Adventure Us: 5 Fall Foliage Loops From Roanoke

Fall is here, and according to a tree expert at Virginia Tech, it might be one of the prettiest, most colorful ones we’ve seen in quite some time. Peak fall color is expected from now until October 26, which makes these next few weeks the perfect time to take a little drive through the Blue Ridge to enjoy the Fall 2020 season before it’s gone! Here are a few driving loops that are especially beautiful this time of year.

  1. Roanoke to Peaks of Otter to Bedford via the Blue Ridge Parkway
    Hop on to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head north toward Peaks of Otter, where you can enjoy a stroll around Lake Abbott or a meal in the Lodge restaurant overlooking the lake. Then take an alternate route home using State Route 43 to get to Bedford (or Montvale) and then use Route 11 to loop back to Roanoke. Check a map of this loop here
  2. Roanoke to Mill Mountain to Explore Park via the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and go south toward Mill Mountain, then continue on south to Explore Park and then take Route 220 back into Roanoke (the parkway should be newly reopened south of Explore Park, although Google Maps still shows this route closed as of the writing of this post). 

  1. Salem to Elliston via Bradshaw Road

In Salem, take Electric Road (Route 419) to Route 311 to Bradshaw Road to Elliston. Then you can return to Roanoke on Interstate 81 or Route 11. See this loop here, and adjust it as needed to suit your preferences.

  1. Salem to Blacksburg via Blacksburg Road

Take Electric Road (Route 419) to Route 311 again, but drive on past Bradshaw Road to Blacksburg Road (stopping for a meal at The Homeplace if you catch it open!). Then once you reach Blacksburg, use Interstate 81 to return to Roanoke. Here’s the map for this loop.

  1. Salem to Roanoke via Twelve O’Clock Knob Road
    For a shorter fall loop, try traveling from Salem to Cave Spring via Twelve O’Clock Knob Road. Stop along the way at Poor Mountain Preserve to stretch your legs. See the map for this trip here.

Have you taken any of these loops, or do you plan to this fall? What other fall drives do you try to carve out time for annually? Please share, as we’d love to try a new one this year!

More Adventures from Cristy Carr

Cristy Carr

Cristy and her family keep busy writing, tutoring, homeschooling, homesteading, and adventuring in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.
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