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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Regional Forester Tom Cover says foliage close to the New River Gorge Bridge should be near peak for this Saturday’s Bridge Day.
“Overall, this weekend should provide the best viewing opportunities for this area of West Virginia,” said Cover, who oversees West Virginia Division of Forestry operations in 16 counties in the eastern and southern portions of the state. “Foliage in the upper portion of the New River Gorge around Grandview is more advanced than foliage in the lower portions of the Gorge, but those mountain slopes will be showing excellent colors, including a variety of orange, yellow, gold and red.”
Cover reports Hawks Nest State Park also should be near peak this weekend.
While much attention will be focused on the southern part of the state this weekend for Bridge Day, good fall color also can be seen in other areas of West Virginia. A drive north along I-79 from Charleston is recommended. From Charleston to Big Otter, color is reported to be 20 percent to 30 percent peak, but from Big Otter to Weston, foliage is 40 percent to 60 percent peak with isolated pockets of exceptionally bright color.
Taking U.S. Route 33 from Weston to Buckhannon, foliage gradually increases from 40 percent peak to 85 percent peak. Continuing on U.S. Route 33 from Buckhannon to Elkins, color varies from 85 percent peak to 95 percent peak at higher elevations and back to 80 percent to 85 percent peak at Elkins. Very bright colors are reported along this stretch of road with reds, oranges and yellows taking center stage.
Leaving Elkins on U.S. Route 219 and heading to Parsons, color goes from 80 percent peak to 40 percent peak. Traveling from Parsons to Thomas, foliage increases to 80 percent peak as the elevation gets higher. Although the top of the mountain is past peak, there is still quite a bit of color reported.
Additional recommended drives and places of interest for the weekend include:
•Camp Creek State Forest in Mercer County
•Tomlinson Run State Park in Hancock County
•Any drive along the Cheat River
•Peters Mountain in Monroe County
•The Summersville and Craigsville areas of Nicholas County
•Greenbrier River Trail
•I-64 from Sandstone to Beckley
•Lower Elk River in Webster County
•State Route 16 in Calhoun and Pleasants counties
•State Route 18 in Doddridge and Tyler counties