W.Va. Tourism explains how fall foliage affects West Virginia


BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) – This week is the peak of the fall foliage in north-central West Virginia.

Below, Chief Meteorologist Kevin Corriveau explains the science behind the beautiful fall colors.

But how do the leaves affect West Virginia? 5 News reached out to the Department of Tourism to find out.

They say West Virginia sees about 25% of its total number of tourists between October and December, when leaves are in their prime.

Because of that, the Tourism Department has what they call “a heavy focus” on fall promotion.

One of the most popular destinations are our state parks. Those sites saw nearly 9 million visitors in 2021 alone.

Travel bookings in and around those parks were up nearly 15% year-over-year from last September, and numbers like that account for a real economic impact for our state.

To put a number on it, vacation rentals brought in more than $10 million in new sales tax.

Earlier this week, the Tourism Department sent out a list of its featured hikes for fall, and all of them are in our area.

  • Bickle Knob Observation Tower, an easy 0.2 mile out and back in Randolph County.
    • This short and effortless stretch leads to the Bickle Knob Observation Tower, which can be climbed for unbeatable, panoramic fall views of the Monongahela National Forest. The drive to the trailhead includes dirt roads with breathtaking scenery on both sides.
  • Alum Creek and Cave Trail, a moderate 2.7 mile loop in Upshur County.
    • Famous to Audra State Park, this trail follows along the Middle Fork River and takes hikers beneath an impressive above-ground cave. Access to the river can be found off the trail, for those who desire to get closer to the water.
  • Mylius Trail, a moderate 4.8 mile out and back in Randolph County.
    • Part of the Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, this secluded hike is the ideal way to escape the stress of everyday life and enjoy the great outdoors. The trail starts with a climb up to the junction with Shaver Mountain Trail before continuing down to Otter Creek.
  • Tecumseh Falls via Reverie Loop Trail, a moderate 4.6 mile loop in Webster County.
    • Located in Holly River State Park, this trail crosses several small streams before arriving at the hidden gem of Tecumseh Falls. Best viewed after recent rainfall, these falls only require guests to hike a few steep inclines in order to reach a lovely rest.
  • Raven Rocks Trail, a moderate 2.1 mile out and back in Randolph County.
    • This trek, within Kumbrabow State Forest, shows off an excellent view atop a rocky outcrop only half way up the trail. The path is specifically praised for being well maintained and well marked.

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