Here are some of the best places to watch the leaves turn in Washington, D.C., this autumn.
Fall is in the air. Before you know it, trees will drop their leaves, and you’ll be sitting around a Thanksgiving table. But before that happens, you will have a short window to see the leaves turn in Washington, D.C.
If spring is known for the Cherry Blossoms, fall is known for the beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange that burst from the District’s trees. Usually peak leaf color changes hit the District of Columbia in mid-to-late October, and when that happens, you have just a few short days before the leaves start falling to the ground.
So, you need to know where to go when this short window hits. Here are three spots to run during the peak season:
From the Capitol building to the Washington Memorial and on to the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall is one of the best places to take in the fall foliage in the District of Columbia. Sitting on 146 acres, the National Mall also includes a four-mile loop for anyone looking to walk or jog through and around some of the capital’s most recognizable monuments.
But the reason the National Mall is on this list isn’t because it is a great place to get out and walk through nature, though it is. No, the National Mall is without a doubt the best place to lay out a blanket, pull out a good book, and just spend an afternoon reading, surrounded by some of the most beautiful autumn colors the District has to offer!
The National Mall is also unique because it is one of the best places to take in Cherry Blossom trees outside of the species’ native Japan. While most of the Cherry Blossom trees bloom in the springtime, there are some trees that end up blooming in autumn. The result is a weird juxtaposition of orange and crimson leaves and pink Cherry Blossom flowers. These autumn-blooming trees tend to bloom in November, so it will be past the peak leaf-changing window. However, it is definitely worth it to take a walk around the National Mall in mid-to-late November and take in fall-blooming Cherry Blossoms.
Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park stretches from the Potomac all the way up towards the Maryland state border, stretching across 12 miles.
This 1,754-acre city park was founded in 1890, making it just the third national park ever to be established by the young American federal government — and one of the only places you can find coyotes in the nation’s capital.
The park has more than 32 miles of hiking paths and trails for you to explore this fall, as well as guided tours that are made available on occasion. The National Park Service has created a brochure to map out some of the park’s most popular hikes. While the park has two main trails that run relatively parallel to one another, there are many connector trails that give visitors the chance to make their own hiking route and see a new part of the park every time they visit! This is one of the best places to get out in nature and see the leaves turn without having to leave Washington, D.C.