CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mother Nature has begun painting the Mountain State in brilliant reds, dusty yellows and burnt oranges.
Autumn officially began Sept. 22 and will run through Dec. 20, speckling maple, birch and oak trees along its path.
Juergen Wildman, a forestry specialist with the state Division of Forestry, said different parts of the state change at different times due in part to temperature.
"In the mountains, leaves will change first because the temperatures are lower up there. The mountain counties will get changes a week or two ahead of lower elevation," he said.
Foliage color is currently at the highest peaks in Greenbrier, Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas and Randolph counties, according to the Division of Forestry.
Foresters report maple, birch, gum and ash trees in areas 3,000 feet and higher are the most colorful. Leaf-peepers can head to Tucker County on U.S. 219 through Davis, Thomas and Canaan Valley to see the area at 40 percent peak color season. Also nearly halfway at peak is Spruce Knob Lake in Pendleton County.
Though Kanawha County won't see color in full effect until the end of October, local residents are already catching glimpses of some yellow leaves.
"Poplar trees are already starting to turn. They turn quickly, that's just how they are," said Division of Forestry spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater.
"Kanawha State Forest in a couple of weeks will be absolutely gorgeous," she said. "And St. Albans - I know they do have some very nice tree-lined streets. In the valley, you're going to be able to just look around and see it. It's just going to be absolutely gorgeous."
Late September is peak season for Preston, Tucker, Grant, Mineral, Hardy, Pendleton and Pocahontas counties in the eastern part of the state with high elevations.