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West Virginia Department of Tourism Releases First Fall Foliage Report of the Season

October 8th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia Department of Tourism celebrates the arrival of autumn with the first fall foliage report of the year. The higher elevations of the Mountain State are now bursting with autumn color while the lower sections are beginning to see some pops of changing leaves. This update, prepared in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, marks the first in a series of weekly updates to be made this season in an effort to help travelers plan fall activities amongst peak color.

“The fall season is upon us once again, and we’re looking forward to teaming up with the Division of Forestry to help travelers identify the places in the state with the best fall foliage,” said West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “These weekly updates make it easy for those chasing fall colors to plan their trip and take part in all the unique activities in the Mountain State. We invite you to bring your family and friends along on your travels as you discover why fall in West Virginia is Almost Heaven.”

Fall Foliage Update 

Fall color has settled into the very highest elevations of West Virginia, some of which are expected to reach peak this weekend. 

“As we head into early October, we are already seeing peak foliage throughout our higher elevations and expect bright fall colors to start creeping down to lower elevations as we progress through the month,” said Division of Forestry Director Jeremy Jones. “The dry weather pattern we seem to be in should result in vibrant colors throughout the foliage season.”   

Featured Destinations & Activities 

Climb the observation tower at Spruce Knob, West Virginia’s highest point, to witness a backdrop of rolling mountains covered in vibrant changing maples at 5,000 feet above sea level. The warm hues present in Pendleton County can also be seen after an up-hill hike to the iconic Seneca Rocks, a magnificent formation rising nearly 900 feet. For a unique experience that comes with incomparable autumn sights, experience the Via Ferrata with a guided tour at NROCKS.

Brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow continue to seep into other areas of the state. Take a trip to Tucker County to immerse yourself in an autumn oasis like no other. Chase jaw-dropping falls, part of the West Virginia Waterfall Trail, within Blackwater Falls State Park or get a bird’s eye view of crimson trees painting Canaan Valley on a scenic chairlift ride.  

The Cheat and Elk mountains in Pocahontas County are abundant with species of Birch, Maple and Hickory changing from green to amber. Enjoy a train ride about Cass Scenic Railroad to journey through some of West Virginia’s most spectacular fall views in a vintage locomotive. Traverse Almost Heaven on two-wheels or on foot and get an up-close-and-personal look at the changing leaves in the area. The Basin side of Snowshoe Mountain is on track to peak over the weekend and into next week, while the Western side will follow soon behind.

Escape to Dolly Sods to explore the vast wilderness area that’s overflowing with breathtaking vantage points and autumn vistas. Complete with more than 17,000 acres of solitude and 47 miles of hiking trails, this spot is ideal for backpacking and camping alongside unbelievable fall color. Watch the vivid trees become hidden by some of the darkest skies on the East Coast, giving way to an array of glistening stars.  

AllTrails Partnership

The Department of Tourism has once again partnered with AllTrails, the most trusted and used outdoor platform in the world, to give away free six month memberships to AllTrails+ for dedicated fans of Almost Heaven. Sign up at

AllTrails is home to the most extensive collection of digital trail guides, with over 400,000 hiking, running, and mountain biking trails worldwide. The platform helps users find and explore new trails and connect them to routes best suited for their unique needs.

About the West Virginia Department of Tourism

Known as the Mountain State, West Virginia is one of the most scenic states in the United States and home to thousands of acres of parks and public lands, including America’s newest national park, 36 state parks, nine state forests and 3 rail trails. 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. 

Fall in West Virginia has already received national recognition this season, with mentions in top-tier publications such as National GeographicLonely PlanetForbesReader’s Digest and more.

The West Virginia Department of Tourism’s live leaf tracker will be updated in real time, featuring user-generated photos from social media. To access the live leaf map, along with the latest updates, happenings and insider tips around fall in Almost Heaven, visit For more information about West Virginia, visit and start planning your trip today. To access high-res images of fall foliage from past years, click here. Photo credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism.