Foliage Report- October 8th
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Even with a slow start to the foliage this year, the color change is happening fast across the Allegheny mountains. Some areas will be at peak this weekend but if you can’t get out right now, there will still be plenty of color as some other areas along the Alleghenies start to peak next week and into next weekend. With more sun next week, the color change will continue to happen rapidly across the Virginia Allegheny Highlands as well as continuing along the West Virginia Allegheny mountains.
Check out the photo gallery, just scroll down
**Did you know there are several ski resorts that have scenic chairlifts? There is information and links at the bottom of this article. **
BEST SPOTS RIGHT NOW:
Links to trail maps are included but you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to visit these places. There are many lookouts and easy trails or walks.
Spruce Knob and Spruce Knob lake are pretty much at peak right now. The good thing about this fall is we have not had much wind so the leaf drop is at a minimum. Most of the leaf drop is due to the summer drought which was not as bad across the Alleghenies as it was for the Shenandoah Valley. You can drive to the top and walk to the lookout tower. Or follow some of the trails.
Dolly Sods Wilderness. The blueberry bushes are a brilliant crimson red. This area can get crowded on the weekends so parking can be tricky. During the week here might be best or very early in the morning. You can enter in Bear Rocks Preserve into your navigation. If you go to Dolly Sods from the Canaan Valley, most of that route is going to be a gravel road and slow. Personally I prefer getting to Dolly Sods from Rt. 48 and heading south.
Bear Rocks preserve is a popular spot and it’s an easy walk around but there are some rocks so just watch your step. There are plenty of other trails also.
The Canaan Valley and Tucker County areas are just stunning. The color right now for most spots is moderate to high with the highest points at peak. If you can’t get here this weekend, next week and next weekend will still be fantastic as the color change continues. Take the beautiful drive along Rt. 32 through Davis and Thomas.
There are plenty of easy trails in the Canaan Valley, flat walks as well as longer trails.
Blackwater Falls State park is a beautiful place to drive around. Several lookout points as well as short and longer trails. Several trails are even paved. Color here ranges within the canyon and by elevation. There’s a few pockets of peak color but most areas are at moderate. This will be a great place to visit this week and next weekend. Make sure you hit up both sides of the river because the color is going to vary from each viewpoint.
Snowshoe in Pocahontas county is pretty much at peak right now. On the drive there, you’ll see low to moderate color in some spots as the lower elevations along the mountains are still changing. However higher spots especially above 3,000′ are really looking quite colorful. The lake trail is going to be the easiest and there are a few others in this area.
Western Maryland is still developing color. The drive from Grant county to Deep Creek lake is always a favorite. Swallow Falls state park is a beautiful place with hiking along the waterfalls. You can also hit up the Potomac State forest or Garrett State Forest. Both offer several hiking trails.
Check out this amazing video shot in Dolly Sods:
You can upload photos to WHSV.com. Click on the menu bar (three lines at the top) and scroll to submit photos and video. It’s best to avoid single trees. Wide shots work best.
West Virginia is always first to turn in our area, even despite elevations above 4,000′ in Virginia like Elliot Knob, Reddish Knob and the highest points of Skyline Drive. Some trees are starting to turn but it’s more isolated pockets of color. Most areas are still very green.
Just for reference the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive typically don’t peak until around the 3rd week of October and the lower ridges of the Valley around the last week of October.
OTHER WAYS TO VIEW THE SCENERY
There’s no better way to see the beautiful foliage than a scenic chair lift. Several regional ski resorts offer this. Just be sure to check time and days offered.
West Virginia offers several route options on the scenic train. Keep in mind these do book quickly in advance and there are not many options left for this year. However this might be something to plan for next fall. It does look like there is more availablilty on the Potomac Eagle scenic train ride.
AVERAGE FALL FOLIAGE PEAK DATES:
These are estimated peak dates (map created by Evan Fisher). Most areas are about 7-10 days behind right now.
The foliage report will be updated every Friday during the month of October and will air on the News at 5 on Fridays.
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