Eagle Rock (elevation 2,595 feet) straddles the state line between Virginia and West Virginia. It’s located about 10 miles northwest of Strasburg, Virginia. The overlook is named after a huge rock that resembles a flying eagle when viewed from behind. Eagle Rock provides a great view of the western Shenandoah Valley and was one target of our photography trip this past weekend to find fall foliage in peak color.
When we arrived, the foliage was slightly past peak at the summit of the mountain, near Eagle Rock, but lower down on the east slope of the mountain and along the western side of the Shenandoah Valley the trees were still near peak color. On the the western slope of the mountain, however, the leaves were past peak.
At Capon Springs, located just west of Eagle Rock and at the base of the mountain, there were just enough colorful leaves remaining in the trees to provide the setting for some fun fall photography.
The most challenging aspect about the photo shoot was the drive west. Rt 29 was closed near Gainesville for construction which created a five mile back up on I-66 as traffic was detoured west on I-66 to Rt 15. To avoid the backup, we took Rt 50 west to Rt 15 south, but we still encountered plenty of traffic and delays. In general, the drive to the mountains during peak foliage season is often quite congested. Plan extra time when taking a trip to check out the fall colors.
Once we passed Rt 15, the traffic flowed very quickly and we made good time as we crossed the Shenandoah Valley. Along the way, we noticed the Blue Ridge seemed to be near peak but the colors were slightly dull. This was also noticed last week during a photo shoot of the northern Shenandoah Valley, while slightly better color was found south along the Blue Ridge on a separate photo shoot along Skyline Drive.
Mounting evidence from our own recent travels, as well as others who are often out checking the leaves from year-to-year, seems to continue to indicate that color is generally not as vibrant as it can be in the best seasons. But, even a lower-color autumn still provides some awesome scenery.
Saturday evening, after the sun set behind the mountains and our photo shoot was complete, we were treated to an old-fashioned Capon Springs dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy in the resort’s main dining hall. Unfortunately, we had to leave for home before the Saturday night bonfire and hot dog roast. Maybe next time.
As Brendan reminded last Friday, don’t wait until it’s too late. Peak color will continue to work southeast across the region fairly rapidly in the coming period, and any windstorms once that time hits tend to send those leaves flying.
Some more of our favorites from Saturday…