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Coopers Rock, Cheat Lake and Panhandles Offer Best Fall Color This Week

Fifth fall foliage report for 2014
Posted Oct. 23, 2014

State foresters say Coopers Rock State Forest, Cheat Lake and West Virginia’s Northern and Eastern panhandles are the best bets for fall color this weekend. Foliage in Coopers Rock State Forest turned a bit late this year, and foresters recommend a drive along Interstate 68 this weekend through the forest to see the best color of the season. While in the area, be sure to check out the leaves along Cheat Lake.

In the state’s Northern Panhandle, foliage in Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties is reported to be 100 percent peak and showing lots of yellows and reds. Foresters say any drive along the Ohio River will be beautiful. A drive along U.S. Route 250 from Wetzel County through Marshall County also is recommended. Foliage along that route is mostly past peak, but areas of bright color remain.

In the Eastern Panhandle, foliage in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties also is reported to be 100 percent peak. Foresters recommend following State Route 9 along the Cacapon River with a stop at the Panorama Overlook. Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area is another recommended point of interest this weekend in the Eastern Panhandle.

U.S. Route 60 is colorful between Gauley Bridge and Charleston, as is a drive south along Interstates 64 and 77 from Charleston to Beckley.

State Route 5 is the recommended drive in Calhoun and Gilmer counties. U.S. Route 33 is recommended in Gilmer and Roane counties.

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The next fall foliage report will be released Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.


Why Leaves Change Colors

As the sun moves farther south the hours of daylight decrease and temperatures fall, causing leaves to stop producing chlorophyll, the chemical that colors them green. With the disappearance of chlorophyll, the underlying colors of the leaves are visible. The next strongest pigment becomes dominant, giving the leaves a "new" color.



Ash, White - Yellow
Basswood - Yellow
Beech - Yellow
Birch, River - Dull Yellow
Birch, Sweet - Yellow
Buckeye, Ohio - Yellow
Coffeetree, Kentucky - Yellow
Cottonwood, Eastern - Yellow
Elder, Box - Yellow
Elm, American - Yellow
Hazel Nut - Brownish Yellow
Hickory, Mockernut - Dull Yellow
Hickory, Pignut - Dull Yellow
Hickory, Shagbark - Dull Yellow
Hickory, Shellbark - Dull Yellow
Hophornbeam, Eastern - Yellow
Locust, Black - Yellow
Locust, Honey - Yellow
Maple, Silver - Pale Yellow
Oak, Chestnut - Yellow
Pecan - Dull Yellow
Redbud, Eastern - Yellow
Shad Bush - Bright Clear Yellow
Tuliptree - Yellow
Walnut, Black - Yellow
Walnut, White - Bright Yellow
Willow, Black - Pale Yellow


Dogwood - Crimson
Gum, Black - Deep Red
Oak, Northern Red - Rusty Red
Oak, Pin - Crimson
Oak, Scarlet - Scarlet
Oak, Southern Red - Rusty Red
Oak, Swamp Chestnut - Dark Crimson
Sourwood - Deep Red
Sumac - Brilliant Red


Oak, Bur - Pale Brown
Oak, Post - Pale Brown
Oak, Shingle - Brown
Oak, Swamp White - Pale Brown


Hawthorn - Brilliant Varying Colors
Hazel Nut - Brownish Yellow
Hornbeam - Orange, Scarlet
Maple, Red - Red, Orange
Maple, Sugar - Yellow, Orange, Red
Oak, Black - Dull Red to Orange Brown
Oak, Blackjack - Dull Yellow or Brown
Oak, White - Pink or Red
Persimmon - Glossy Green with Yellow
Sassafras - Red, Orange, Yellow
Sweetgum - Yellow, Orange, Brown
Sycamore, American - Yellow, Brown
Witch Hazel - Bright Yellow-Orange

No Change

Magnolia, Umbrella - No Change
Holly, American - No Change

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