5 Scenic Fall Drives in Southwest Virginia

Leaf season is fast approaching, and the Abingdon area has plenty of opportunities to see gorgeous autumn color. Make Abingdon your home base for a perfect fall weekend getaway, then plan a day trip to check out one of these five scenic drives.

Mount Rogers Scenic Byway

Mount Rogers Scenic Byway treats you to an incredible visual experience as it laces back and forth over whitewater streams and passes the southwest slopes of Whitetop Mountain. Mt. Rogers, at 5,729 feet, is the highest point in Virginia and the focal point of the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area.

Hop out of the car and stretch your legs on The Virginia Creeper Trail, a spectacular 34.3 mile long rail-trail.

30 minutes from Abingdon. Read more.

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is home to the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is home to the Virginia Creeper Trail.

US Route 58 from Abingdon to Grayson Highlands State Park

Crossing Mount Rogers on Route 58 between Damascus and Independence is an adventure of winding roads, but it is worth the drive to experience the natural beauty and wonders of the Mount Rogers area. Take a moment to pull off and enjoy a picnic beside a tumbling waterfall, or hike one of the many trails to that lead into Jefferson National Forest. Grayson Highlands State Park is at the top of the drive and plenty of hiking trails can be found at the park.

10 minutes from Abingdon. Read more.

Grayson Highlands State Park Ponies

Wild ponies graze the balds at Grayson Highlands State Park near Abingdon, VA. Photo by Bob Diller

The Back of the Dragon

Extremely popular with motorcyclists for its breathtaking scenery and breathtakingly sharp curves. See spectacular views along Route 16 between Marion and Tazewell. Near Tazewell, the fertile Thompson Valley spreads out before you.

30 minutes from Abingdon. Read more.

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most popular scenic drives in America, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs over 80 miles through Southwest Virginia. Hop on at Lovers Leap (2 hours from Abingdon) or Fancy Gap (1 hour 15 minutes from Abingdon).

 

The Crooked Road

Combine the sights of autumn with the sounds of Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. This winding road covers 333 miles, but you can make it a day trip from Abingdon by starting at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, and heading west to The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, VA, with live music every Saturday night. Along the way, stop in at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol.

Begins in Abingdon. Read more.

Explore the musical traditions of Appalachia along The Crooked Road: Southwest Virginia's Heritage Music Trail

Explore the musical traditions of Appalachia along The Crooked Road: Southwest Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail

Abingdon, VA

 

Abingdon is the perfect launching pad to explore Southwest Virginia’s scenic drives.   This artsy mountain town is the home of the famous Barter Theatre, where Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Ernest Borgnine and other entertainment giants have performed. For those whose idea of play time includes shopping, nightlife or live music, fun is always on tap. Main Street and the historic downtown district is filled with great restaurants and unique shops and galleries. A craft beer brewery and winery are nearby. Don’t miss Heartwood – Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway where you’ll find crafts, gifts, delicious food and live music.

Click here for lodging information and more tools to plan your trip, or request a visitor guide today.

A fall streetscape in historic downtown Abingdon, Virginia.

The historic district of Abingdon, VA is filled with unique shopping and dining choices.