City Cast

How to Leaf Peep Without a Car

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on September 27
Harper’s Ferry during peak foliage season.

Harper’s Ferry during peak foliage season. (​Jeffrey D. Walters/Getty Images)

It’s leaf peeping season! While Shenandoah might be the gold standard, there are plenty of Metro-accessible spots to see the colors, all without a car.

Harper’s Ferry

This picturesque town is a short train ride from D.C. and is surrounded by a national park. It not only has great fall colors, but the historic town center has ghost tours, B&B’s, and great bites. Hike up the short path to The Point to get the best foliage views.

How to get there: Take Amtrak! The trip takes an hour and costs about $15. The Harper’s Ferry station is  an easy five-minute walk from restaurants and hikes.


Alexandria has some of the biggest trees in the country. Fort Ward Park alone has six “state champions”, a.k.a. the biggest tree of their species in Virginia. Plus, the eateries along the water and reliably over-the-top Halloween decorations make for a perfect fall excursion.

How to get there: Take the yellow line to King Street station and walk towards the water. Alternatively, take the water taxi from the Wharf to Alexandria.

Fall foliage prediction map for this week.

Fall foliage prediction map for this week. (

Capital Crescent

In the fall, this seven-mile trail is like passing through a red and golden tunnel. You can spend a day walking or biking along the Potomac, then stop in Georgetown for a nice lunch.

How to get there: Take the circulator into Georgetown to start at the trail’s south end, or take the red line to Bethesda and walk five minutes to the north end.

Heritage & Kingman Island

This park is home to tidal freshwater wetlands, wildflower meadows, and tidal swamp forests. While it might not be the classic red maples, it still makes for a stunning outdoor adventure.

How to get there: The H Street Streetcar or the X1, X2, and X3 buses will all drop you off about half a mile from the entrance. Stadium-Armory Station and Minnesota Ave Station are both 25-minute walks away.

Need some more ideas? Find more spots on yesterday’s podcast.

Hey DC

Want to know what's happening in D.C.? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey DC. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Urban Almanac

See All

The latest in DC