We’re lucky to live in Richmond because we get to experience a genuinely beautiful fall season! The cool autumn winds have arrived and kicked out the last bits of summer. Fall is here, and with fall comes fall hikes!
Red Wing of Richmond has experienced many seasonal turns here, and we think fall is truly special. Some cities are locked in urban sprawl, all concrete, pavement, and steel, making it easy to lose track of changes in nature. Richmond, on the other hand, is dotted with natural beauty that just explodes in vibrant color this time of year.
Maybe your morning commute takes you over the James River, and you get to see broad swathes of trees changing colors in the distance. Or maybe a cool, damp breeze blows a handful of brightly-colored leaves onto your work site. You see these little fall reminders, and they’re nice, but they leave you wanting more. It’s hard to experience bits and pieces of autumn and not want to immerse yourself in it fully.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy fall is by going hiking. There’s nothing quite like hitting one of the nearby trails and feeling the satisfying crunch of leaves under our Red Wing boots. Thankfully, Virginia has a number of top-quality hikes close to Richmond.
Whether you’re an experienced trail master looking for a challenge or a hiking novice who just wants to experience the change of seasons, our three favorite hikes close to Richmond should give you some good ideas on how to enjoy Virginia’s fall weather.
Let’s start close to home. At just over 6 miles, this trail is perfect for a quick fall excursion, taking no more than a few hours to complete. It’s the perfect loop if you want to breathe the autumn air without giving up your whole Saturday.
The Buttermilk / Northbank trail blurs the lines between Richmond’s urban, historical, and natural elements. Starting near Tredegar Ironworks, the trail takes you under Lee Bridge straight to Belle Isle, where you can check out ruins of Richmond’s Civil War history. From there, you can explore the woodsy parts of the Buttermilk Trail and get your fix on fall hues.
Next, the trails loop you around the Nickel Bridge and up into the famed Hollywood Cemetery, a perfectly somber locale for late October. Following the trail puts you right back where you started, making it an easy loop for most hikers.
Looking to get away from the city for a day? Crabtree Falls is just a couple hours west of Richmond. It’s one of the few fall hikes takes only a couple hours to complete. The trail is renowned for its system of stunningly beautiful waterfalls, and the hike gives you multiple different angles and opportunities from which to view them.
From the parking area, the trail takes you through a series of switchbacks to the top of the falls and across beautiful wooden footbridges along the Crabtree stream. By retracing your steps, you’ll land right back where you started! Hikers praise the gorgeous views along Crabtree, but the dirt trails can get a little slippery after fall showers. We suggest wearing sturdy shoes for this hike!
Possibly the best views of Virginia’s color-changing forests lie at the top of Old Rag Mountain. Seated in Shenandoah National Park just a couple hours north of Richmond, this challenging hike takes almost 6 hours to complete but is well worth the time and effort.
The first few miles of this hike follow an increasingly steep series of switchbacks leading to the first of Old Rag’s panoramic vistas. From there, the trail gets progressively rockier, and you’ll have to scramble and engage in some hand over hand climbing. You’ll pass by the mountain’s minor summit and things will level out somewhat. After a bit more rock hopping, the trail takes you to the true summit! It’s an absolutely stunning 360° panorama view, looking out over miles of Virginia forest.
The way back down isn’t too rigorous. There are a few path options to take, but it’s only a little over two miles. There are a handful of shelters to rest in as you go, as well.
Wherever you end up taking your fall hikes, make sure you’re well equipped! You need to be able to handle anything Mother Nature throws at you. Start by getting the right pair of hiking boots for the job. Red Wing makes some of the best hiking boots you can find anywhere. Whether you’re looking for waterproof logger boots, to steel-toed trail boots, or all-around outdoor boots, we’ve definitely got something in stock for you. Stop by any of our 3 Richmond area locations before your next hike, and see if the shoe fits.