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“Fall” in Love with Bristol

There are plenty of reasons Southern Living recently named Bristol one of the “Ten Prettiest Places for Fall Foliage.” And it starts with South Holston Lake, where you’ll find the surrounding mountain vistas exploding with bright orange, red, and yellow hues when the temperatures start to cool and autumn is in the air.

The setting around the lake, which sits in Tennessee and Virginia, is phenomenal any time of the year, but when October rolls around, there’s nothing like the scenery. The Cherokee National Forest, the western edge of the majestic Appalachian Mountains, and the beautiful waters of the South Holston make this area a perfect location for leaf lookers to enjoy the colorful offerings. And they can do so from a boat, kayak, their favorite fishing spot, or when they’re hiking or biking near the famed Appalachian Trial.

Steele Creek Park, which encompasses more than 2,200 acres, is Tennessee’s third largest municipal park – and it takes autumn awesomeness to an all-new level once the leaves start changing color.

The picturesque park includes a 52-acre lake surrounded by knobs and hills that turn into an artist’s palate of color each fall. You can enjoy the autumn scenery while kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or hiking the more than 24 miles of trails around the park.

The 400-acre Sugar Hollow Park also offers incredible fall foliage views. Whether you’re biking, hiking, or camping, the park offers a gorgeous setting for leaf lookers, who can also enjoy disc golf while taking in the gorgeous sights.

The Mendota Trail, a 12.5-mile hiking and biking recreational corridor, spans tranquil countryside and forests, making it an excellent location to enjoy autumn’s vibrant colors. One of the prettiest spots along the trail features a beautiful trestle known as “Abrams Creek Crossing.” When fall’s colors are at their peak, this area makes for some gorgeous photos!

While Bristol is chock full of stunning locations to see fall foliage, there are plenty of other places nearby that you should check out. An October drive through Cherokee National Forest will take your breath away, while a walk or biking venture along the Virginia Creeper Trail, which runs from Abingdon, Va., to Whitetop, will leave you in awe.

Nearby Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport is popular year-round, but when autumn is in the air, it’s one of the best places in the region to experience the brilliant shades of the season, as is Roan Mountain State Park in nearby Roan Mountain, Tenn. The park sits at the base of Roan Mountain and features a rich hardwood forest awash in vivid orange, yellow, and red when fall comes to the mountains of Northeast Tennessee!

When the leaves start to change color – and if you love music and beauty – you might also want to take a drive along the Crooked Road Music Trail. The trail winds through Southwest Virginia and takes drivers through nearly 300 miles of scenic countryside that is ablaze with color during autumn. It’s a lot of ground to cover, which means an abundance of gorgeous fall foliage along the way!