Year of 2017

Bear Rocks Preserve, West Virginia

This windswept summit at Bear Rocks Preserve is one of the most frequently photographed places in West Virginia, and today—the first day of fall—kicks off a spectacular time of year to visit. The preserve in the Allegheny Mountains is on a rocky, high-altitude plateau that also includes the Dolly Sods Wilderness. The wind-sculpted sandstone outcrops lend the area much of its beauty, but this time of year the leaves compete for attention, taking on colorful shades that only boost the visual drama.

Bear Rocks are a widely recognized symbol of West Virginia wilderness and among the most frequently photographed places in the state. They are a well-known landmark on the eastern edge of the plateau that includes the Dolly Sods Wilderness. They sit in a high-elevation heathland punctuated with wind-carved sandstone outcrops and is home to more than a dozen rare plant and animal species. Situated on the crest of the Allegheny Front, Bear Rocks afford vistas over the South Branch Potomac River. Visibility can extend eastward to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.