Shenandoah Valley Fall Splendor: The Best Places to View the Mountains

Where to View the Beauty of the Fall Mountain Leaves

If you’re traveling to the Shenandoah Valley in the Fall, you’re no doubt looking for the best places to see the splendor of the mountain leaves. The area here is so beautiful that you can literally open your back door and get an eyeful of nature’s bounty.

But to get a panoramic view of some of the oldest mountains in the world and their Fall dance of colors, we’ve got three places that are unbeatable.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall Leaves in the Shenandoah Valley

Photo by William A. Blake


From agricultural history like Cherokee living to the music and crafts of Southern Appalachia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile ribbon of road that stretches from Virginia to North Carolina.

More than just a scenic drive, the Parkway is home to a wide range of habitats, some of which are exceptionally rare.

With plenty of overlooks, the Parkway offers stellar views of some of the oldest mountains in the world.

As one driver of the Parkway said, “It should be on everyone’s bucket list.” It’s here you can see the fanciful display of brilliant color, get lost in your own thoughts, and revel in the wisdom of Mother Nature.


The Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive in the late fall.

Photo by National Park Service/Lewis

Running 105 miles south and north along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Skyline Drive also cuts a large path through Shenandoah National Park. A double bonus!

The speed limit is 35 mph so that will give you ample time to enjoy all the Fall beauty. With almost 70 overlooks, you’ve got stunning views of the Piedmont to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west.

All kinds of wildlife call the Park home. It’s not unusual to see black bear, deer, and turkey cross the Skyline Drive. Please be watchful as they may dart across the road unexpectedly! (Another reason for the 35 mph speed limit!)


Big Meadows

Skyline Drive in the Fall

Photo courtesy of National Park Service



Near the center of the Shenandoah National Park at milepost 51 is Big Meadows. This is the largest developed area of the Park. Big Meadows is the perfect place to enjoy a gorgeous night sky! (Ask us to prepare a picnic lunch to take with you!)

Or, you can stop in at Big Meadows Lodge, which is located one mile from Mile 51 on the Skyline Drive. The Spottswood Dining Room offers signature and seasonal specials and the New Market Taproom has beer, local wine, and great conversation!


A Relaxing Fall Stay in the Valley

Guests of the Iris Inn regularly rave about these three places and recommend them to their friends. We think you will too. Whether you come for a quick weekend getaway or longer, the Shenandoah Valley offers respite in a busy world!

Book your stay with us here.