Unparallelled Views: Fall Foliage in Southern West VirginiaSeptember 5, 2022
It’s finally happening – fall colors are here in Southern West Virginia. As the temperatures continue to drop, red, orange and yellows hues are starting to emerge on the hillsides. With amazing overlooks and views for miles, the Mountain State is the perfect place to take in the fall foliage. Each county in Southern West Virginia has something unique to offer. Check out these can’t-miss destinations!
The New River Gorge Bridge is often a destination to visitors of Southern West Virginia no matter the season, but there is no better time to visit this landmark than in the fall. From the visitors’ center overlook to the winding road down to the Fayette Station rapid below, the New River Gorge Bridge view is iconic to West Virginia.
Just down the road from the bridge is Hawks Nest State Park which offers an amazing overlook of the New River Gorge National River below.
One of the most photographed places in Raleigh County is also a great stop during a fall leaf peeping tour. Grandview’s overlook is an outstanding view – 1,400 feet above the New River and you can see for miles. Also, climb the stairs to the Turkey Spur Overlook for an even better view of the fall colors.
While vistas provide amazing views of the fall foliage, nothing beats getting out into the woods and seeing the colors up close and personal. Hit the trails in McDowell County for miles of remote wilderness and fall colors. The Ashland Trailhead is the only trailhead to the Indian Ridge Trail System of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. Open to ATVs, dirt bikes, select UTVs – the trail system is a great way to enjoy fall this season.
Reaching 3,100 feet above sea level, Pinnacle Rock in Mercer County is a great fall leaf peeping spot. The towering sandstone rock formation provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
The largest waterfall on the New River, Sandstone Falls, is a beautiful backdrop for fall photography. The falls span 1,500 feet and are divided by a series of islands and have become a quintessential Summers County destination. The Sandstone Falls Overlook provides a great aerial view from 600 feet above the river. Then cross through Hinton and drive along the river to reach the Sandstone Falls day use area. Walk along the boardwalk and bridges that span the islands for a front row view of the falls and surrounding mountainsides.
Atop Peters Mountain in Monroe County lies the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory. Originally an old fire tower, the observatory is a popular destination for bird enthusiasts as 15 species of raptors have been seen in the area. At 3,800 feet in elevation, the observatory provides breathtaking views and you can see the fall colors for miles.
In the heart of Nicholas County is Summersville Lake, a destination for boating, scuba diving and paddleboarding all summer long. But, as the leaves begin to change, the lake’s cliff-lined shores provides a beautiful backdrop for fall foliage. For a birds’ eye view of the fall colors, visit the Summersville Lake Lighthouse. Climb the 120 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view!
If you don’t want to hike up a steep mountain but still want to get out and enjoy the fall weather – the Greenbrier River Trail is the perfect stop. The 78-mile trail is a former railroad that travels along the Greenbrier River and winds through some of West Virginia’s most remote areas.
With more than 25 miles of hiking trails, a championship golf course and a restored pioneer farm – Twin Falls Resort State Park in Wyoming County has a little bit of everything. Take in the fall colors during a round of golf or while you tour the pioneer homestead. Twin Falls provides a truly unique experience in Southern West Virginia.
Be sure to use the #visitwv hashtag as you share photos of Southern West Virginia fall foliage!