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West Virginia Department of Tourism releases first Fall Foliage Report of the season

Visitors encouraged to experience the fall color slowly arriving to The Mountain State with featured hikes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Tourism kicks off the fall season by releasing its first fall foliage report of the year. Although slightly slower than initially projected, the higher elevations of the Mountain State are now beginning to show signs of Autumn. 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 the best hikes amongst peak color.

“These weekly reports give folks an inside look at what hikes will give them the best up-close-and-personal experiences with stunning fall color around the state this season,” said West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “Thanks to the help of the Division of Forestry, guests are able to spend more time making memories and hiking Almost Heaven this fall without the hassle of figuring out where they should go.”

Fall Foliage Update

“Due to the warmer weather West Virginia has experienced this month, fall color is a bit slower moving into the mountains this season,” said Division of Forestry Direction Tom Cover. “However, fall color is, in fact, beginning to make an appearance in the highest elevations around the state. This once-a year-event won’t last long, so be sure to get out and enjoy it while you can.”

Fall color is gradually making its way to the higher elevations of the state. The mountains of Pocahontas and Tucker counties, along with Spruce Knob are dotted with splashes of red, orange and yellow and should reach peak color the first weekend of October. Species of maples are beginning to turn, including red, sugar and maple. Oak and Hickory trees will follow soon behind.

Featured Hikes 

As the 3rd most forested state, West Virginia is the perfect place to see fall color and with over 1,500 miles of trails, hiking is one of the best ways to get out and experience the majesty of this season. To help guests do just that, West Virginia has teamed up with AllTrails, the #1 hiking app. Try out any or all of these featured hikes for yourself to see what autumn in Almost Heaven is all about.

Seneca Rocks Trail

  • Moderate | 3.6 out and back
  • Beginning at the Seneca Rocks Trailhead, this uphill climb rewards guests with an up-close-and-personal view of one of West Virginia’s best-known landmarks. This trail features benches along the way, as well as picnic areas and a visitor center.

Lindy Point Overlook

  • Easy | 0.8 mile out and back
  • Lindy Point Overlook is an easy hike that leads to the most iconic scenic overlook within Blackwater Falls State Park, overlooking the Blackwater Canyon at 3,000 feet below. There is a small parking area at the trailhead and dogs are welcome, as long as they are on a leash.

Whispering Spruce Trail and Spruce Knob

  • Easy | 0.6 mile out and back
  • Part of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, this trail peeks into the North Fork Valley of the Allegheny Mountains with exceptional views. Feel the west wind blow as you wind through windblown rock before coming to an open field full of scattered boulders. 

Blackwater Falls Overlook

  • Accessible | 0.2 mile
  • This overlook is reached by taking the park’s Gentle Trail which is accessible for visitors using wheelchairs, mobility equipment and strollers. The paved path leads to a wooden boardwalk that gives expansive views of the park’s namesake falls. 

Shavers Lake, Bail Out, 6,000 Steps and Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail

  • Moderate | 6.4 mile out and back
  • Take this Snowshoe Mountain trek to gain over 1,000 feet in elevation and be prepared for steep portions along the way. Following this route will lead to the Fire Tower, which can be climbed for additional autumn mountain views.

AllTrails Partnership

AllTrails and the West Virginia Department of Tourism have joined forces to offer adventure seekers a free, one-year AllTrails Pro membership to experience the Mountain State’s jaw-dropping fall colors, stunning vistas and uncrowded landscapes. With AllTrails Pro, outdoor lovers will be able to take hiking to another level, with the ability to download offline maps, unlock more map details, bring trails to life with 3D maps, discover brand new trails and more. For more official information on the partnership, visit wvtourism.com/alltrails/.

“We welcome all travelers to visit West Virginia this fall season to experience the incredible hiking, leaf peeping opportunities and more,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “As the third-most forested state, our forests and mountaintops come alive with hues of red, orange and yellow, creating beautiful views. We’re excited to team up with AllTrails to help travelers discover and explore the incredible fall hiking trails we have.” 

As you hike throughout the Mountain State, be sure to post all of your favorite fall views using #AlmostHeaven. The West Virginia Department of Tourism’s live leaf tracker will be updated daily, featuring 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 WVtourism.com/fall.

To access high-res images of fall foliage from past years, click here. Photo credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism 

About the West Virginia Department of Tourism

The West Virginia Department of Tourism 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 thousands of acres of parks and public lands, including America’s newest national park 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, visit WVtourism.com and start planning your trip today. For public relations assistance, please contact Lauren Hough at [email protected].