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Busy Weekend for Leaf Peepers
Fall foliage report #3
posted Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015

The second weekend of October will be a colorful one, according to West Virginia’s state foresters. Leaves in Canaan Valley, Dolly Sods and Spruce Knob currently are at peak and, barring heavy rain or wind, should remain on the trees through the weekend.

The observation tower at Kumbrabow State Forest will be a busy place as visitors make their way up Rich Mountain Fire Trail to see the spectacular view from the top. The observation tower was constructed in 2013 with funds from a timber sale on the state forest. Since then, leaf peepers and photographers have found it to be an excellent spot for viewing fall foliage, especially when the leaves are at peak as they are now. Kumbrabow State Forest is in Randolph County.

Color along the Cass Scenic Railroad should be perfect this weekend, although the town of Cass is not yet near peak. The Snowshoe area has good color as well. Foliage along U.S. Route 50 and W.Va. Route 93 in Mineral County ranges from 45 to 60 percent, and is especially colorful where Route 50 ascends the Allegheny Front, which is 70 percent peak. Western Monongalia County is ahead of the eastern portion and said to be beautiful, especially along W.Va. Route 7. A drive to Cheat Lake is colorful, though leaves are not near peak. Foresters recommend a walk among the brilliantly colorful maples at Morgans Run Park.

Good viewing opportunities also are available at higher elevations around Durbin, Kennison Mountain and Slaty Fork in Pocahontas County; Cheat Mountain, Valley Head and Harman in Randolph County; Point Mountain and Whittaker Falls in Webster County; Beech Ridge in Greenbrier County; and Richwood in Nicholas County.

Don’t miss the West Virginia Chestnut Festival at Rowlesburg this weekend; foliage in the area is 65 percent peak. Morgan County is approximately 20 percent peak for this weekend’s Apple Butter Festival in downtown Berkeley Springs. Visitors to the Black Walnut Festival in Spencer will find leaves about 50 percent peak along W.Va. Route 14 and U.S. Route 33. Foliage is also 50 percent peak along W.Va. Route 2 in Pleasants and Tyler counties for those out for a weekend drive.

Check our Facebook page for foliage updates throughout the week:

Post and tag your 2015 fall foliage pictures using #fallinwv.

The next fall foliage report will be released Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.


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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