October 20th Fall Foliage Report for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic Mountains

Today we’re going to head north to south within our coverage area.

According to the expert leaf lovers in the Wild and Wonderful state of West Virginia, the fall colors right now will provide a gorgeous backdrop for Bridge Day in WV.

West Virginia Division of Forestry officials say leaves in the New River Gorge are very close to peak, right on schedule for the 33rd annual Bridge Day. On Saturday, Oct. 20, the largest extreme sports event hosts daredevils who will jump, rappel and zipline from one of the world’s longest steel single arch bridges. If their stunts aren’t colorful enough, the event’s background will be. Fall color in the New River Gorge is reported to be excellent this year.

The Forestry service is reporting 85% peak color right now in Fayette County, WV which is home to the New River Gorge Bridge.

Surrounding counties, including Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Summers and Raleigh range from 70 percent to 90 percent peak. Any route to Bridge Day should provide a colorful drive.

Every road is scenic this week in Wetzel County, where foliage is peak. The Northern Panhandle counties of Brooke, Hancock, Marshall and Ohio are peak. Although foresters say all roads in the Northern Panhandle will be beautiful drives this weekend, they especially recommend U.S. Route 250 and State Route 2, which runs along the Ohio River.


Virginia Department of Forestry reports that the bright sunny days and cool, crisp nights they are experiencing now are ideal conditions for trees to bring out their fall colors. These colors are revealing themselves across the state. In Southwest Virginia, colors continue to transition away from green. In the higher elevations near Abingdon, colors are at peak. In the New River Valley, approximately one-quarter to one-third of the trees have color. In the Allegheny Mountains, significant color change can be seen in Highland County. In the Shenandoah Valley, the fall color change is underway. Fall colors continue unfolding in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. At this time, peak colors are expected in the mountains during late October and early November; the Piedmont and Coastal Plain are expected to peak during mid-to-late November.

Reports are that the Virginia mountains are experience about 85% peak color right now so a drive anywhere along the Blue Ridge will be very pretty.


It is beautiful outside – the temperatures couldn’t be more perfect. In the 50s and 60s during the day and cooling into the 30s. We’ve had some rain and some wind, but remarkably, there are still colorful leaves on the trees!

This year, we’ve missed out on some of the bright vibrant reds and striking oranges, but they are still dotting the mountainsides. Overall, the most prevalent color is yellow. Hickories, poplars, locusts, some maples. While I believe the peak color has passed now in the Boone and Valle Crucis area, there is still a lot of color.

I reported on Monday that I thought peak color was going to right about now and I will stand by the statement across the broad area. Some areas (highest elevations) are slightly past peak, and others are right at 100% peak color right now. It has been a tough autumn to make that accurate assessment as again there are more muted fall colors this season. AGAIN GORGEOUS, but not the brilliant reds we’re accustom to.

Here’s a sampling of things to do this weekend:

Valle Country Fair – October 20 – It’s like an overgrown church bizarre. Sponsored by Holy Cross Episcopal Church, you’ll find over 125 craft vendors, food (try the Brunswick Stew…YUM!!), and local entertainment. Their fair is free, but parking is $5. All proceeds from this fair go back into the community to support such causes as literacy and youth mentoring. Find out more at ValleCountryFair.org.

Woolly Worm Festival – October 20-21 – They have so much fun at this festival they had to extend it an extra day. Woolly Worms race to see who will have the honor of predicting the coming winter’s weather. Bring your own worm or purchase one from of the "worm stables" at the festival. Lots of food and crafts. Go to WoollyWorm.com for more information.

Tweetsie’s Ghost Train is still steaming around the mountain in the evenings. It’s full of great fun for all ages. Make sure to get your tickets ahead of time because it is a very popular event!

ASU plays Wofford today as well so traffic around the High Country will be crazy with slow moving leaf lookers as well as congested roadways. Be careful and take a slow ride and take in the color.

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