A Guide To The Best Fall Foliage Spots In West Virginia For Leaf Lovers


Visitors to West Virginia will fall in love with the prettiest Autumn leaf colors; come October, the already lovely Mountain State (aka ‘Almost Heaven’) comes to life with some of the most brilliant hues of the season. Because West Virginia is the only U.S. state located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains, it offers some of the best fall scenery around—bright, vibrant reds; deep, golden yellows; and crisp, burnt oranges are on display throughout the season to wow leaf peepers looking for the most amazing foliage.

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UPDATE: 2022/10/03 17:42 EST BY AARON SPRAY

Foliage Prediction Maps.

Autumn is one of the best times to visit West Virginia. This is when its colors are the brightest and the most vibrant. The best time to see the foliage can vary somewhat year-on-year. This article was updated and suggestions of foliage prediction maps from West Virginia, the Great Smokies, and beyond were included.

When To Visit West Virginia

The best time to visit the Mountain State and scope the best fall foliage is in the sweet spot between late September and late October, according to the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

Though that’s a pretty big window, there are plenty of resources available (like this handy map), for travelers who want to plan their stay in the most fall-friendly, colorful regions.

RELATED: Scenic South: A Guide To The Best Fall Foliage In The Southeastern U.S.

The Best Spots In WV For Fall Foliage

Glimpsing fab fall foliage in West Virginia is easy because of the state’s beautiful mountains carpeted in lovely forests that are the perfect spot for prime leaf viewing. However, knowing where (and when) to spot the best foliage is key for anyone looking to plan a trip. Below are some of the very best places in West Virginia for leaf lovers everywhere.

Blackwater Falls State Park

Located in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is one of the best places in WV to see the changing leaves. Nature lovers everywhere will rejoice in the park’s stunning scenery that includes over 20 miles of hiking trails; a gorgeous 57-foot waterfall; and easy access to multiple viewing platforms that make leaf viewing easy. Be sure to have your camera ready when visiting this Davis, West Virginia gem.

  • Address: 1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd. Davis, WV
  • Other Things To Do: Hiking, Biking, Boating, Fishing, Geocaching
  • Don’t Miss: Lindy Point, Pendleton Point Overlook, Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls
  • Accommodations: Yes—cabins, lodge, camping

Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area

Lakeside leaf viewing? Yes, please! Home to hundreds of acres that will be dressed in their brightly-hued best come October, the almost 3,000-acre Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area is an ideal spot for optimal fab foliage. The lake itself is gorgeous, so be sure to rent a boat to explore everything this stunning sight has to offer. Fishing aficionados will love the chance to cast their lure here, too.

  • Address: 1156 Plum Orchard Lake Rd. Scarbro, WV
  • Other Things To Do: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Hiking, Hunting
  • Don’t Miss: Rent a boat to get a panoramic view of some of the best fall foliage in the state; check out the park’s 100-yard shooting range; take a hike to Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia (almost 5,000-feet)
  • Accommodations: Yes, camping (permits necessary)

RELATED: A Guide To The Best Places To See Fall Foliage In The U.S.

The Highland Scenic Byway

Prefer to scope your fall foliage via a scenic drive? Then take the Highland Scenic Highway for the perfect WV road trip. Stunning vistas; majestic mountains; and lush valleys await travelers on this 43-mile National Scenic Byway that has some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire state.

  • Address: Highway extends from Richwood to US Route 219 north of Marlinton
  • Other Things To Do: Have a picnic at a scenic overlook along the way; take a hike on the Red Spruce Knob Trail; learn more about the area’s unique geological formations on the Honeycomb Rocks Interpretive Trail
  • Don’t Miss: Williams River, Big Spruce, Little Laurel, and Red Lick are the Highway’s four scenic overlooks and are the perfect spots to view the region’s best foliage. They are dispersed and clearly marked along the route
  • Accommodations: Yes, there are several campsites just a short drive from the highway

Cooper’s Rock State Forest

Known for its stunning, high-elevation views all year round, Cooper’s Rock is especially lovely in the fall thanks to its canyon overlooks that give visitors panoramic views of the surrounding area. There’s also plenty to explore here—from the historical sites like the remains of the Henry Clay Furnace to its 50 miles of hiking and biking trails (and ski trails in the winter!) There’s also a scenic lake where visitors can relax and see the bright fall colors reflected beautifully in the water.

  • Address: 61 County Line Dr. Bruceton Mills, WV
  • Other Things To Do: Geocaching, Hiking, Biking, Picnicking, Fishing, Climbing
  • Don’t Miss: The historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, some of which are on the National Register of Historic Places; hike to the main overlook via the Roadside Trail for some of the park’s best views; whitewater raft at nearby Cheat River; visit the Ravens Rock overlook for a view of the Cheat River Canyon
  • Accommodations: Yes, the park has a campground on-site

RELATED: West Virginia’s Most Popular Foods Are The Best Example Of A Traditional Appalachian Menu

Pipestem Resort State Park

One of the most family-friendly places to see West Virginia’s blazing fall colors in all their brightly colored glory is Pipestem Resort State Park. Home to over 4,000-acres of land, Pipestem is more than just a state park—it’s a sprawling, fun-filled destination filled with outdoor adventures surrounded by some of the best mountain views in a state known for its peaks. Nearby Bluestone State Park is also another great spot to peep some leaves along the lake and is just a short 20-minute drive from Pipestem.

  • Address: 3405 Pipestem Dr. Pipestem, WV
  • Other Things To Do: Hiking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Fishing, Aerial Tours, Horseback Riding
  • Don’t Miss: Take a ride on the park’s aerial tramway to get some of the area’s best views; take a dip in the park’s new adventure lake; take a break from leaf watching in the Adventure Zone, the park’s premier playland filled with activities from ax throwing to laser tag; take the Lick Hollow Trail for a lovely view of Bluestone Canyon; escape into the oak-hickory forest on the Dogwood Trail
  • Accommodations: Yes. Cabins, camping, and two lodges are available on-site

There’s no doubt that West Virginia is filled with some of the most stunning fall views—from state parks to a scenic byway; lovely lakes; majestic peaks; and a fun-filled family resort, these fonts of fabulous foliage offer visitors unforgettable Autumn experiences that showcase the Mountain State’s distinctive scenic beauty perfectly and make for the loveliest leaf viewing.

Use Foliage Prediction Maps To Plan One’s Trip

Helping people to plan their trips so that they can visit locations at the best time to see autumn foliage. If is going to New England where the foliage is generally considered the best in the nation, refer to New England’s foliage map. For visiting the greater Great Smoky Mountains, consult the Smoky Mountains foliage map.

Some consider fall to be the best time to visit the Smokies and the wider Appalachians. This is when the colors are vibrant with yellows, reds, and oranges. Go and see the trees get ready to put themselves to bed for the winter. This is a natural wonder of the Smokies and the Appalachians that draws many thousands of visitors every year.

The Smoky Mountains’ foliage map includes predictions for foliage across the nation – including West Virginia. While the prediction tool is not 100% accurate (few ever are), it is designed to help travelers plan their trips around the peak foliage season for the best time.

Another tool is to use the live West Virginia foliage map.

NEXT: What It’s Like To Stay At The Greenbrier in West Virginia, One Of The Oldest American Resorts


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