Fall Beauty in Nature’s Mountain Playground…Where and How to Make the Most of It  

There’s something to be said about the simple, beautiful things of life.  The random smile of a sleeping newborn baby, a radiant sunset, or the ghostly appearance of a fog-laden mountain valley in early autumn.  These are just a few examples of beautiful things in life that happen whether we take the time to acknowledge them or not.  There’s a line from one of my all-time favorite movies that perfectly captures what I’m trying to say, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”  Indeed, things of beauty, especially in nature, don’t jump about and clamor for our attention.  They just occur.  And we are blessed when we take the time to appreciate them.  With the coming of fall, we are about to be handed one of the best opportunities to behold the beauty of nature on a truly grand scale.  In fact, in the mountains of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, we will be enveloped by it – surrounded in hues of yellow, gold, red and orange.  I’m of course talking about the beauty of West Virginia fall foliage.  Our rustic mountains and secluded valleys will soon be the canvas for what will hopefully be a vibrant and arresting display of quiet beauty and splendor for those willing to slow down and take it in.  And there’s no better place to experience that fall beauty than right here in Nature’s Mountain Playground.  So here’s a quick rundown of some of the best ways and places to experience the quiet beauty of fall in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  

Train Rides 

There are two popular train excursions originating out of Pocahontas County that have drawn leaf-peeping visitors here for years.  First is The Durbin Rocket.  The Rocket is propelled by a Heisler No. 6 coal-fed steam engine that harkens back to the early days of West Virginia’s rail and logging industry.  Today the Durbin Rocket transports visitors on a ten and a half-mile, two-hour journey along the Greenbrier River.  And during peak fall foliage, the sights are breathtaking as you meander along the river surrounded by rugged mountains painted in the vibrant hues of fall.  Bring a warm jacket and your camera, as you’ll not want to miss a single photo op from the open car of this classic old train.  Contact The Durbin Rocket for further information and fall excursion dates.

Our second fall foliage 2021 train adventure is Cass Scenic Railroad.  Where the Durbin Rocket offers one excursion along the mountain river bottom, Cass offers two excursions climbing up the mountain heights.  Visitors in search of West Virginia’s best fall foliage can choose from either the two-hour round-trip Whittaker run, or the four-and-a-half-hour round-trip Bald Knob run.  Either excursion promises unforgettable views and an opportunity to behold the rugged beauty of Pocahontas County while riding the original rails laid in 1901.  And with Bald Knob being the third highest mountain peak in West Virginia, the Bald Knob run may very well be one of the best places to see fall foliage in Pocahontas County.  For further information and train schedules, contact Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Scenic Drives 

If you’re the type that would like to create your own fall foliage tour, Nature’s Mountain Playground offers some of the most impressive scenic drives anywhere in the state of West Virginia.  Each year The Highland Scenic Highway proves to be one of the most popular fall scenic drives in Pocahontas County.  And why not?  The Highland Scenic Highway weaves along the Allegheny Highlands climbing from an elevation of 2,325 feet to a height of more than 4,500 feet, making this beautiful scenic drive the highest average elevated highway east of the Mississippi.  And in the fall, the colors from any one of the four scenic overlooks must be seen to be believed – truly amazing.  Of course, there’s nothing that says you can’t find amazing fall views from just about any road within the county.  At over 940 square miles in area, as well as plenty of forest and park roads to choose from, Pocahontas County offers more scenic byways and picturesque backroads to explore than any other county in West Virginia.  So grab that fall foliage map, gas up the car and create your own fall foliage tour.  

Hiking and Biking Trails  

Our final fall foliage destination really makes the most of enjoying the quiet beauty of autumn.  If you’re looking for a slower and quieter option of enjoying the fall colors this year, Nature’s Mountain Playground’s hiking and biking trails are hard to beat.  One of the more frequented trails in the county is the Greenbrier River Trail.  This former railroad track turned state park, is available to hikers and bikers, as well as horseback riders and cross-country skiers and is the longest trail of its kind in West Virginia.  The seventy-eight-mile-long trail parallels much of the Greenbrier River and, at only a one percent grade, lazily winds its way through isolated mountain valleys that, in the fall of the year, would promise to showcase the beauty of autumn’s hues in a unique way for a hiker or biker.  By slowing down and moving along at your own pace, a visitor can take in the surrounding beauty, creating a more inclusive feeling.  Much more so than speeding by in a train or automobile.  A hiking/biking trail really affords you the opportunity to connect with the beauty all around you.  But the Greenbrier River Trail isn’t the only trail available for leaf-peeping.  Watoga State Park, Seneca State Forest, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park and Beartown State Park all offer a variety of trails perfect for getting out and among the fall colors.  You can check out any of these amazing destinations further at wvstateparks.com.

Well, that’s a short rundown of a few of the places and ways to enjoy the beauty of fall in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  So find your fall colors prediction map and start making your best weekend plans for fall with us in Nature’s Mountain Playground.  You might also jot down that movie quote, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention” as a reminder that the clock is ticking, and the beauty of fall won’t be around for long.  It never is.