Here are 8 great fall hikes in Northern Virginia, perfect when the weather turns cooler and dryer, and the foliage puts on a show. Several of these hikes can be combined with a stop at one of our beautiful Virginia wineries. While these trails are especially pretty with Autumn colors, they are all enjoyable year-round. We’ve linked to more round-ups of great hikes in Northern Virginia below.
1. Potomac Hike: Riverbend to Great Falls Park
This mostly level, dirt trail along the Potomac provides continuous river views. Stop at the Riverbend and Great Falls Visitor Centers to learn about the history and geology of your hike—you’ll pass a stretch of George Washington’s Potowmac Canal. Overlooks at Great Falls and Mather Gorge add dramatic views to the river’s beauty. This is a good hike for families; just turn back if the kids start to get tired. Avoid after a heavy rain or when the river level is high.
2. Mason Neck State Park
The only State Park in Fairfax County, Mason Neck offers several nice trails with bay, woods, and marsh views. It’s a wonderful location for fall hikes in Northern Virginia. The easy, quarter mile Marsh View Trail is ideal for young children or folks with limited mobility. The moderate 2-mile hike to Kane’s Creek provides a little more challenge, ending in a bird blind overlooking the marsh, where we watched bald eagles and herons (bring your binoculars). The popular Bay View Trail combines views of Belmont Bay with marsh and wooded sections in a 1-mile loop. If time allows, you can also walk the paved, 3/4-mile Great Marsh Trail, accessible from Gunston Road