Are you experiencing a craving for outdoor adventure and can’t wait to hit the road once again? If thinking about the different spots you should be visiting on your upcoming itinerary, you might want to consider West Virginia, the great Appalachian State famous for its scenic rivers, beautiful valleys, and ridged mountains. So let’s get introduced to top West Virginia Road Trip destinations.
A road trip escapade through West Virginia unveils plenty of attractions you probably haven’t seen before. Rest assured that every single trip to the state from one season to another will be different. Luckily, we’ve already undergone through the hassles to identify the top destinations that will fascinate even the least outdoor enthusiastic people.
Check out these top destinations in West Virginia that will make your trip memorable and fun-filled.
- 1 Highland Scenic Highway – 43 miles Long Road Trip
- 2 Harpers Ferry – Civil War History, National Park & More!
- 3 New River Gorge National River
- 4 Snowshoe Mountain – Top West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
- 5 Seneca Rocks – Best West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
- 6 Blackwater Falls State Park
- 7 Gauley River National Recreation Area
- 8 The Greenbrier – National Historic Landmark
- 9 Coopers Rock State Forest– Full of Wildlife & Adventure
- 10 Wrapping up West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
Highland Scenic Highway – 43 miles Long Road Trip
Scenic routes have a way of unveiling breathtaking beauties that are awe-inspiring and this 43-mile-long scenic highway is no different. The Highland Scenic Highway cruises through the thick hardwood forest, Monongahela National Forest, rising to 4,500 feet.
With 4 attractive picturesque overlooks to explore on the way, you’re going to come across spectacular stopping points to enjoy Allegheny Mountains’ expansive views. You’re definitely going to need an HD camera to capture those breathtaking sceneries. This could be your starting point for many West Virginia Road Trip Destinations.
Harpers Ferry – Civil War History, National Park & More!
Harpers Ferry is the meeting point of the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River. This small town is also the grounds at which abolitionist John Brown raided the US arsenal in 1859, which later catalyzed the start of the Civil War.
On this road trip don’t forget to visit Harpers Ferry National Park which is fully loaded with lots of attractions including historical exhibits, museums, 20 miles hiking trail, and programs. At the point at which the two rivers meet has humongous rocks worthy of exploration. Then trek to a historic cemetery and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church found just behind the rocks on a hill.
Also, plan to visit the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center to enjoy some outdoors such as hiking on Appalachian Trail as you view the rivers and towns nearby. It is one of the most promising West Virginia Road Trip Destinations for adventure and history buffs.
New River Gorge National River
Contrary to its name, this is one of the continent’s oldest rivers. New River pushes its way into the state as it cuts across the Appalachian Plateau, creating the New River Gorge. At this gorge, there’s lots of water suitable for water sport fun like rafting, tubing, and canoeing. You’ll also get to enjoy other recreational activities here, such as ziplining, hunting, hiking, bird watching, biking, rock climbing, and fishing.
On this route, you’ll also come across the New River Bridge, one of the most photographed attractions in West Virginia. The bridge is the longest steel structure in this region and the third-largest in the US, spanning a height of 876 feet above the floor of the canyon.
To the south of the New River Gorge National River, you’ll get to enjoy plenty of outdoors at Bluestone State Park. Some of the fun activities include camping boating, hiking, and fishing on the lake just behind Bluestone Dam.
Snowshoe Mountain – Top West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
If you’re a skiing buff, you’ve probably heard of this top skiing attraction in West Virginia. It’s high time you paid it a visit. Snowshoe Mountain is ranked the largest ski area in the state and also houses the highest vertical drop in West Virginia. If you love the exhilarating thrill that comes with skiing on high heights, this is the destination you need to be at.
Offering the best skiing pleasure in the region, the Snowshoe Mountains resort also offers a wide range of outdoors and accommodation. It is a fully-fledged resort with a variety of restaurants and lodging close by. Some of the activities you’ll enjoy here include cross country skiing, snowcat tours, snowshoe tours, hot tubs, mini-golf, arcades, and a lot more.
If you happen to visit during summer, you definitely won’t get enough of swimming, hiking, kayaking, ziplining, mountain bike climbing, stand up paddleboarding, and much more. Top attractions nearby that you wouldn’t want to miss are the Cass Scenic Railroad and Green Bank Observatory.
Seneca Rocks – Best West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
If you’re a true hiking or climbing buff, you’re going to find this place amazing. Scenic Rocks is among the state’s top known scenic sights, prominent for hiking and climbing. Found in Monongahela National Forest in Eastern Panhandle, Scenic Rocks is covered with the gorgeous formation of gray/white Tuscarora quartzite rocks which rise to about 900 feet above the North Fork River.
The quartzite is approximated to be 250 feet in thickness and is mainly located on the exposed ridges. Monongahela has varying elevations ranging between 100 feet and 4,863 feet above the sea level. The beautiful views in this park and the wildlife present attractive sights to capture amazing photos. Seneca Rocks Discovery Center nearby also provides interpretive programs during weekends in summer.
Blackwater Falls State Park
Named after Blackwater River which has dark waters as a result of the contact between tannic acid, red spruce needles, and hemlock, the Blackwater Falls offers magnificent views you wouldn’t want to get your eyes off. The waterfall drops about 60 feet over the sandstone ledges after which the river runs through an 8-mile gorge. The falls are accessible all year round through viewing platforms and steps.
The park also has got popular places you’d love to visit, such as Pendleton Falls which can be easily seen by pulling over by the roadside, and Elakala Falls running down the canyon walls and is accessible via a short trail.
Another highlight in the park is the spectacular views of Blackwater Canyon from Lindy Point, rated among the most attractive sights in West Virginia. Pendleton Point Overlook at the deepest point of the canyon is yet another attraction you will be amazed by. Outdoor fun activities at the park also include camping, fishing, and swimming. This is a must-go stop to enjoy several beautiful West Virginia Road Trip Destinations.
Gauley River National Recreation Area
With class III, IV, and V rapids, Gauley River National Recreation Area found between Fayetteville and Summersville towns in Southern West Virginia is one of the most exhilarating spots for whitewater rafting in the Eastern United States.
This recreational area spans the length of the 25 miles Gauley River passing through scenic valleys and gorges to provide a top destination for experiencing outdoor fun. Enjoy guided rafting tours from some of the licensed operators here and also get to visit Summerville Dam where you can partake in primitive camping offered by the National Park Service.
At Summersville Lake, you’ll get to meet the Army Corps of Engineers offering fully-fledged camping. Other fun-filled activities you’ll enjoy at the lake include diving, boating, swimming and much more. Enjoy climbing and hiking on the rugged cliffs found here.
The Greenbrier – National Historic Landmark
The Greenbrier is designated as a National Historic Landmark for its notable beauty and magnificence. Situated at the White Sulphur Springs, one of the oldest natural spas in operation since the 1700s, The Greenbrier has served as the grounds for quite a number of important events.
Greenbrier has hosted foreign dignitaries, 26 presidents, and many royalties including Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. Despite being so grand and majestic, the resort has played important roles in history as well. During the early World War II era, Greenbrier was used to detain Japanese and German diplomats present in the US when the war started. Later on, during the war, the U.S Army commandeered it for use as a hospital, offering treatment to about 25,000 patients.
During the era of the Cold War, the Greenbrier was used to construct an underground shelter to shield the whole U.S. Congress from nuclear attacks. The shelter nicknamed “Project Greek Island” is now open for public tours after its decommissioning in 1992. It is now known as President’s Cottage Museum and contains presidential visits exhibitions as well as the resort’s rich history.
The resort and the Greenbrier State Forest nearby have more than 50 outdoor activities to enjoy including adventure courses, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, horseback riding, and a spa of 40,000 feet.
Coopers Rock State Forest– Full of Wildlife & Adventure
Found about 13 miles east of East Morgantown, Coopers Rock State Forest serves as a haven for outdoor adventure buffs since it has rock cliff bands lining the Cheat River Gorge..
Numerous trails are winding through the forest valleys, over ridges, and several creeks. The forest is full of wildlife; get ready to enjoy the beautiful views of chipmunks, squirrels, turkeys, songbirds, hawks, fox, deer, and turkey vultures. Cheat River flowing nearby runs for over 78 miles and is one of the region’s top destinations for whitewater rafting.
Wrapping up West Virginia Road Trip Destinations
Just as you might have noticed, West Virginia is the place to be if you seek amazing outdoor adventure opportunities. Even if you aren’t into outdoors as much, there are lots of stunning views and activities to indulge in during your road trip escapade in this state. Just be prepared to immerse yourself in exhilarating fun as you tour West Virginia. Be sure to visit these top destinations for elevated fun and experience.
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