Things to Do

9 of the Best Places to See Fall Foliage Around DC

Grab your camera and enjoy the reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn.

Blandy Experimental Farm. Photograph by Tim Farmer.

As leaves turn vibrant throughout the Washington area, with peak fall foliage predicted for DC around October 24, here are some spots to enjoy the season’s beautiful scenery. 

Boulder Bridge at Rock Creek Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Rock Creek Park 
Northwest DC
Botanist Ana Chuquin recommends checking out both Picnic Grove 1 in the park, to see a panorama of trees when looking east, as well as Boulder Bridge for a classic shot of yellow hickories and red maples. On Beach Drive, between Joyce Road and Boulder Bridge, you’ll also find Rapids Bridge—another picture-perfect spot. For those who want to hike, the trails starting at the end of Colorado Avenue, Northwest, provide great views looking downhill. 

Prince William Forest 
18170 Park Entrance Rd., Triangle,Va.
Visitors can hike alongside the north and south forks of Quantico Creek for views of the leaves reflected in the water. Each trail is surrounded by white oaks, yellow poplars, red maples, and other colorful trees. You might also try the Quantico Cascades Trail that leads to the creek or the Laurel Loop Trail as you explore the expansive woodlands. 

Blandy Experimental Farm 
400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, Va. 
A little over an hour from DC, Blandy Experimental Farm boasts one of the largest gingko groves in North America. Known for their golden leaves, these ginkgos were planted in the 1930s and ’40s. Open every day from dusk until dawn, Blandy Farm is free to the public. 

Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean
Enjoy the park’s dramatic views of the falls surrounded by vibrant fall colors. The River Trail follows the Potomac and offers beautiful clifftop views and some rock scrambling, while the Old Carriage Road offers a completely wooded trail and the North River Trail is a mostly flat walk with excellent tree cover. 

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens  
1550 Anacostia Ave., NE
Explore trails around the ponds, a boardwalk to a tidal marsh, or walk along the river trail to connect with the Anacostia Bike Trail as you enjoy the fall leaves all around you. 

The National Mall 
Southwest DC
The National Mall has tens of thousands of trees over its 1,000 acres, including the tree-lined Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and the many trees along the river near the Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials. 

National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave., NE
Open every day from 8  to 5, the National Arboretum offers 440 acres of gardens and tree groves to explore, along with the National Capitol Columns. 

Dumbarton Oaks
1703 32nd St., NW
The historic Georgetown estate features beautiful gardens first designed in 1921. With a greenhouse, several terraces, a vegetable garden, and an orchard, Dumbarton Oaks features beautiful walkways and peaceful sanctuaries amid the foliage. You can reserve tickets to the gardens for $7 here.

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island’s walking paths include Swamp Trail, whose boardwalk section passes through swampy woods, and the Woods Trails, which leads to the memorial plaza of the island featuring a 17-foot-high bronze statue of the nation’s 26th president.


Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow