fall colors are lasting extra long this year. catch the last of them with one of these Mountain State road trips.
The journey is just as important as the destination. That’s especially true for West Virginia Route 7, which stretches from New Martinsville at the Ohio River to Corinth on the state’s border with Maryland—and passes right through Morgantown. It’s the perfect lazy Saturday route out of town toward Kingwood. Turn on some feel-good tunes and enjoy winding through the gold-and-rust colored tunnel of trees.
In the Monongahela National Forest, no place offers better fall fireworks than Seneca Rocks. The steep, mile-long hike to the summit opens up a valley popping in fiery reds and oranges. The show may be at its tail end. Take West Virginia Route 92 south for an equally vibrant drive.
Closer to home, pack a picnic and trek to Valley Falls State Park outside Fairmont. Have lunch under a canopy of color, and then hike along the banks of the Tygart Valley River. The hush of water over rocks and crunch of leaves underfoot form the perfect autumn soundtrack. The state park is off of I-79, but we recommend the scenic route following U.S. 119 south.
The fall foliage at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will have you saying, “Oh Shenandoah!” Perched at the point where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, the park and town of Harpers Ferry are full of natural beauty and historic attractions. The Eastern Panhandle’s leafy hues started to peak in late October, so you can still enjoy the last of them on a weekend getaway. For a drive with a view, turn off I-68 east at Cumberland for Maryland State Route 51 south. The diversion adds 25 minutes but it’s worth it.
Finally, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve puts on one of autumn’s finest farewell displays. Follow one of the many hiking trails winding through the canyon, or watch the kaleidoscope of trees rush by on a whitewater rafting trip. If a relaxing afternoon is more your speed, kick back in one of rocking chairs at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Its back deck provides a two-mile view overlooking one of the world’s oldest rivers.
A single turn down a back road is all it takes to see the glorious colors of Almost Heaven.