Leaf Peeper Weekend Destinations in Summers County, West Virginia
Autumn is arguably the best time of year to visit Summers County. Cooler temperatures and mountainsides exploding in color bring tourists from across the region and beyond. Leaf peepers descend upon the small mountain towns nestled throughout the state to catch the changing of the leaves beginning in early October through early November.
Here we have our recommendations for the best ways to capture the splendor of the season.
The Trails at Pipestem Resort State Park
What better way to take in the sights than from the trails of one of West Virginia’s magnificent state parks. Pipestem Resort State Park, a 4,050-acre playground twenty minutes from historic Hinton, WV, offers more than 25 miles of diverse trails. There are rugged trails for the most experienced trekkers and leisurely jaunts for casual hikers.
Either way, the trails at Pipestem offer expansive views of the Bluestone River Gorge. To experience the breathtaking view at Raven Rock overlook, you’ll have to work for it. Farley Loop Trail, a three-miler, is the most rigorous trail in the park. Keep in mind, it’s three miles one way, and you’ll probably want to come back. The Lake Shore Trail, on the other hand, is a 2.2-mile loop encircling Long Branch Lake. Here you’ll enjoy forested as well as lakeside trail sections. This hike is relatively level and easy-going. From here you’ll catch glimpses of the migratory birds moving through the region on their trip South.
Sunset View Farms
For a kid-centric excursion, Sunset View Farms in Ballard, WV, about 30 minutes south of Hinton, is the place to go. Here you’ll have the opportunity to pile in for a hayride across the countryside. Then, pick a pumpkin to take home and carve. Perhaps the most fun of all, try to find your way out of a corn maze. This and more seasonal entertainment can be found every weekend throughout October at Sunset View Farms.
Sandstone & Brooks Falls
Sandstone Falls is the largest waterfall on the New River, spanning 1,500 feet across the river and featuring falls between 10 and 25 feet. These falls are arguably some of the most photographed natural features in Southern West Virginia, and autumn offers the most spectacular opportunity to capture the falls on a backdrop of vibrant red, orange and gold.
For a more secluded riverside experience, travel a few miles south of Sandstone Falls to discover Brooks Falls. This 10-foot waterfall is another, lesser known vision to behold. If you’re lucky, you might get the added treat of watching kayakers or rafters run this class III rapid.
Winterplace Chairlift Ride
For a bird’s-eye view of the changing leaves blanketing the mountains, make plans for a scenic chairlift ride at Winterplace Ski Resort. Bring a picnic and hike to the bottom of the slopes to extend your day. Then, take the lift back to the top. Or, go again and again between noon and 4:30 pm.