How to See Fall Foliage Along the Beerwerks Trail

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The Shenandoah Valley is one of the best places in the country to enjoy autumn and the brilliant fall foliage it brings. Virginia’s long-lasting foliage season peaks in October, and leaf peepers can enjoy crisp air, endless blue skies, and the incredible reds, yellows, and golds adorning the trees all month long. It’s also a wonderful time to explore the Beerwerks Trail and sip craft beer. Here’s your guide to Beerwerks breweries in the trail’s three zones and nearby parks, hikes, and drives that offer showstopping fall colors.

If you’re traveling around the Beerwerks Trail, make sure you grab a Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail Passport and visit multiple zones on our map. Enjoy a beer and get a stamp. Eight stamps in at least two zones earns you a t-shirt!

Zone A’s Hiking and Biking Hotspots

Located at the northern end of the Beerwerks Trail, Zone A includes the breweries in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. 

  • BrewHaHa Brewing Company
  • Brothers Craft Brewing
  • Cave Hill Farms Brewery
  • Elkton Brewing Co.
  • The Friendly Fermenter
  • Pale Fire Brewing Co.
  • Restless Moons Brewing Company
  • Three Notch’d Valley Collab House

Arguably one of the best roads in the country for leaf peeping, the 105-mile Skyline Drive runs through the heavily forested Shenandoah National Park. Stop at one of the 75 overlooks for panoramic views, and in many cases, trailheads leading to summits or waterfalls. You’ll love the endless gazing out over the blankets of colorful trees spreading to the Valley floor below. 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.

Harrisonburg’s Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park’s system of stacked-loop trails is a great way for mountain bike riders of all levels to hit the singletrack and enjoy the seasonal colors without leaving the city. Another way to enjoy the foliage from your bike is on the slopes at 4-season Massanutten Resort. Fall activities include hiking, scenic chairlift rides, lift-served downhill mountain biking, and E-Bike tours on the Western Slope. 

Community Events

Zone B’s Peaceful Parks

Zone B’s central location on the Beerwerks Trail includes the breweries in Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County. 

  • Basic City Beer Co.
  • Queen City Brewing
  • Stable Craft Brewing
  • Seven Arrows Brewing
  • Redbeard Brewing Company

You won’t believe that you’re still in Staunton as you kick through fallen leaves on the quiet, wooded trails at Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Two scenic overlooks provide unexpected views of the city and its blanket of fall colors from an elevation of 1,959 feet. Staunton’s Montgomery Hall Park offers a similar experience of being immersed in nature on miles of quiet trails, yet moments from downtown.

Waynesboro’s South River Greenway delivers excellent views of the natural and urban landscapes along the river. Framed by autumn colors, the flat, paved trail stretches for two miles connecting neighborhoods, parks, and downtown culture. Coyner Springs Park, another Waynesboro gem, is an ideal place to take your dog, your disc golf game, or your camera. Let the pup run in the large, open leash-free area, then leash him up for a ramble along the trails.

George Washington and Jefferson National Forest boasts thousands of acres to enjoy the changing seasons. Sherando Lake Recreation Area and Todd Lake Recreation Area both have trail systems with lovely mountain lakes and forest views.

Community Events

  • Celebrate the season with beer, German food, and live music at Oktoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum (October 7).
  • Staunton Jams (October 13-14) is a bi-annual celebration of music, art, and food featuring local bands playing music throughout the city of Staunton.
  • Don’t miss Waynesboro’s 52nd annual Fall Foliage Art Show on October 14-15. The largest outdoor festival of its kind in the Shenandoah Valley, downtown Waynesboro hosts over 150 artists displaying works in various media, live music, festival food, beer, and activities for kids.
  • The annual Fall Foliage Bike Festival (October 20-22) provides a variety of well-marked routes suitable for riders of all abilities and a weekend of sightseeing, food, music, and activities.
Waynesboro Fall Foliage Art show and festival, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (Photo by Norm Shafer).

Zone C’s Stunning Autumn Drives and Hikes

Zone C is located at the southern end of the Beerwerks Trail and includes the breweries in Lexington, Natural Bridge, and Rockbridge County. 

  • Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery
  • Heliotrope Brewery
  • Devils Backbone Outpost Taproom & Kitchen
  • Rockbridge Vineyard and Brewery 

You’ll be blown away by the seasonal mountain and Valley views from the Blue Ridge Parkway. This road winds along the ridgeline between the southern end of Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and offers regular places to pull over to enjoy the leafy extravaganza below. Be sure to scope out the many trails exploring the surrounding wilderness. 

Take a peaceful stroll or family bike ride on the Chessie Nature Trail, which follows the Maury River for seven miles between Lexington and Buena Vista. The flat, scenic trail follows an old railroad bed and provides views of the woodland, farmland, and the nearby water.

An easy hike in Natural Bridge State Park rewards with views of the commanding limestone arch framed by blazing seasonal hues. Serious hikers can tackle the climb to the summit of House Mountain for panoramic views and stunning fall colors.

Route 608 is a lovely backroad that 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, Fishersville, and the New Hope site of the 1864 Battle of Piedmont.

Community Events

  • Biketoberfest (October 7, noon – 6 pm) is a celebration of the season featuring mapped, bike rides between three family-owned Rockbridge County breweries. Look for new beers, food, and live music! Plan to linger at Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery for their 30th Annual Harvest Festival, which will feature beer, wine, live music, food, and fun.