CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Friday, Sept. 23 marked the first full day of fall, and in higher-elevation areas of West Virginia, fall foliage is expected to reach its peak in late September, according to the West Virginia Department of Tourism and fall foliage reports from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
WV Tourism released a map of the state earlier this year that predicted that most of Tucker and Randolph counties and parts of Pocahontas, Webster, Preston and Grant counties will see peak fall foliage during late September.
Here are some places to enjoy the fall foliage while it’s at its projected peak:
Handley Wildlife Management Area — These 784 acres are home to the Red Spruce Knob Trail, which takes hikers to the highest point along the Highland Scenic Highway at 4,703 feet in elevation, the Cranberry Wilderness, Big Spruce Overlook and the Honeycomb Rocks Trail, named for the unique rocks with fist-sized holes in their sides that look almost like square-shaped honeycombs.
Cathedral State Park — There are six miles of hiking trails through this ancient hemlock forest, but there are more than just evergreen trees. It also includes a picnic area with two shelters and a playground. Click here for more information.
Backbone Mountain Trail — The start of the trail to Maryland’s highest point actually starts in West Virginia. It follows an old login road. Click here for more information.
Cheat Wildlife Management Area — Check out Cheat Summit Fort, Red Run Falls, the Allegheny Trailhead and the scenic views of Gaudineer Knob.
Kumbrabow State Forest — According to the WV State Parks, this is one of the best spots for catch and release native trout fishing. It’s also West Virginia’s highest state forest at more than 3,000 feet above sea level. It also includes campsites and cabins.
Mountain State Forest Festival — Though it starts a little bit past peak, you can head to Elkins from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9 to enjoy food vendors, carnival rides, a lumberjack competition and more.
Blackwater Falls State Park — Not only can you visit the titular Blackwater Falls at this state park; there are the Elakala Falls, Lindy Point and Pendleton Point Overlook, which are some of West Virginia’s most photographed spots. Both of which are on the state’s waterfall trail.
Fairfax Stone State Park — The Fairfax Stone rests at the junction of Tucker, Grant and Preston counties and marks the boundary between Maryland and West Virginia. According to WV State Parks, it was used to mark the western boundary of land granted to Lord Fairfax by the King of England in the 1700s, and two centuries later, it was used to settle a dispute over land in the English colonies of Maryland and Virginia. The park is the four acres of land surrounding the stone. It’s near Blackwater Falls State Park, Cathedral State Park, Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Cheat River.
The Department of Tourism also has a live leaf map to keep an eye on.