Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park…been there, done that. I fought the traffic to get out there from Washington D.C., the long line to get in the gate, the slow pace inside the park, and the crowds on every viewpoint. So, for my fall foliage fix this year, I decided to get out and walk. Of course, I still drove all the way out to Front Royal, VA because that is the place to go for the variety of colors and quantities of trees one desires from landscapes in autumn.
The trail I selected was the Buzzard Rock North
hike in the George Washington National Forest because it was an easy up and back that wasn’t too long, since I’m a novice when it comes to hiking. Plug the coordinates into your GPS (38.93773, -78.28855) and get there early because the parking lot is small, maybe only holding 15 cars.
The trail is pretty obvious, with some rockiness, but no large boulders to maneuver around. I would still wear good hiking shoes because the leaves can be slippery – wet or dry. If you seem lost on the trail, trees are marked with a white stripe to keep you on track. The first viewpoint points west and is of farms and nice slopes of trees.
There is also a beautiful river bordered by trees to give your photos a nice leading line.
Climbing along the ridge line of Buzzard Rock, there’s an overlook just below the trail that looks to the south where you can capture more fall color.
Total climb took no more than two hours, and that was walking at a casual pace and with stops along the top for photos. I saw a lot of families with smaller kids with them, so it seems like a good intro hike – for novices like me and kids! Get out and capture the leaves before they are all gone!