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Base Camp of the Monongahela National Forest

The beauty and splendor of a West Virginia autumn has attained legendary status when it comes to sightseeing, atmosphere, weather, and must-do adventures, especially in Randolph County and the surrounding region. Being the third most forested state, primarily made up of deciduous trees, West Virginia explodes with colors once the leaves start to turn.  If you’ve never experienced our county in the fall, then you are in for a real special treat. Randolph County is home to some incredible scenic drives and motorcycle rides. Our mountains range in elevation from 900 feet to 4,800 feet which ends up being that perfect equation for a longer fall leaf season, and it’s never too late to start exploring. Whether you are driving through Randolph County on a scenic byway, or enjoying a crisp fall hike in the well-preserved Monongahela National Forest, everywhere you look is alive with vibrant oranges, reds, yellows, and deep purples.

Photo Credit, Spruce Knob Lake // @djonesmedia

As of the first week of October, the time to start planning your adventure to our part of the state is now. All foliage conditions are present across most of the Potomac Highlands region this week. Splashes and bursts of color have spread to the mountains. Here in Randolph County, we are well into the middle phase of the season, and many areas over 4,000 feet like the highest lake in the state, Spruce Knob Lake, or the spruce forests mixed with northern hardwoods at Mower Tract on Cheat Mountain, Gaudineer Scenic Area, Dolly Sods Wilderness and Roaring Plains Wilderness are experiencing peak or near-peak conditions. On exposed ridges, windblown leaves have already fallen from many trees, adding a layer of color on the ground making it quite a lovely scene.

Bickle Knob Observation Tower

The weather has been delightfully warm during the day and the cooler temperatures are creeping in during the late evenings into the night. As we move into the second week of October rain and cooler air in the forecast will likely ignite the color change to elevations in Randolph County in the 3,000 to 4,000 foot elevation range. Consider a picnic under the changing canopy with family and friends at Kumbrabow State Forest and continue the adventure by touring through the small towns of Helvetia and Pickens. Other areas include Rich Mountain Battlefield or taking a scenic forest road up to Bickle Knob Observation Tower from Stuart Recreation Area to catch a panoramic vista of the surrounding forest as seen from a birds eye view.

Photo Credit, West Fork Rail Trail // @climbingfern

Sheltered areas like the valleys and towns in the lower elevations is where the brilliant color is yet to come. Around the towns of Elkins and Beverly there is still a considerable amount of green, but the transformation of summer into fall normally happens at these towns around mid-October and lingers around until the end of the month. Biking during this time on the Allegheny Highlands Trail and West Fork Rail Trail showcase the beauty of our rolling hills draped in the autumn glory.

Whether you are taking in the foliage biking, fishing, hiking, motorcycling, or driving you truly can’t go wrong. Sunny days and dreary days still display the brilliant leaves. Randolph County is considered the base camp of the Monongahela National Forest and there is no better place to start planning your getaway. Our secluded vacation rentals are exactly what is calling your name.