Searching for peak color at Eagle Rock and Capon Springs, WV (PHOTOS)

The view from Eagle Rock. facing east, looking across the western side of the Shenadoah Valley. (Kevin Ambrose)

The view from Eagle Rock looking across the western side of the Shenandoah Valley.  This view faces east into Virginia.  (Kevin Ambrose)

Eagle Rock (elevation 2,595 feet) straddles the state line between Virginia and West Virginia. It’s located about 10 miles northwest of Strasburg, Virginia.  The overlook is named after a huge rock that resembles a flying eagle when viewed from behind.  Eagle Rock provides a great view of the western Shenandoah Valley and was one target of our photography trip this past weekend to find fall foliage in peak color.

When we arrived, the foliage was slightly past peak at the summit of the mountain, near Eagle Rock, but lower down on the east slope of the mountain and along the western side of the Shenandoah Valley the trees were still near peak color.  On the the western slope of the mountain, however, the leaves were past peak.

At Capon Springs, located just west of Eagle Rock and at the base of the mountain, there were just enough colorful leaves remaining in the trees to provide the setting for some fun fall photography.

The location of Eagle Rock and Capon Springs is displayed on the map. Eagle Rock is a 95 mile drive from Washington, D.C. (Mapquest)

The location of Eagle Rock and Capon Springs is displayed on the map. Eagle Rock is a 95 mile drive from Washington, D.C. (Mapquest)

The most challenging aspect about the photo shoot was the drive west.  Rt 29 was closed near Gainesville for construction which created a five mile back up on I-66 as traffic was detoured west on I-66 to Rt 15.  To avoid the backup, we took Rt 50 west to Rt 15 south, but we still encountered plenty of traffic and delays.  In general, the drive to the mountains during peak foliage season is often quite congested.  Plan extra time when taking a trip to check out the fall colors.

Once we passed Rt 15, the traffic flowed very quickly and we made good time as we crossed the Shenandoah Valley.  Along the way, we noticed the Blue Ridge seemed to be near peak but the colors were slightly dull. This was also noticed last week during a photo shoot of the northern Shenandoah Valley, while slightly better color was found south along the Blue Ridge on a separate photo shoot along Skyline Drive.

Mounting evidence from our own recent travels, as well as others who are often out checking the leaves from year-to-year, seems to continue to indicate that color is generally not as vibrant as it can be in the best seasons.  But, even a lower-color autumn still provides some awesome scenery.

Looking out over Virginia from Eagle Rock. This is a multi-image stitch to create a panorama. (Ian Livingston)

Looking out over Virginia from Eagle Rock. This is a multi-image stitch to create a panorama. (Ian Livingston)

Saturday evening, after the sun set behind the mountains and our photo shoot was complete, we were treated to an old-fashioned Capon Springs dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy in the resort’s main dining hall.  Unfortunately, we had to leave for home before the Saturday night bonfire and hot dog roast.  Maybe next time.

As Brendan reminded last Friday, don’t wait until it’s too late. Peak color will continue to work southeast across the region fairly rapidly in the coming period, and any windstorms once that time hits tend to send those leaves flying.

Some more of our favorites from Saturday…

A fiery red tree grows out of the rock cliff near Eagle Rock. (Kevin Ambrose)

A fiery red tree grows out of the rock cliff near Eagle Rock. (Kevin Ambrose)

A log cabin surrounded by autumn color at Capon Springs. (Ian Livingston)

A log cabin surrounded by autumn color at Capon Springs. (Ian Livingston)

The Capon Springs golf course shows some fall color. (Kevin Ambrose)

The golf course at Capon Springs shows some fall color. (Kevin Ambrose)

The creek that flows through Capon Springs still has some green shrubbery. (Ian Livingston)

The creek that flows through Capon Springs still has some green shrubbery. (Ian Livingston)

One lone leaf remained on this branch at Capon Springs, WV. (Kevin Ambrose)

One lone leaf remained on this branch at the Capon Springs resort. (Kevin Ambrose)

Late evening autumn scenery at Capon Springs. This image is HDR. (Ian Livingston)

Late afternoon autumn scenery at Capon Springs. This image is HDR. (Ian Livingston)

The tree above this bench is losing its leaves as soon as they change color.  This photo shows the lawn of Capon Springs. (Kevin Ambrose)

The tree next to the bench appears to be losing its leaves as soon as they change color.  This is a view of the Capon Springs lawn and the bandstand. (Kevin Ambrose)

A waterwheel at the exit point of the naturally fed Capon Springs swimming pool and the creek behind it. A long exposure blurs the wheel spokes. (Ian Livingston)

A water wheel at the exit point of the spring-fed Capon Springs swimming pool and the creek behind it. A long exposure blurs the wheel spokes. (Ian Livingston)

A fast flowing mountain creek is filled with recently fallen leaves. (Kevin Ambrose)

A fast flowing mountain creek is filled with recently fallen leaves. (Kevin Ambrose)

The foliage was quite colorful along the old stage coach road that cuts across the mountain from Rt 55 to Capon Springs. (Kevin Ambrose)

The foliage was quite colorful along the old stage coach road that cuts across the mountain from Rt 55 to Capon Springs.  Eagle Rock is accessed from this road by a rocky 1.5 mile trail that is mostly uphill to the overlook. (Kevin Ambrose)

A pathway along the creek at Capon Springs provided patches of colors running from green to red. (Ian Livingston)

A pathway along the creek at Capon Springs provided patches of colors running from green to red. (Ian Livingston)

Ian Livingston (left) and Kevin Ambrose (right) pose on Eagle Rock during this past weekend's fall foliage photo shoot. (Grace Wiseman)

Ian Livingston (left) and Kevin Ambrose (right) pose on Eagle Rock during this past weekend’s fall foliage photo shoot. (Grace Weissman)

As the season progresses, expect more colorful scenes from us. But please remember: We want your fall foliage photos too! Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Flickr!

Related

Fall colors popping from Great Falls to Richmond (PHOTOS) (Oct 22)
Photos from Skyline Drive: Near peak foliage color (Oct 21)

Before air conditioning there was Capon Springs, West Virginia (July 12)

Also on Capital Weather Gang

Halloween weather: will rainy front foil D.C., Northeast trick-or-treat plans?