5 ways to explore fall in leaf-peeping central

If you want the perfect Instagram-worthy fall photo, head to the rolling forests of scenic West Virginia.

Where in the Mountain State is central to the most iconic fall beauty? Definitely Tucker County. It’s home to a couple quaint small towns like Davis and Thomas, but surrounded by the vast wildernesses of Canaan Valley State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park and the mighty Monongahela National Forest.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-7-43-58-pm“3 breweries, 1 stoplight. That’s the kind of place we live.” said Brian Sarfino, Marketing Manager at Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have everything you want to find in a small-town experience during fall. It’s the perfect weather, beautiful views and good fun.”

The leaves are some of the brightest in the east, and they change sooner even than New England’s, starting as early as September and peaking toward the end of the month.

“We get so much rain that we are on the verge of being a rainforest,” Brian said. “That keeps the trees and vegetation lush so come fall, those colors are really vibrant. You can just see miles and miles of unbroken color. It’s very dramatic.”

Drive down just about any country road in any direction for jaw-dropping views:

  • For the truly amazing panoramas, head to the overlooks at Pase Point, Lindy Point, Table Rock, or even atop the old Olson Fire Tower.
  • For something a little different than the typical fall trees, catch the changing colors of the blueberry bushes on the northern end of Dolly Sods in the Monongahela.
  • The flowing, amber beauty of Blackwater Falls really make the vibrant foliage colors pop.

Autumn in New River Gorge, WVExplore the region’s beauty with a dash of adventure. Swing right through the bold canopies on a zipline, bike the rail trails or paddle the whitewater and flatwater rivers.

For something more relaxing? Wind through the mountain landscapes on a scenic train ride.

During peak foliage, celebrate the season with the Leaf Peepers Festival. From the hearty buckwheat pancakes in the morning to the mountain music in the evenings, it’s a full-on Appalachian fall frenzy: horse-drawn wagon rides, nature hikes, Oktoberfest, scenic chairlift rides, duck races, river boating trips, 5Ks, blacksmith and glassblowing demonstrations, kids rides, a parade, golf tournament, car show and much more.

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This post was last updated on March 16, 2022