Best Places to See Fall Foliage in West Virginia

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West Virginia is one of the most beautiful East Coast states during the fall! The state is full of scenic overlooks, mountains, and waterfalls that look even more stunning when it is fall in West Virginia. If you’re searching for some leaf peeping, check out West Virginia’s fall colors this year! Let’s explore the best places to go leaf peeping in West Virginia!

When do fall colors and fall foliage peak in West Virginia?

So, what is the best time for fall foliage in West Virginia? According to the Department of Forestry, West Virginia fall colors will peak between late September and late October. The best time to see fall colors in West Virginia will depend on your location within the state, as West Virginia ranges in elevation and landscape. Keep checking back to see when it is peak foliage in different regions!

Helpful links on peak fall foliage in West Virginia:

West Virginia Fall Colors Map 2022

Credit: West Virginia Tourism

If you want the most accurate information on fall foliage in West Virginia, follow along with West Virginia Tourism’s live updates!

West Virginia Falls Colors Road Trip Map

Here is a map of the best places to view fall colors in West Virginia so you can figure out which destinations are closest to you! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make a West Virginia fall colors road trip since many of these destinations are located close to one another!

Mountaineer Country

Peak Fall Foliage: Mid October

Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Forest is a great option for fall colors if you’re traveling from Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Maryland since it’s so close! Cooper’s Rock State Forest is full of hiking trails that will take you through tons of fall colors! Make sure to check out the Cooper’s Rock Overlook to get scenic views of the Cheat River and mountains. The Cooper’s Rock Overlook is handicapped accessible. If you want to hike to a rewarding view, hike the Raven Rock Trail, a 3-mile round trip hike that takes you to another scenic overlook! Other popular trails include the Roadside Trail and Rock City Trail. You can easily make a whole day trip out of visiting Coopers Rock, so bring a picnic lunch and come ready for some leaf peeping!

How to Get to Cooper’s Rock State Forest: Cooper’s Rock State Forest is located just 15 minutes from Morgantown, West Virginia. Take I-68E or W to get there!

Learn more about visiting Cooper’s Rock State Forest

Valley Falls State Park

Continuing south from Morgantown, you can visit Valley Falls State Park. This state park attracts visitors for its beautiful waterfall! In the fall, the gorge bursts with fall colors! Valley Falls is also handicapped accessible and easy to access from the parking area. The park has 18 miles of hiking trails for you to explore and take in the beauty.

How to Get to Valley Falls State Park: Take I-79S towards Fairmont

Learn more about visiting Valley Falls State Park

Eastern Panhandle

Peak Fall Foliage: Late October

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry is one of West Virginia’s coolest small towns because the town is part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park! This historic town has 19th-century buildings, a Civil War Museum, and John Brown’s Fort, a key site in an 1859 abolitionist raid. Harpers Ferry is located where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet and offers scenic views of Maryland and Virginia. The Appalachian Trail also passes through the town, so there is a Visitor Center that has exhibits on the trail. To see the fall foliage in Harpers Ferry, consider hiking part of the Appalachian Trial or hike to the Maryland Heights Overlook. This trail will take you to an awesome overlook where you can see the two rivers meet and Harper’s Ferry from above!

How to Get to Harpers Ferry: Take I70 or I-270 towards Frederick or take Amtrak

Monogahela National Forest Region

Peak Fall Foliage: Late September to early October

Monongahela National Forest is another great option for viewing fall foliage in West Virginia. This 1 million-acre forest area has tons of hiking trails and scenic views for fall colors. Since this forest is HUGE, there are lots of beautiful places to visit during the fall. Here are some of our favorites!

Spruce Knob

Spruce Knob is West Virginia’s tallest mountain, so it makes for a great place to see fall foliage. At 4,500 feet in elevation, you can see miles of fall colors on the surrounding mountains. There are miles of trails worth exploring in the Spruce Knob area, or you can simply drive to the top of the Mountain and enjoy the views.

How to Get to Spruce Knob: Access via Forest Road 104.

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is a unique space in West Virginia. This area protects West Virginia’s largest bogs, an ecosystem of acidic wetlands. Two of the four bogs in this area have 0.5-mile boardwalks for you to explore! During the fall, the foliage burst into color, making it a great place to visit for leaf peeping!

How to get to Cranberry Glades: Route 39/150 just north of the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Closest town: Hillsboro, WV

Dolly Sods Wilderness

The Dolly Sods Wilderness is one of West Virginia’s most unique landscapes. Because it’s a high-altitude plateau, its microclimate much of the foliage, and plant life is what you would expect to see in Canada! How cool is that?! During the fall, Dolly Sods burst into color and offers visitors fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding fall-colored mountains. We recommend visiting Bear Rocks, one of the most popular areas for day visitors. Dolly Sods is a very popular visit in the fall, so be aware that parking might be a challenge. The roads and parking areas in Dolly Sods are not maintained as they are in State Parks.

How to Get to Dolly Sods: There are two of forest roads that allow you to access Dolly Sods from all sides. Forest Road 75 is what you’ll want to take if you’re going to Bear Rocks. Forest Road 19 will give you access to the other end of the Wilderness.

Blackwater Falls State Park

Blackwater Falls State Park attracts visitors year-round because of its natural beauty, but it’s especially beautiful in the fall! During a visit to Blackwater Falls State Park in the fall, make sure to stop by the main falls, Elakala Falls, and Lindy Point Overlook for some of the best scenic views in the park! The main falls are the most accessible view, while Elakala Falls and Lindy Point require a short hike. Blackwater Falls gets very busy in the fall with leaf peepers and photographers, so make sure to get there early or arrive later in the day to beat the crowds on weekends.

How to Get to Blackwater Falls: Simply entering Blackwater Falls State Park should be enough to get you to the Park. The closest town is Davis, WV.

Highland Scenic Highway

The Highland Scenic Highway in Monogahela National Forest, or West Virginia Route 150, is a 22.5-mile drive that will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the forest! This scenic drive attracts lead peepers who are looking for a relaxing, low-impact way to enjoy the West Virginia Fall Colors.

Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks is one of West Virginia’s many unique rock formations! This towering rock structure attracts visitors for its beauty and adventurous rock climbing. During the fall, Seneca Rocks is a great place to hike and enjoy the fall foliage in West Virginia. Consider taking the trail to the top to get panoramic views of the mountain fall colors! The trail is 3.6 miles and climbs over 800 feet in elevation!

How to Get to Seneca Rocks: Located at the intersection of Route 33 and Route 55 in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. 

South Central West Virginia

Peak Fall Foliage: Late October

New River Gorge National Park

New River Gorge National Park is West Virginia’s newest National Park! This gorgeous area is full of exciting things to do and is one of the best spots in West Virginia for fall colors. To view the fall foliage, consider hiking one of the park’s many trails. Long Point Trail or Endless Wall Trial are two of the most popular trails that offer amazing views of the Gorge. Stop at one of the scenic overlooks as well, like Concho Rim or Grandview, for easy-to-access views.

How to Get to New River Gorge National Park: New River Gorge National Park is located in south-central West Virginia and is accessible via US Route 19.

Learn more about New River Gorge National Park

Babcock State Park

Babcock State Park is another popular destination near New River Gorge that is worth visiting in the fall! This park attracts visitors because of the scenic Glade Creek Grist Mill. This easily accessible attraction is a popular spot for photographers and leaf peepers alike! The Glade Creek Grist Mill is located next to the Park headquarters. In addition to viewing the Grist Mill, take some time to walk or hike on one of the park’s 20 miles of trails!

Hawks Nest State Park

Hawks Nest State Park is the second closest state park to New River Gorge. This park is situated along the top of the Gorge and offers multiple scenic overlooks of the New River. Stop at Lovers Leap Trail or Hawks Nest Overlook for scenic views! Or take the Hawks Nest Rail Trail for a longer relaxing fall hike.

Plum Orchard Lake

Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area and the lake itself is another top destination for fall colors in West Virginia! During the fall, the trees around the lake turn beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow, which makes for great photography.

How to Get to Plum Orchard Lake: Plum Orchard Lake is located in southern West Virginia, near Oak Hill. 

West Virginia Fall Foliage Train Rides

Cass Scenic Railroad Historical State Park

Peak Fall Foliage: Late September and Early October

If you want to experience West Virginia’s fall colors in a unique way, consider going on a fall foliage scenic train ride! Cass Scenic Railroad Historical State Park is one of West Virginia’s most unique parks. Here, you can explore a historic railroad town and take a number of scenic train rides! Cass is incredibly popular, so make sure to get your train ride tickets early!

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

Peak Fall Foliage: Mid October

The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad is another great option for a fall scenic train ride in West Virginia. Hop on the train in Romney to ride along the Potomac River and view the scenic views! The special thing about a Potomac Eagle ride is that the “Trough Tour” will pass you through a part of the river that is untouched. Bald Eagles are known to nest and live in this area, so pay attention to the announcements on your ride, there is an opportunity to move to a viewing car where you can try to spot some Bald Eagles!

West Virginia Fall Events

In addition to seeing all the fall colors, makes sure to check out some of West Virginia’s fall events! West Virginia hosts a range of events from cultural festivals to food events to pumpkin patches to haunted houses.

West Virginia State Parks

We’ve highlighted the best places to see fall colors in West Virginia, however, there are so many more places worth visiting! Consider checking out the West Virginia State Park that is closest to you whenever the fall colors start to come out. And keep an eye on West Virginia Tourism’s updates and live leaf map throughout fall so you can follow along as the colors change!