Tourism Office releases second fall foliage report

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) — Many of the higher elevations of West Virginia are peaking this weekend as the West Virginia Tourism Office releases its autumn forecast to help travelers enjoy peak leaf season.

The forecast, prepared with assistance from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, is the second in a series of fall foliage updates the Tourism Office will release over the next few weeks. Reports will include the percentage of color change across the state and suggested travel routes through peak areas.

“West Virginia is having one of the best fall color seasons in several years, and it’s just the beginning,” said West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “As the only state completely covered by the Appalachian Mountain Range, our elevation ranges allow the color to change gradually across the state—creating a long leaf-peeping season and even more time to enjoy autumn color.”

Travelers are encouraged to share their favorite fall photos using #AlmostHeaven to help populate the Tourism Office’s live leaf map—available at WVtourism.com/fall.

“It’s been great getting to see so many beautiful photos added to the map each week,” said Ruby. “It’s our hope that these vivid views will inspire travel, when the time is right, to the Mountain State.”

Travelers visiting West Virginia to see fall color are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. A statewide indoor face covering requirement is in effect and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance when traveling the state.

To access the foliage forecast and fall travel inspiration, visit WVtourism.com/fall.

Fall Foliage Update

The mountains of eastern West Virginia from Pocahontas County in the south to Preston County in the north are starting to show some beautiful warm hues, with color at about 70%, so this may be a good time to plan visits to iconic locations like Spruce Knob or Highland Scenic Highway. The higher elevations of Tucker County are at 80% and color is expected to peak this weekend, so if you were thinking about visiting Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks, this may be your last chance this season to view the best color.

Featured Country Road: W.Va. 26 to W.Va. 24

A great area to view fall colors this week is along W.Va. 26 and W.Va. 24 in Preston County. This scenic route features the picturesque Cheat River and winds through charming mountain towns.

Begin your road trip at Coopers Rock State Forest. At the main overlook, you can view fall color as far as the eye can see. Or hike the Ravens Rock trail to another overlook where you can snap some vibrant panoramic photos.

From Bruceton Mills, take W.Va. 26 to Albright, then follow the Cheat River to the old railroad town of Rowlesburg on W.Va. 72. Take 72 to U.S. 50 east and follow 50 to W.Va. 24 just past Aurora. Make a stop at Cathedral State Park—an ancient hemlock forest of majestic proportions and marvel at trees that are up to 90 feet tall and 16 feet in circumference.

Most of the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows you will see on this drive are maples. While the dark red to purple is black gum and the red vines are Virginia creeper. Birch and poplar add more yellow to the forested hillsides.

As you travel down these fall-lined country roads, post and share photos using #AlmostHeaven. To read more about this featured road trip click here.

For fall color photos and b-roll, click here.

About West Virginia Tourism Office

The West Virginia Tourism Office promotes West Virginia as a leading four-season travel destination and top state to live, work and retire.

Known as the Mountain State, West Virginia is one of the most scenic states in the United States and home to the beautiful Monongahela National Forest, six national parks, and 45 state parks and forests. In addition to its majestic mountains and rolling hills, West Virginia is full of rich historic sites, enchanting art galleries, charming towns and an immense sense of belonging found only in its heaven-like landscapes.

For more information about West Virginia and to plan your trip, visit WVtourism.com.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com