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Colorful High Country Hotspots
First fall foliage report for 2014
Posted Sept. 25, 2014

Fall is officially here and so is West Virginia’s fall foliage season. State foresters report leaves are changing quickly in perennial foliage hotspots like Dolly Sods and Canaan Valley.

John Anderson, a fire forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry (DOF), traded his fire rake for a camera earlier this week and headed to the high country to take pictures.

“The majority of the foliage in the Dolly Sods area is nearing peak,” Anderson said. “The reds, oranges and yellows provide a colorful accent to the already spectacular scenery.”

Blueberry and huckleberry bushes at Dolly Sods are approximately 90 percent peak, while the area’s trees are approximately 60 percent peak.

Dolly Sods is a 17,371-acre area that contains bog and heath eco-types more common to southern Canada. Elevations range from 2,500 to more than 4,700 feet. The wilderness area is located in Grant, Randolph and Tucker counties, West Virginia, within the Monongahela National Forest and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Anderson reports foliage in Canaan Valley to be 40-60 percent peak and changing daily, just in time for the 26th annual Leaf Peepers Festival Sept. 26-28, 2014. Canaan Valley is the highest mountain valley east of the Rocky Mountains with a base elevation of 3,100 feet. It is 15 miles long by three miles wide and home to extensive wetlands and botanical communities typically found in sub-Artic bogs and conifer forests. Canaan Valley is in Tucker County, West Virginia.

Foliage at Spruce Knob, the highest peak in West Virginia, is 50 percent peak. Spruce Knob is in Pendleton County and is 4,863 feet above sea level.

Forestry officials encourage leaf peepers to post their 2014 West Virginia fall foliage photos to the agency’s Facebook page (, or tweet them using #wvfallcolor. Photos may be featured on the Division’s Facebook page. Tweet photos using #wvfallcolor or post to our Facebook page
The next fall foliage report will be released Thursday, Oct. 2, 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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