Fall Foliage and Cider Along the Beerwerks Trail

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Fall in the Shenandoah Valley brings crisp air, endless blue skies, and brilliantly colored trees. It’s also the peak of cider season, and fortunately, you can enjoy both fall foliage and cider along the Beerwerks Trail. Here’s your guide to area roads and walks that are favored by leaf peepers as well as nearby Beerwerks breweries that serve cider along with delicious craft beer.

Skyline Drive

Arguably one of the best roads in the country for leisure drives, the Skyline Drive runs through Shenandoah National Park for 105 miles. You’ll love the endless panoramic views and the blankets of colorful trees spreading to the Valley floor below. Stop at one (or several) of more than 75 overlooks and trailheads. You’ll see species like red oak and chestnut growing high on the ridges, giving way to mixed hardwood and yellow poplar forests at lower elevations.

Swift Run Gap Entrance Station is 35 minutes from Brothers Craft Brewing

Brothers Craft Brewing created Blonde Betty in collaboration with Bold Rock. It’s “an Imperial American Blonde Ale with juice from fresh pressed apples…and a healthy dose of pie spice.” While not technically a cider, it hits all the apple-y, spicy fall notes you’ve been looking for.

Rockfish Gap Entrance Station is 15 minutes from Seven Arrows Brewing

Relax in the large taproom or in one of the outdoor spaces at Seven Arrows Brewing and enjoy the tastes of fall with their Harvested Apple Lager, which uses 30% cider. You’ll smell the fresh apples and taste the tartness and the apple flavors.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The stunning Blue Ridge Parkway connects the southern end of Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. One of America’s most popular roads for 90 years, the beautiful drive offers regular places to pull over to enjoy the magnificent overviews and leaf extravaganza spreading below. Be sure to scope out the many trails exploring the surrounding wilderness. 

20 minutes from Devils Backbone Outpost Taproom & Kitchen

You can’t go wrong with the offerings at Devils Backbone Outpost Taproom & Kitchen. Relax on the expansive deck, check out the autumn colors, snack on apps and sandwiches, and sample ciders like Winkleberry Elderflower Variant Cider, Apple Dapple, and Sparkling Grapefruit Ale.

Rt. 11

Rt. 11 stretches north and south through the Valley, offering a slower, more scenic alternative to I-81. Once called the Wilderness Road, it was originally formed by Native American hunters. European settlers followed the same pathways, and many of the oldest settlements along this route are separated by the distance that could be covered in a day’s ride. You see laid-back farms and distant mountains, and the road connects Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, as well as many smaller towns and their charming town centers.

5 minutes from Redbeard Brewing Company

Redbeard Brewing Company has an updated taproom with a cool, new mural to check out while you’re sampling their brews. Try the Graf, a beer/cider co-ferment created in collaboration with Ciders from Mars. Graf blends juice from locally grown apples and Mycroft Pale Ale to make something seasonal and phenomenal. 

Route 608

Route 608 connects Lexington to Grottoes and rolls past beautiful farms and along the edge of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Look for a changing palette of deciduous trees on this scenic byway. You’ll pass through Stuarts Draft, where you can find The Cheese Shop and Milmont Greenhouses, as well as the Andre Viette Nursery in Fishersville. You’ll also pass the New Hope site of the 1864 Battle of Piedmont.

2 minutes from Stable Craft Brewing

Stable Craft Brewing will keep you busy all fall long with festive events, lawn games, and live music. If the weather is nippy, gather around a fire pit, toast s’mores, and enjoy the selection of ciders. Offerings include sweet and fruity Blackberry Cider, Just Peachy Cider, and Pear Cider.

Chessie Nature Trail

The Chessie Nature Trail follows the Maury River for 7 miles between Lexington and Buena Vista. The flat, scenic trail is a perfect place for a peaceful stroll or bike ride, and you can enjoy the falling leaves and sounds of the nearby water.

2 minutes from Heliotrope Brewery

Along with its delicious craft beer and artisan pizza, Heliotrope Brewery also serves Virginia-made ciders like Castle Hill Cider’s Celestial and Troddenvale’s House Cider.

Betsy Bell Park

Betsy Bell Wilderness Area isn’t Staunton’s best-known park, but its wooded trails and solitude make it wonderful for a quiet hike. The park has two scenic overlooks that provide views of Staunton from an elevation of 1,959 feet.

10 minutes from Queen City Brewing

There are always lots of choices to make when perusing the Queen City Brewing taps, but you really should try one of the ciders. Ruby Sparkling Sangria and Hard-Pressed Ginger are good options.

Purcell Park

Harrisonburg’s Purcell Park is a pleasant place to stroll and enjoy the seasonal color show without venturing out of the city. This 67-acre park has a 1.5-mile walking trail and a big playground for the kiddos.

6 minutes from Three Notch’d Valley Collab House

Quench your thirst at nearby Three Notch’d Valley Collab House. Along with craft beer, they offer Ring of Fire sweet cider, Blue Toad: In the Orchard, and Blueberry Mint Mojito Cider.