Southern West Virginia is special for a number of reasons, one of which being that it is the only place in the country with three National Parks in such close proximity. Take a trip to Bluestone National Scenic River, New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area to see some of the most beautiful parts of the state, complete with epic whitewater, awe-inspiring vistas and stunning waterfalls.
The Legend of John Henry
The railroad is one of the defining features of the West Virginia economy and its landscape. The tracks did not just lay themselves, though; they were built with the sweat and often the lives of men. One of these men is John Henry, known as the Steel Drivin’ Man’. Legend says that John Henry was the strongest and hardest working man on the rails. While working with the rest of the crew to build the Big Bend Tunnel through Big Bend Mountain, a traveling salesman came by selling a steam power drill that he claimed could out work any man. John Henry took that challenge and beat the drill in a digging contest. The effort was too much for John Henry however and he collapsed dead after his victory. The legend of John Henry still lives on in the small community of Talcott, where Big Bend Tunnel stands and where John Henry is supposed to have died. This itinerary takes you through many small towns with local history, folk legends, an enormous flea market, general stores, historic buildings, an art gallery and more. You will be following the Greenbrier River and the all-important railroad for most of your journey.
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is one of the largest off-road vehicle trail systems in the country. It is made up of six individual trail systems, three in Southern West Virginia, that are open every day of the year to ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes If you like mud and adventure, this is one of the best ways to explore the mountains of West Virginia. Permits You must have a valid permit to ride the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. Permits can be purchased online at www.trailsheaven.com, or at authorized retailers located near the Trails. Cost $26.50 WV resident, $50, non-WV resident Hours All riders must be off the the trails by dark.
Bramwell and Bluefield: History and The Arts
This journey will take you from an old railroad city to a small town rich with coal baron history. Bluefield, WV is a growing art community with unique galleries taking up more and more of the city blocks. Bramwell, WV is known for once being home to more millionaires per capita then anywhere in the United States. The millionaires of Bramwell were coal barons and we invite you to come, pick up a walking tour brochure (at the depot) and spend the day viewing the well-maintained historic buildings. Twice a year in June and December these buildings are opened for a guided Tour of Homes. To learn about coal and how these ‘barons’ earned their riches a stop at the Pocahontas Coal Mine is in order.
Welcome to Summersville Lake, the largest lake in West Virginia. This lake and the surrounding area are a recreational haven. Here you can swim, dive or test your skills at water sports. The rugged landscape and spectacular cliffs surrounding the lake are great for hiking and climbing. Some of the best whitewater in the world can be found in this area, and there is plenty of fascinating Civil War history.
The Sandstone Itinerary
The New River is a mighty force that runs through Southern West Virginia. You can see the power of the river at the famous Sandstone Falls. This 25-foot waterfall is breathtakingly beautiful and the focal point of this suggested itinerary. Start out at the National Park Visitor Center just off the interstate, then take a pleasant drive along the river to the smaller Brooks Falls and the grand Sandstone Falls. Finish your trip in Hinton, a quaint railroad town.
Camp Creek and Princeton
Relax and enjoy nature at your own pace during any season at Camp Creek State Park. In addition, it is close to the town of Princeton, a bustling community rich in history.
Lewisburg: America’s Coolest Small Town
Welcome to America’s Coolest Small Town and its beautiful surrounding countryside. Numerous eateries, shops and a vibrant arts scene are reasons to visit this historic community.
Babcock Scenic Trail
Babcock State Park is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia for a good reason. With the historic and picturesque Glade Creek Grist Mill, miles of trails and cabins, you could spend a few hours or a few days here. Babcock is also located near several other cultural and natural attractions, and the route is along two scenic highways. This trip couldn’t be more relaxing and beautiful.
A Journey to a Simpler Place
Take a journey to a simpler place. Monroe County is a beautiful rural community with breathtaking landscapes, rich history and friendly people. Monroe County was first settled by Europeans in the 1760s. Its economic basis was and still is agriculture. Monroe’s pride in its farm culture is displayed in beautiful quilt squares on the side of barns across the county. In the 1800s, Monroe County became famous for its mineral springs. The remains of lavish resorts that once catered to wealthy southerners can still be seen around the country side. In the historic town of Union, one can view historic homes and buildings and learn about Union’s Civil War history. Oh, and one last thing- there are no traffic lights in the entire county!
Grandview: Getting Back to Nature
Southern West Virginia has so much natural beauty, it is hard to take it all in. This trip takes you to four parks that showcase some of the best vistas in the region and help you get back to nature.
A Journey through the Coalfields
This trip takes you through what many consider the heart of Appalachian coal country. Wyoming and McDowell Counties have produced millions of tons of coal over the years, and many residents continue to carve out a living in the mines. On this trip you will see ruggedly beautiful mountain landscapes and striking architecture, as well as experience some of the industrial history and heritage of the area.
Visit the New River Gorge
The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere and stands 876 feet over the New River. Near the Bridge is Fayetteville, a unique little town noted for its history and eclectic dining. Also surrounding the Bridge is the New River Gorge National River. This National Recreation Area offers numerous hiking trails and a visitor center. Come spend a day exploring the natural beauty of the New River and finish it off with a taste of Fayetteville.
The Best of WV Culture
The “Best of West Virginia” is on display year-round under one round roof at Tamarack. Not only is everything in the building made by West Virginia artists and artisans, but the food court, run by Greenbrier Resort chefs, is affordable and offers amazing West Virginia entrees. So make sure you save Tamarack for a breakfast, lunch or dinner stop on this tour. Although it’s great to see the finished project, it’s even better to visit one of our artisan winemakers in person. You can tour and taste at Daniel Vineyards. No trip to this area is complete without a stop at Grandview where, once you visit the overlooks, you will understand where the park got its’ name. If you are here between mid-June and August, Grandview is also the home of Theatre West Virginia’s Cliffside Amphitheater, where performances take place under the stars.
Coal Mining Heritage
Southern West Virginia is rich in coal and railroad history. We invite you to take a walk down our “heritage lane," where you’ll learn about coal mining and visit a town that was once only reachable by rail.