Fall is rapidly sliding by, and will soon take with it the opportunity to enjoy the wide array of hues currently put on display by trees all over the northeast. Now is a great time to escape the city for some fresh air, while it is still crisp fall breezes and not yet blustery, biting winter winds. Instead of the usual upstate and New England destinations, adventurous New Yorkers might find Shenandoah National Park an exciting alternative. Located just west of Washington, DC in Virginia, this expansive park has a wide range of hiking and camping options and is a spectacular way to experience the colors of fall. For example, the most popular hike known as the ‘Old Rag Ascent’ is a challenging 2.8 mile climb featuring thrilling rock scrambling, treacherous stretches along exposed ledges, slips through crevices and 12-foot cracks in the mountain, and several breathtaking views along the way that build the anticipation for the ultimate summit panorama. At this point many leaves have fallen, creating colorfully carpeted trails and clear views through the trees at more places than usual. Since the trees at higher elevations shed their leaves first, those less adventurous nature-seekers can easily enjoy the trees at peak foliage through a simple walk in the woods or even a trip along the scenic Skyline Drive which winds through the park, offering 75 different overlooks along the way. Additional ways to enjoy the park include bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, birdwatching, or searching for any of the numerous types of wildlife that are often spotted. This natural attraction is the perfect way to take a break from the city and really experience autumn at its best. Just rent a car, grab some hiking boots, and prepare to be dazzled by colors of nature.
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