Fall is officially here, and West Virginia’s state foresters are on the lookout for the most colorful foliage.
Each Thursday in October the West Virginia Division of Forestry (DOF) will provide weekly reports that include percentage of peak color, recommended driving routes and special points of interest.
Fall foliage reports are available through the agency’s website, www.wvforestry.com, its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wvforestry, Twitter account, @wvforestry, and the Department of Commerce’s website, www.wvcommerce.org.
Viewing opportunities for the first weekend of fall 2015 are limited, but a few spots are worth a look, including Dolly Sods and the Davis-Thomas area of Tucker County.
DOF Forester John Anderson reports the first few weekends in October will be a colorful one in the state’s higher elevations.
The Davis-Thomas area of Tucker County and Dolly Sods are again recommended destinations. Foliage in the Davis-Thomas area is estimated to be 70 percent peak.
“Color is much more advanced this week at Dolly Sods than it was last week and is well worth a trip,” Anderson said.
Foresters recommend a visit to Spruce Knob where foliage is expected to be approximately 60 percent peak the first weekend of October.
Leaf peepers can take U.S. Route 33 to Spruce Knob Road, which has been paved in the past few years and is in good shape. Climb the stairs to the 30-foot platform for the breathtaking view from the state’s highest point. Lower elevations of Pendleton County are still quite green with only 25-30 percent of their foliage changing color.
Reports from Preston County recommend a drive along the Cheat River on Route 72/Route 26 where foliage is 70 percent peak. Foresters recommend a trip to Cathedral State Park which they report is already spectacular with 50 percent peak color.
Foliage at elevations above 3,000 feet in Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties should peak as well.
A long list of recommended points of interest includes the Sinks of Gandy and Dry Fork, Cheat Mountain, Shavers Mountain, the headwaters of Tygart Valley River, the headwaters of both Forks of the Greenbrier River, Kennison Mountain and Elk Mountain.
Leaves at higher elevations to the east of the Richwood area of Nicholas County are at or near peak, while those to the west remain green.
Forestry officials encourage a visit to the 79th annual Mountain State Forest Festival, going on now through Oct. 4. Although color within Elkins will be limited, the mountains surrounding the town should present colorful viewing opportunities.
Headed to Elizabeth for Wirt County Pioneer Day Saturday, Oct. 3? Take Little Kanawha Parkway or Parkersburg Road from Spencer to Elizabeth. Foliage is reported to be only 30 percent peak, both drives are highly recommended.
In scenic Ritchie County, take Staunton Turnpike to see 30 percent peak foliage..
Forestry officials encourage leaf peepers who post 2015 West Virginia fall foliage photos to tag them with #fallinwv. Photos may be featured on the DOF’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/wvforestry, along with more updates.