Virginia

This map of Virginia shows the approximate dates of peak color for fall foliage.

Oct. 10 - 20
Oct. 15 - 25
Oct. 20-31

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in Virginia, and traveling throughout the state during this season can reveal an abundance of color. As you enjoy the outdoors and Virginia's forests, remember to be careful with outdoor fire. A cigarette, campfire or cooking equipment can destroy the scenic wonders of Fall in Virginia. This map represents the typical time frames in Virginia when peak color happens and is not an exact prediction for any given year.







Weekly Fall Foliage Report

Welcome to the fall foliage report for the weekend of October 24.

This weekend should be near peak coloration for mid to higher elevations throughout the western mountains and Alleghanies. There you’ll spot red and orange maples, deep red dogwoods, and golden hickories, interspersed with the deep sage green of white pines.

Most of the Blue Ridge is still sporting a background of greenish-gold with occasional pops of red. As always, a nice patch of color is often just around a bend or over a ridge.

The good news is that oak trees, which dominate much of the Blue Ridge and Piedmont, are just beginning to change. More color is yet to come!

In the Coastal Plain, you can see colors in low swampy areas, as well as on city and landscape trees. Along eastern roadways, look for saltbush shrubs beginning to erupt in frothy white blooms.

As the October colors heat up, so can wildfires, so please be smart and safe with fire this fall.Get more information about the fall wildfire season and safe disposal of fallen leaves.

Virginia creeper vine and red maple, Harrisonburg (Joe Lehnen); roadside sassafras reveals salmon tones, Roanoke County (Denny McCarthy); Ragged Mountain Reservoir trails, Albemarle County (Ellen Powell)

Virginia Trees and Colors

Tree Fall Leaf Color
ash yellow, maroon
beech yellow to orange
dogwood scarlet to purple
hickory golden bronze
oak red, brown or russet
poplar golden yellow
red maple brilliant scarlet

VDOF Recommended Fall Foliage Driving Tours

So, you’re interested in seeing some of the beauty that is Virginia during Fall Foliage season but maybe you don’t want to fight the traffic that clogs some of the best-known places. You’ve come to the right place! We're proud to provide our favorite VDOF-Recommended Fall Foliage Driving Tours. Who better than the folks who know Virginia’s trees best to provide you with routes that will expose you to some of the Commonwealth’s most colorful tree-lined vistas? Each of these tours – designed by a local VDOF forester – is sure to exceed your expectations and fill your eyes with wide swatches of vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. These recommended drives are “off the beaten path” so you’ll be able to enjoy a leisurely trip without the hassles of a lot of traffic on the road.

Enjoy “leaf-peeping” in Virginia!

Fall Foliage Information

By Phone

  • Fall Foliage Report - 1.800.424.LOVE (begins around September 23 each year)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (between Waynesboro and the North Carolina border) - 828.298.0398 (press “3”)


Fall Foliage Activities

Why do leaves change color?

Most leaf colors are already in the plant leaf.

  • Chlorophyll gives leaves their familiar green color.
  • Carotenoids produce yellow, orange, and brown colors.
  • Anthocyanins add color to red apples, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and plums. They are water soluble and appear in the watery liquid of leaf cells.

Both chlorophyll and carotenoids are present in the chloroplasts of leaf cells throughout the growing season. During this time, chlorophyll is produced and broken down and leaves appear green. As days get shorter, chlorophyll production slows down until it stops. The green color is no longer visible, and other pigments present (carotenoids) with the chlorophyll are then revealed. During autumn, bright light and excess plant sugars produce anthocyanins within leaf cells.

Learn more about Why Leaves Change Color, Autumn Colors, and the Anatomy of a Leaf.

Last modified: Thursday, 22-Oct-2020 11:38:37 EDT