Fall is such a stunning time in Luray! The mountains are covered in color and there's so many fun harvest related activities throughout town. Plus the weather finally breaks to a nice temperature from the summer heat and hiking becomes something that seems realistic again.
Fall is also an incredibly busy time to visit Luray and Shenandoah. We've waiting almost an hour to get past the Shenandoah National Park Entrance during peak colors - so being prepared is key! Here are some of our things that you should know for visiting Luray and Shenandoah National Park during the fall.
When to Visit
Peak fall colors for Luray is usually around the last week of October or the first week of November. The colors can start changing a while before that, so any time in October is a safe bet that you will start to see some leaves changing.
If you want to start tracking the changes or learning more about when to expect some beautiful leaves - check on Shenandoah's Fall Color Report website to see their yearly changes throughout the park. Smoky Mountains also has a great annual fall foliage predictor that shows how the colors change across the country over time.
Overall though, you can never really predict when will be peak season, so always be sure to keep an eye on the weather the days before your visit. Big winds/rain will affect how long the beautiful trees keep their leaves.
Fave Fall Hikes
There are so many amazing hikes in Luray and Shenandoah, it's hard to pick just a few! I would say that for how busy the fall gets, I would try and pick non-popular hikes and also ones with larger parking lots! There will be a ton of people flocking to the well-known hikes (Stoney Man, Mary's Rock, Old Rag) - but the views will be less crowded and just as stunning elsewhere!
Miller's Head Trail - 1.5 miles, 354 ft. elevation
This hike is super close to Skyland resort with plenty of parking, so great to add on if you were going to go to the gift shop/restaurant or planning on hiking Stoney Man. It's a little hard to find, so be sure to pull up your map in advance, but the views are stunning and it was completely deserted when we went!
Mary's Rock - North Approach - 3.4 miles, 1,200 ft. elevation
If you still want to go to Mary's Rock, we would recommend the North Approach. It's a little longer and more elevation, but the trail is quieter and the parking lot is the rest area instead of just a tiny pull-off.
Other Fall Activities
Valley Star Farm - You pick pumpkin farm near the house with stunning views of the mountains of Shenandoah. Perfect for an afternoon filled with jack-o-lantern carving and pumpkin seeds.
Thornton River Orchard and Market - A great farmers market on the other side of the mountain that offers local produce and goodies! Not pick-your-own, but still a fun place to visit while heading in to Luray or to Sperryville
Jenkins Orchard - Pick-your-own apple orchard that's a great day trip out! Go grab some apples and then head back to the house to make some apple crumble or apple pie.
Grab a Seasonal Cocktail at the Copper Fox - While over near Sperryville, head to one of our favorite local distilleries for a cider-inspired beverage and some yummy food for lunch!