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This Natural Phenomenon In West Virginia Happens Just Once A Year And It’s Spectacular

Most of our state is bursting into fall foliage color right now, and you can go just about anywhere in West Virginia to see beautiful trees. But there’s one place in the state where the color is not just in the trees… the ground also turns into a brilliant carpet of red. You can see this take place for just a few weeks in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area of West Virginia. The high elevation and unusual climate creates an atmosphere that stands apart from the rest of the scenery in the state.

Directions to Dolly Sods:
From Petersburg follow WV 28/55 south to Jordan Run Road. Turn right and go 1 mile to Forest Road 19. Turn left and follow FR 19 six miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area. The wilderness is directly ahead of you at the intersection with FR 75. Turn right for Wildlife and Fisher Spring trailheads; turn left for Rohrbaugh and Red Creek trailheads.

From Canaan Valley: follow WV 32 south to the Laneville Road (WV 45). Turn left and go approximately 6 miles to the Red Creek Bridge, where the road changes from pavement to gravel and is now Forest Road 19. Red Creek trailhead is on the left behind the Laneville wildlife management cabin. Continue on FR 19 to get to Rohrbaugh trailhead and FR 75.

The roads into the Dolly Sods area are rough, so drive slowly. Use caution when hiking or camping in this area. The area was once used to test explosives. If you find an object that could be an explosive, don’t touch it. Make sure to extinguish all fires, and use fires only in designated areas. Several campfires burned out of control here a few weeks ago.

For another great look at West Virginia fall foliage, check out this scenic road trip.

Rachel Whetstone
Rachel is proud to live in wild and wonderful West Virginia. She enjoys nature walks, photography, and discovering new restaurants all around the state.