Watching the leaves change

Watching the leaves change

Autumn is a beautiful time to spend in Washington County, where the mornings carry a crisp chill, the last of the flowers fade away, and the trees begin to change color.
This is a great time for watching the leaves turn to those brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Autumn does something to our souls - it invigorates us, makes us smile, and warms our hearts.
Below are some wonderful spots to sit and take in nature and watch the leaves change:
Western Maryland Rail Trail: 301-842-2155; www.hancockmd.com/WMRT/index.html
The trail provides a unique paved hiking and biking experience. Antietam National Battlefield: Md. 65, Sharpsburg; 301-432-5124
General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was ended on this battlefield on September 17, 1862.
Catoctin Mountain Park: 6602 Foxville Rd, Thurmont, MD (20 miles east of Hagerstown, Maryland. From Hagerstown, take Route 77); 301-663-9330
Part of the forested ridge that forms the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains in Maryland, this mountain park has sparkling streams and panoramic vistas of the Monocacy Valley.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park: 324 E. Main St, Hancock; 301-678-5463; 205 W. Potomac St, Williamsport; 301-582-0813
The old canal towpath now provides a way for hikers and bikers to see the beautiful Potomac River Valley. A small portion of the towpath near Harpers Ferry National Historical Park doubles as a section of the Appalachian Trail.
Devil's Backbone Park: Md. 68, near Boonsboro
This beautiful park is the second oldest of Washington County's parks and includes a picnic pavilion, restrooms, play equipment, picnic tables, grills, a drinking fountain, horseshoe court and parking area.
Doub's Woods Park: 1307 S. Potomac St, Hagerstown; 240-313-2700
Heavily wooded park with performing arts pavilion, picnic areas, picnic pavilion, swings, and outdoor chapel.
Fort Frederick State Park: Big Pool; 301-842-2155
Fort Frederick is one of the largest fortifications built by English colonists in North America. It was unique because of its large size and strong stone wall.
Gathland State Park: Junction of Gapland and Arnoldstown Rds, Burkittsville; 301-791-4767
This beautiful park sits 17 miles southeast of Hagerstown where Gapland Road crosses South Mountain. Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of an unusual man named George Alfred Townsend.
Greenbrier State Park: 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro; 301-791-4767
Circling a 43-acre lake that provides swimming, fishing and boating.
Maryland Heights at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: 304-535-6029
A beautiful park that occupies three states. Site of John Brown's Raid.
Pangborn Park: 530 Pangborn Blvd, Hagerstown; 301-739-8577 x169
This beautiful park features pavilions, play equipment, lighted tennis courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, softball fields, a pond, and a garden.
Pen Mar Park: High Rock Rd, Cascade; 240-313-2700
This redeveloped 42-acre park provides a panoramic view of the Cumberland Valley.
Pleasant Valley Park: Southern Washington County
This beautiful park has a multipurpose field, picnic pavilion & tables, play equipment, and a basketball/tennis court.
South Mountain State Park: 301-791-4767
This state park runs along the ridge of South Mountain from Pen-Mar to Weaverton, linking many of the local parks and the Appalachian Trail.
Washington Monument State Park: East of Boonsboro; 301-791-4767
This park is home to the first monument built in honor of George Washington in addition to offering camping for youth groups, picnicking, and shelters.