Fall in Shenandoah

 
A leaf-covered road runs through a stand of yellow trees in the fall.
 

Learn and Explore

The typical fall season in Shenandoah National Park encompasses late September, October, and November with average daytime temperatures ranging from 49°F to 60°F. Similar to spring, however, temperatures can swing drastically from colder nights to warmer days, so it's important to check the weather forecast before coming to the Park. And remember to layer!

 

Fall weekends bring two things: gorgeous fall foliage and large crowds. As the weather begins to cool and the trees exchange their leaves of green for reds, oranges, and yellows, visitors come from all over to experience all that Shenandoah National Park has to offer. If you're planning on visiting during this busy time, however, there are few things that you need to plan for in order to get the most out of your fall trip:

Avoid the Crowds

At the trailhead: fall is typically our busiest time of year. For the best chance of avoiding crowded trails and full parking lots, try to visit Shenandoah during the week. If a parking area is full, it's time to move on to another trail. We're having some challenges with improperly parked vehicles, so be sure all four wheels are off the pavement, and don't block roads, gates, or others. And think SAFETY! Use this busy time of year to look for the hidden gems that are less traveled!

At entrance stations: the two most northern entrances, Front Royal and Thornton Gap, are the busiest and have the longest waits. Try a nice circuit trip south through the lowlands on Route 29 to the east or on Route 340 to the west to Swift Run (Route 33) or Rockfish (Route 64) entrance stations, and then return via the Skyline Drive.

At campgrounds: fall weekends are already fully booked! Can you plan a weekday adventure? There are first-come, first-served sites at all campgrounds but, it's important to know: You cannot reserve a first-come, first-served site by calling the Park directly; you must be at the campground in person. These sites fill quickly — usually by Thursday evening. Be sure to know which sites are first-come, first-served sites (There are signs!) if you want to stay more than one night. If you choose a reservable site, you will have to vacate Friday morning.

Fall Color

Wondering what's up with the color in Shenandoah? We've devised several ways to keep you posted, but remember: the Park is over 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area, and weather affects the color from hour-to-hour. Because of this, it's impossible to predict a peak time for fall color. Heres what we're doing to keep you up-to-date on current leaf conditions in the Park:

  1. Every Week: photos will be posted on our social media (Instagram and Facebook) from three different photo points throughout the Park. We'll ask other visitors to post their photos so that you can see what others are seeing as well. You can also view photos from various points in the Park in our photo album below.
  2. Every Thursday (2 PM EST): we'll premiere our Fall Broadcast on Facebook. This video update will also be on our website and YouTube.
  3. Every day: check our view from the valley webcam to see the color progression up the mountain, or see our air quality webcam to see what one mountain peak in Shenandoah looks like in real time.

You may also want to check out the Smoky Mountains fall color prediction map, the Virginia Department of Forestry fall foliage report, or see fall broadcasts and fall photos from past years in Shenandoah.

 
 
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Duration:
35 minutes, 45 seconds

Week 2 of the fall broadcasts aired LIVE from Big Meadows. Our Chief Ranger and a PSAR Ranger joined us to discuss essential hiking tips and additional advice for safely enjoying your visit in Shenandoah.

 
 

Last updated: September 30, 2022

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Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray , VA 22835

Phone:

540 999-3500
Emergency Phone: 1-800-732-0911

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