Scenic overlooks and perennial hotspots get the most visitors during the fall foliage season, but some of the best places to get up close and personal with colorful leaves are West Virginia State Forests. October is an excellent month to explore West Virginia’s best kept secret. Many state forests offer cabin and campsite accommodations. Some have off-season rates – start here to find specials at individual forests: www.wvstateparks.com. And each has its own identity and offers many recreational opportunities in addition to leaf peeping.
Generally, the higher the elevation, the sooner the leaves change. To help you plan a leaf viewing schedule, here are suggestions for the best times to enjoy bursts of colors at West Virginia’s state forests.
First and second weeks of October
- Greenbrier State Forest, Greenbrier County – 3,084 feet (above sea level)
- Cabins, campsites, archery range, hiking/fitness trails and playground and shooting range
- Kumbrabow State Forest, Randolph County – 3,543 feet
- Cabins, cottages, campsites, hiking trails and playground
- Seneca State Forest, Pocahontas County – 3,094 feet
- Cabins, campsites, fishing, hiking trails, mountain biking trails and playground
Second and third weeks of October
- Camp Creek State Forest, Mercer County – 2,064 feet
- (At adjacent Camp Creek State Park) Campsites, fishing, game courts, hiking/biking/horseback riding trails and playground
- Calvin Price State Forest, Pocahontas County – 2,651 feet
- (At nearby Watoga State Park) Cabins, campsites, arboretum, game courts, hiking trails, playground and restaurant
- Coopers Rock State Forest, Monongalia and Preston counties – 2,159 feet
- Campsites, fishing, hiking/biking trails and playground
Third and fourth weeks of October
- Cabwaylingo State Forest, Wayne County – 955 feet
- Cabins, campsites, fishing, basketball court, hiking trails and playgrounds
- Kanawha State Forest, Kanawha County – 1,135 feet
- Campsites, fishing, hiking/biking trails, playgrounds and shooting range
Don’t forget to share photos of your state forest excursions on the Division of Tourism’s #MyWV Fall Color page, a user-generated platform to showcase fall foliage in the Mountain State.