This text was produced in partnership with West Virginia Division of Tourism.
Whether or not you’re desperately clinging on to the final glimmer of summer time or eagerly counting right down to the primary day of fall, one factor’s for sure—autumn is coming. It’s time to seize your gear, pack your baggage, and cargo up the automotive for that leaf peeping street journey you’ve been speaking about.
The crisp autumn air begins working its magic in late September, remodeling summer time’s lush canopies into sepia-tinted masterpieces throughout the nation. However Mom Nature saves one in every of her most spectacular seasonal performances for West Virginia, the place issues are (fairly actually) taken to new heights.
The Mountain State is, not surprisingly, blessed with an superior vary of elevation. This wealthy and various topography permits the autumn foliage to progressively reveal itself in waves for weeks on finish. Relying on what a part of Nearly Heaven you’re exploring, you could possibly both be a pair hundred or just a few thousand ft above sea stage, with nothing however beautiful vistas and jaw-dropping panoramas so far as the attention can see. Belief us…it’s a present you gained’t need to miss.
Beech and birch bushes erupt in good explosions of gold. Scarlet oak and sumac bushes change into blanketed in crimson. And a few species like witch hazel, hornbeam, and white oak bushes dish out technicolored palettes that mix shades of copper, ochre, and burnt sienna.
So whether or not you’re gazing out from a mountain overlook, wandering the winding trails, or having fun with the views throughout a statewide street journey, there’s a whole season of leaf peeping simply ready to be found this fall in West Virginia. Don’t miss the prospect to see the majestic surroundings for your self—right here’s the right way to plan an unforgettable leaf peeping journey in Nearly Heaven.
When to Go
The cooler temperatures usually begin hitting West Virginia’s greater elevations in late September. Areas just like the Potomac Highlands change into painted in bursts of burgundy, chestnut, and marigold. As the colourful hues begin washing over the treetops, in-the-know guests head to iconic websites like Snowshoe Mountain and Canaan Valley Resort State Park to catch an early glimpse. Make sure to go to Monongahela Nationwide Forest. The nationwide recreation space incorporates Seneca Rocks (paradise for rock climbers) and Spruce Knob, West Virginia’s highest peak, clocking in at 4,863 ft above sea stage.
Quickly after, the flood of fall colours makes its option to Mountaineer Country and the Greenbrier Valley, dazzling onlookers in Historic Lewisburg and Stonewall Resort State Park. By late-October, the Northern Panhandle is normally in full swing. The area’s Tomlinson Run State Park converts right into a spellbinding autumnal oasis, drawing hikers and campers in the hunt for the altering leaves. It’s additionally the proper time to go to the Mid-Ohio Valley, flaunting scorching spots like Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park and the North Bend Rail Trail.
Towards the tip of the month, the dazzling show prepares for its closing act. That is if you’ll need to discover areas just like the Eastern Panhandle, Metro Valley, and New River-Greenbrier Valley. You can too select to witness Mom Nature’s mesmerizing exhibition at different fashionable websites shut by, like Babcock State Park and Hawks Nest State Park.
Can’t-Miss Leaf Peeping Locations
Babcock State Park: Babcock State Park is a fan favourite all 12 months lengthy, however it’s an actual showstopper within the fall. Situated in Clifftop, the beloved park boasts 4,127 acres of placing surroundings that lures daredevils of all disciplines, from mountain bikers to whitewater rafters. It additionally occurs to be probably the most photographed spots in your complete state, because of its iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill (above). The totally practical construction is a duplicate of the unique Cooper’s Mill, which previously operated on the grounds. The rustic campsite is an idyllic haven to make use of as a basecamp throughout your go to, full with 28 electrical hook-up websites, 24 non-electric websites, and fully stocked cabins obtainable to company.
Blackwater Falls State Park: Don’t be misled by the title…Blackwater Falls comes alive within the fall with probably the most vibrant foliage shows within the state. Tucked away within the Potomac Highlands and surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls truly attracts its title from the amber-colored waters that rush from its namesake 62-foot cascade, darkened by the tannic acid launched from fallen hemlock and purple spruce needles. The park affords loads of picture-perfect moments, from the waterfall viewing platforms to Pendleton Level Overlook and Lindy Point Overlook, which friends throughout the Blackwater River Canyon. Desk Rock is one other can’t-miss spot inside the park. The famed rock climbing website affords spectacular mountain vistas and may be discovered towards the far western finish of Canaan Loop Highway. There are additionally 75 primitive campsites strung alongside the 18-mile street, which make for a magical getaway.
Dolly Sods Wilderness: A part of the Nationwide Wilderness Preservation System, Dolly Sods Wilderness sprawls throughout greater than 17,000 acres inside the Monongahela National Forest. Right here, elevations vary from 2,500 to over 4,700 ft, lending to drastic demonstrations of fall foliage that cowl the spectrum from butterscotch to wealthy mahogany. Fishing, searching, and tenting are all desired actions at Dolly Sods, however the most effective leaf peeping experiences exist alongside its 47 miles of trails, most of which comply with weathered railroad grades and outdated logging pathways. Within the Nineteen Forties, the army used this area for World Warfare II maneuvers and mountain coaching. Although the realm has been swept, hikers are inspired to remain on designated paths as there should be reside mortar shells.
Coopers Rock State Forest: Ask any West Virginian to rattle off their favourite spots to look at the autumn leaves change, and likelihood is Coopers Rock State Forest will rank excessive up on their listing. Situated in Bruceton Mills, this iconic forest covers greater than 12,700 acres—so there’s no scarcity of foliage to see. The principle overlook offers option to sweeping views of the Cheat River Gorge that stretch on for miles and miles. Immerse your self within the motion by exploring the forest’s 50-plus miles of zigzagging mountaineering and biking trails. There’s additionally a six-acre, trout-filled pond on the north facet of the forest, offering a quiet retreat to understand the autumn surroundings in all its glory.
Harpers Ferry Nationwide Historic Park: Should you’re on the hunt for an Instagram-worthy, autumn-themed escape, look no additional than Harpers Ferry. This cozy little city serves up all of the quintessential fall vibes you possibly can think about. The historic group sits on the convergence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. It’s chock-full of waterfront views, stunning brick buildings, and charming storefronts, eating places, and museums. It’s the proper place to walk the quiet tree-lined streets with a scorching apple cider in hand. Guests may also trek to serene overlooks, hike alongside skirmish strains from the Civil Warfare, or be part of a ranger-guided wilderness tour. A go to to Harpers Ferry feels such as you’re turning again the arms of time to a picturesque, bygone period.
The place to Keep to Take Benefit of Fall Foliage
Blackwater Falls State Park: Tucked away within the mountains of Tucker County, Blackwater Falls State Park affords an intensive vary of outside excursions for guests. The park was formally established within the Thirties, however the space had been attracting journey fans because the early 1800s. Its key options embrace the namesake Blackwater Falls, in addition to Elakala Falls, Lindy Level, and Pendleton Level Overlook. Inside the park, in a single day company can immerse themselves in nature by profiting from their vary of lodging choices. The park has 39 totally furnished cabins, a 65-unit tent and trailer campground, a spacious 54-room mountain lodge, and a Tentrr campsite with extra standalone canvas platform tents.
Lafayette Flats: Planning to discover the New River Gorge? Discover your house away from residence at Lafayette Flats. Situated in charming Fayetteville, this boutique property blends historic attraction with all of the modern-day comforts you’d count on. The grand brick constructing boasts 4 open and ethereal flats for guests to select from: the Nuttall, Corten, Quinnimont, and Eddy. After checking in, spend the day discovering native hidden gems downtown or working up a sweat in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Snug, clear, and conveniently situated—what extra may you ask for?
Lodge Morgan: Nestled deep within the coronary heart of Mountaineer Nation, Morgantown is a quaint city identified for its quickly rising multicultural heritage. House to West Virginia College, the vacation spot has an always-on vitality, because of its youthful collegiate inhabitants (which additionally comes with a frenetic nightlife scene, distinctive eating places, and an eclectic arts group). Right here, guests will discover the polished Hotel Morgan, a Wyndham Lodge. Modern and complex, this refurbished lodge is completely positioned on Essential Road, and only a 15-minute drive to Coopers Rock State Forest.
Bavarian Inn: Searching for extra worldwide aptitude? Contemplate reserving an escape to the Bavarian Inn, perched on a placing bluff that overlooks the Potomac River Bend (simply minutes from Harpers Ferry). A keep at this 11-acre, European-inspired boutique resort will really feel such as you’ve traveled worlds away (however fortunately, you possibly can depart the passport at residence). Steeped in Alpine heritage, the luxurious property affords 72 spacious state rooms (the place you possibly can cozy up subsequent to a fuel hearth) or reside giant in one in every of its 4 classical old-world chalets. And in true Bavarian custom, be certain that to cease by its on-site Brew Pub, Brew Lounge, and out of doors Beer Backyard. That is the proper place to splurge on a romantic autumnal retreat.
The Billy Motel: Positive, the concept of bunking at a motel may not be your first selection, however The Billy Motel is something however typical. This boutique motel is equal elements retro and edgy, with a splash of (what they name) “hillbilly fabulous.” Positioned off Route 32, the 10-room property was just lately renovated and oozes persona. This mountaintop getaway is simply minutes from the close by cities of Thomas and Davis, teeming with funky retailers, cool espresso bars, artwork galleries, and music venues. Outside journey hubs like Dolly Sods Wilderness Space, Canaan Valley State Park, and Monongahela Nationwide Forest are additionally only a quick drive away.
Canaan Valley Cabins: For a extra non-public escape, try the stock listed by Canaan Valley Cabins. The corporate affords a various assortment of leases and trip properties sprinkled all through the Canaan Valley. From remoted log cabins deep within the woods to bucolic estates that may sleep the entire crew, they provide one thing to suit each style and price range. Plus, you’ll find your good retreat by filtering choices with standards reminiscent of pet-friendly listings, waterfront areas, and extra. Irrespective of the place you wind up reserving, you’ll be proper within the coronary heart of the area’s good fall foliage and heart-racing out of doors exploits.
Oglebay Resort: The stately Oglebay Resort may be present in Wheeling, simply an hour from Pittsburgh, two hours from Columbus, and three hours from Cleveland. It’s perched on 1,700 rolling acres and affords tons of actions match for the entire household. The just lately up to date Wilson Lodge sports activities first-class lodging with top-notch facilities, whereas their assortment of cottage rentals and estate homes are available three tiers: rustic, deluxe, and premium. Play a spherical on one in every of their four golf courses, spend the day exploring Schenk Lake (outfitted with pedal boats, mini golf, and an aerial problem course), or rise up shut and private with the wildlife of The Good Zoo.
Able to Go?
It’s the prime time to find firsthand why fall fanatics have fallen in love with West Virginia. Tried and true, Nearly Heaven is a fascinating wonderland for guests of all ages. For a fair deeper dive, join a free vacation guide, or try their fall adventure hub. It’s stuffed with ideas and tips for first-time or returning guests. Their Fall Color Map even reveals how the altering colours sweep throughout the state all through the season! You can too signal as much as obtain their weekly updates straight to your inbox so that you by no means miss a beat. Time is of the essence—don’t miss your shot on the fall journey of a lifetime.
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