Thanks to Lisa Strader of the Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing this most helpful information.If you like to get up to date info “by tweet” you can follow http://www.twitter.com/visitwv or visit their fan page at www.facebook.com/visitwv.
Foliage.org: What are the projected dates for West Virginia’s foliage season?
Leaves throughout the state change and peak at different times, starting in late September and going through late October.
Foliage.org: Are there areas, vistas, scenic lookouts or other destinations within West Virginia that are known for their uniquely beautiful autumn foliage displays?
You can travel just about any highway in West Virginia to experience breathtaking fall scenery. A few of the areas I would recommend for foliage enthusiasts are Summers County (home of two state parks and three rivers), Fayette County, New River Gorge Region. For rural charm Monroe County is, indeed, a very rural area.
Foliage.org: What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for Fall tourists?
The Midland Trail Scenic Highway (RT 60) is a wonderful drive anytime of year. See some of WV’s state parks, waterfalls, historic towns and more. http://www.midlandtrail.com
The Coal Heritage Trail takes you through deep valleys, follows rushing streams and rivers, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking scenery. http://www.coalheritage.org
Foliage.org: What festivals or other public events are taking place during the Fall foliage season?
New River Train Excursions/Railroad Days takes place at various times throughout the year. This scenic train ride takes you through the New River Gorge. http://www.newrivertrain.com
Bridge Day is the State’s largest one day festival. Held on the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, WV this festival features base jumpers, rappellers, vendors, and spectacular views of the New River Gorge. http://www.officialbridgeday.com (Editor’s note: This is some crazy . . wild . . only for the adventurous and fit . . fun. See the video on their website. Yes, you jump off a bridge . . and pray your chute opens.)
Foliage.org: Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for Fall foliage travelers? What are they?
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park transports you back in time to relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life.
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park – an official Civil War Discovery Trail site has hiking trails and three overlooks of the Gauley River. Foliage.org: What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to (EMILY – LOCALITY)? What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
Babcock State Park is one of the favorite sites for Fall Foliage. The operating grist mill sits surrounded by beautiful trees while a river flows in front. One of the most photographed places in West Virginia. http://www.babcocksp.com
The New River Gorge offers wonderful overlooks both at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center in Fayetteville WV and the Sandstone Visitors Center at Sandstone Falls. http://www.nps.gov/neri
Hawks Nest State Park and Pipestem State Park both have trams that take you down in the gorge. The views are fabulous.
Twin Falls State Park is located in a very rural area, surrounding by the changing colors of Fall. You’ll find waterfalls, a pioneer village and a golf course at this scenic park.
Foliage.org: Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
Historic Hinton, WV is known for it’s rail road history as well (home of the legendary John Henry – Steele Drivin’ Man) as the the buildings. In Hinton you will find over 200 buildings – churches, store fronts, and private residences displaying the varying architecture of American Gothic, Classical, High Victorian, American Four Square and Greek Revival styles.
Coalwood, WV, the setting for the Rocket Boys/October Sky book and Coalwood series. There is an annual festival held the first Saturday of October that features author Homer Hickam as well as other writers.
Foliage.org: What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
West Virginia is full of outdoor recreation. There are hiking trails, horseback riding adventures, family float trips, New River Jetboats (takes families to see the bridge), and an array of activities at our WV State Parks.
The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley is also enjoyed by families and is open until November 1st. On-site of the mine there is a hands on children’s museum: the Youth Museum of Southern WV.
Families can take a caving tour at one of two historic caves in Lewisburg, WV which is located on the Midland Trail Scenic Highway. Historic Lewisburg has great downtown shops, art galleries and restaurants.
Foliage.org: What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
Foliage.org: Is there anything else you would like to tell visitors thinking about traveling West Virginia for the fall foliage season?
The Mountains literally come alive in West Virginia with the bright colors of fall. Red, yellow and orange splash across the hills and valleys of our beautiful state. You can not go wrong traveling through any part of West Virginia in the fall – just don’t forget to bring your camera! If you need travel information you can visit