CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Fall begins on Sept. 22, and soon the leaves in West Virginia will turn orange, red and yellow. Beautiful fall foliage can be seen in the Monongahela National Forest, the New River Gorge and Blackwater Falls.
Below are several getaways for travelers to try this fall season in the Mountain State.
Tucker County Forests
The leaves in Tucker County are some of the brightest in the eastern United States, according to the West Virginia Department of Tourism. The colors change in September and peak toward the end of the month. Brian Sarifino, Marketing Manager for the Tucker County Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the area is on the verge of being a rainforest, which keeps the trees lush and provides “miles and miles of unbroken color” during fall.
The fall foliage in Canaan Valley is stunning. On the Scenic Chairlift Ride, visitors can enjoy 360-degree fall views of the Allegheny Mountains and the valley below from 4,000 feet in the air!
When the leaves turn yellow, orange and red in Tucker County, the flowing beauty of Blackwater Falls only becomes more photogenic. In fact, Blackwater Falls is designated as one of the Mountain State’s most Instagrammable spots.
Biking through the Monongahela National Forest is another way to enjoy Tucker Couty fall foliage. Within the forest, the Dolly Sods Wilderness area is home to the Fields of Fire hike in September and October. Dolly Sods also has gorgeous fall sights of vast blueberry bushes and scarlet red spruce trees.
Fall Train Rides
The Autumn Colors Express round-trip train ride starts in Huntington, stops in Charleston, and continues to Hinton during the Hinton Railroad Days Festival. During peak fall foliage season in October, the Autumn Colors Express takes passengers through the scenic and historic New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
In September and October, passengers on the Cass Scenic Bald Knob Trip can enjoy the fall trees, flowers and atmosphere from open-air train cars. The train ride climbs 2,390 feet from Cass to Bald Knob and shows passengers scenic views from Back Allegheny Mountain, overlooking the Robert C. Byrd Telescope at Green Bank Observatory in the valley below. Fall rates for the Cass Scenic Bald Knob Trip begin Sept. 14.
From September to November, the Potomac Eagle Trough Trip takes passengers on a three-hour trip southbound from The Trough to Sycamore Bridge and back. Dining car tickets include a meal, and a 10 a.m. breakfast is offered in October.
In September and October, the Durbin Rocket steams along the Greenbrier River in northern Pocahontas County. The two-hour, 10.5-mile ride offers beautiful views of the mountain and river in the Monongahela National Forest. Fall 2022 rates for the Durbin Rocket begin Sept. 14.
Fall Road Trips
WV Route 20
Starting in the charming town of Princeton on WV Route 20, travelers can find restaurants, museums and public art. From there, drivers can take Route 20 to Pipestem Resort State Park, where an aerial tram ride features views of the fall foliage along the Bluestone River Gorge. Then travelers can follow Route 20 to Hinton and nearby Sandstone Falls. The falls are a great spot to see beautiful fall foliage and to go autumn stargazing. Lastly, drivers can continue to Meadow Bridge for a scenic fall drive on country backroads.
U.S. 48 and U.S. 219
Along U.S. Route 48 in Preston County, scenic views await of shifting reds and oranges that paint the tree lines. As drivers head toward Tucker County, they will get on U.S. Route 219. On this road, travelers will pass through Thomas and its sister town, Davis, where the fall destination Blackwater Falls is located. From there, it is a 40-minute drive to Seneca Rocks. Wide-open fall views can be observed from the observation deck at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Drivers can extend the drive by taking State Route 28 toward Spruce Knob and finishing the journey an hour north in Elkins.