Leaves are changing color, and there’s a fresh autumnal smell in the air—what a good excuse to explore the great outdoors! Pull on your hiking boots, grab plenty of water, and perhaps a sweater too—because fall is the perfect season for hitting the trail with your little adventurers. To give you an idea of the adventures that lie ahead, we’ve rounded up the best autumn hikes in the country. From mountain rambles and forested strolls to historic walks and more, you can discover them all in the album below.

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Staunton River State Park – Scottsburg, Va

One of the six original state parks that opened in 1936, Staunton River has a variety of terrain—from woodlands and meadows to the sandy shoreline of Buggs Island Lake. Much of the landscape is unchanged from the times when Revolutionary and Civil War troops camped here. There are several hikes to choose from but the best one to try with mini-hikers is the easy Tutelo Trail.

Insider Tip: Staunton River State Park is certified by the International Dark-Sky Association. This means the night skies are very dark there and minimally impacted by city lights. The park hosts Star Parties twice a year.

Online: dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/staunton-river

photo: Virginia State Parks via Flickr

Can you recommend a favorite fall hiking spot in your neck of the woods? Tell us about it in the comments below!

— Helen Walker Green