Being Ohio’s neighbor, West Virginia was always a state my family drove through to get to someplace else. But when I became an adult and took an east coast road trip with my best friend, we deliberately made a stop in West Virginia and that changed my mind forever. If you think West Virginia is just gas stations and trees, you’re mistaken. The scenery is some of the best you’ll find in all of the U.S. and that means there are plenty of things to do in West Virginia: Camping, hiking, and any other outdoor activity you can shake a snowshoe at! Get your car warmed up because the mountaineers are expecting you!
Palace of Gold
This is a bit of a strange site to see in the foothills of Appalachia. But the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness decided to build an elegant Hare Krishna community near Wheeling, West Virginia. Known as America’s Taj Mahal and one of CNN’s religious sites you have to see, the Palace of Gold is located in the rural West Virginia Panhandle and is a spiritual place where visitors can come to find renewed purpose. The palace has many attractions, festivals, events, and group tours to show you the way of the divine grace of its devotees.
Cass Scenic Railroad
The Cass Scenic Railroad was originally in service beginning in 1901 to connect lumber companies to a local paper mill. What was once a hard-charging machine chewing up rail ties and spitting out smoke, is now a more relaxed locomotive ride educating riders on the history of the town of Cass. The Shay locomotives that run are the exact same ones that ran way back when. They even have a repair station to keep them running in peak condition for a true time traveling experience. Excursions can take as many as four and a half hours to complete, overlooking spectacular views into two states. While there you can stay overnight in a company house that accommodate 4–14 guests and are open year-round. This might be a tire blog, but trains have been chugging along and changing the world since the 1800s.
New River Gorge Bridge
In 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge connected the rising hills on either side of the New River Gorge. This bridge cut travel times from around 40 minutes down to under one. It might help put fewer miles on your tires, but it’s also a wonder of modern architecture and engineering, ranking as the fourth longest single-span bridge made of steel. But it’s numero uno as the highest vehicular bridge in the world! It’s a remarkable 876 feet above the gorge and once a year, you can even jump off of it! Bridge Day takes place every third Saturday in October for the best autumnal view of West Virginia you can get.
The bridge isn’t the only thing to see. The New River Gorge National River has plenty to see and do once you’ve survived your BASE jump. The park has so much to offer including guided activities listed on the website (based on time of year), environmental education courses and activities for families, historical information about the people and places of the rich cultural area, and you can even take the 100-mile challenge (sorry, no tires allowed.)!
You could imagine that a heavily wooded area would be a great place for a moth to fly around searching for a light to fly into. But what people have persistently witnessed since the 60s is a humanlike figure with a 10-foot wingspan and fiery red eyes enough to make the devil stop in his tracks. The Mothman has been spotted countless times in the small town of Point Pleasant and has been linked to the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967 and other UFO sightings throughout the years. No amount of levelheaded explanations will make this legend go away. Especially with the town honoring its lore with the polished steel statue in Point Pleasant’s downtown. You can even hit the Mothman Museum to re-live historical accounts of the legend. Or, if you dare, take your chance and hike the many trails in Point Pleasant and see if you can meet the Mothman himself.
The logo isn’t the only thing that’s awesome about Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, Snowshoe has activities for the winter sports nut in you, or the sun’s out buns out best of ‘em. At the top of the mountain is a little village with character for dining, shopping, and rejuvenation after you’re done with a day full of skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and off-roading. In summer, paddleboard the lake, go mountain biking, ziplininig, hiking, canoeing, and off-roading. These are just a few of the things you can experience during the winter and summer at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. But if you go when it’s cold and you’re going to see snow on Snowshoe, make sure you wear your winter tires!
Not sure where we’ve been? You can always search “Road Trip Destinations Series” in the search bar at the top of the blog to find out. Have you traversed West Virginia? Let us know where!