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West Virginia encourages responsible travel, virtual road trips

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

CHARLESTON — The higher elevations of West Virginia are starting to show the first signs of fall color.

The West Virginia Tourism Office has started to release its annual autumn forecast to help travelers enjoy peak leaf season.

The forecast, prepared with assistance from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, is part of a series of fall foliage updates the Tourism Office will release over the next few weeks. Reports will include the percentage of color change across the state and suggested travel routes through peak areas.

“Fall color is starting to make its way across the Mountain State, and a leaf peeping road trip is a great socially-distanced activity for all this season,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “Thanks to our partnership with the Division of Forestry, we’ll be sharing weekly fall color updates, as well as a featured road trip each week for those looking to get out and explore their own backyard in a safe and responsible way.”

Those looking to see the fall color from the comfort of their own home will have the opportunity to do so this year. The Tourism Office will be taking users on the weekly road trip on social media. Follow @WVtourism on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join in the virtual fall fun.

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

“We understand that travel looks different now, which is why we are bringing the fall color to you,” said Ruby. “We want all West Virginians and prospective visitors to join us virtually and marvel in all that Almost Heaven has to offer-even if it’s remotely.”

Travelers are encouraged to share their favorite fall photos using #AlmostHeaven to help populate the Tourism Office’s live leaf map-available at WVtourism.com/fall.

“By adding user-generated content to the map, we’re helping travelers plan their socially-distanced trips in the areas with the best fall color, and giving those joining from home an opportunity to see those iconic West Virginia views online,” said Ruby.

Travelers visiting West Virginia to see fall color are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. A statewide indoor face covering requirement remains in effect, and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance when traveling the state.

To access the foliage forecast and fall travel inspiration, visit WVtourism.com/fall.

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

Fall Foliage Update: The best leaf viewing can be found this week in the Potomac Highlands, with the higher elevations of Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker counties starting to show some brilliant warm hues. Counties in this region have reached up to 45 percent peak color.

Featured Country Road: U.S. 48 and U.S. 219

Drive along U.S. 48 and stop in Wardensville. This small town is a mountain oasis rich with delicious dining options, an abundance of outdoor recreation and unique points of interest. Continue to the charming mountain towns of Davis and Thomas on U.S. 219 where iconic attractions like Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley Resort State Park and the Monongahela National Forest, home to Dolly Sods Wilderness, can be found.

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

(Photo provided by the West Virginia Tourism Office)

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