CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Some of West Virginia’s most well-known, scenic spots include New River Gorge, Kanawha Falls, Summers County and more.
The Amtrak Cardinal train, which travels between Chicago and New York, goes through several of West Virginia’s famous tourist locations.
The first Mountain State stop, depending on which way one is traveling, is in Huntington (HUN) in Cabell County. The train also stops at Charleston in Kanawha County, then Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince, Hinton and Alderson. The final West Virginia stop is in White Sulphur Springs (WSS).
The route would be vice versa if riding the opposite way.
Note: The route, prices and length of stay are primarily discussed as if the passenger is taking the train from HUN to WSS. Some details will differ if riding in the opposite direction, or if the passenger uses stops between HUN and WSS.
Scenic route in detail
The route goes through some of West Virginia’s prettiest counties — Fayette, Summers and Greenbrier — with scenic views of the Appalachian Mountains.
While in Fayette County, passengers can see Kanawha Falls, the New River Gorge Bridge and the old mining town of Thurmond. The railroad goes along the Kanawha and New rivers, deep below the mountains, and through the gorge.
In Summers County, train riders will see the beautiful Sandstone Falls (the largest waterfall on the New River) and go through the historic railroad town of Hinton. During the fall Hinton Railroad Days festival, the Autumn Colors Express train follows a shorter version of the Cardinal route, going from Huntington to Hinton and back.
The Cardinal’s final West Virginia stop — White Sulphur Springs — is where the National Historic Landmark The Greenbrier resort is located. According to Google Maps, the WSS station is about a three-minute drive or six-minute walk to The Greenbrier.
The Gov. Jim Justice-owned resort is home to luxury rooms, suites, estates, cottages, restaurants and retail shops. The Greenbrier also has a bunker, spa, golf course, bowling alley, ice rink, casino and historic bunker.
The train ride from HUN to WSS can be fairly cheap depending on availability and the chosen travel option.
For example, the Coach Saver seat is $18 there and $18 back, totaling $36 roundtrip. The deal is non-refundable, and a cancellation or change fee may apply.
The Coach Value is an upgraded travel option that is $35 each way, totaling $70 roundtrip. The ticket includes refund options, and there is no change fee.
The most expensive coach option is the Flexible ticket for $68 each way, totaling $136. The Coach Flexible offers a 100% refund before departure, and there are no fees for cancellation or changes.
A Roomette, the highest-level travel option, includes first-class accommodations, a private restroom and shower in the rail car, station lounge access and complimentary onboard meals. The Roomette is $178 each way, totaling $356.
Note: The specific deal below $50 (mentioned in the headline) is the Coach Saver. Prices may also vary if getting on or off at a stop in between HUN and WSS, such as Charleston or Hinton.
The prices listed above are according to Amtrak’s website.
Length of stay
The Cardinal stops in West Virginia on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The ride from HUN to WSS takes a little over four hours and 30 minutes.
The Cardinal departs from HUN around 7:26 a.m. and arrives in WSS at about 12:01 p.m. The train later leaves WSS around 5:05 p.m., arriving back in HUN at about 9:44 p.m.
Passengers looking for a small trip can go from Huntington to White Sulphur Springs and back in one day. The five-hour window between arrival and departure offers visitors time to dine, shop, sightsee and do other activities at The Greenbrier.
Passengers can also take a similar day trip if they get off at Hinton to visit the town’s various businesses, restaurants and attractions.
Another option is to stay some nights at The Greenbrier or in Hinton before returning to Huntington a couple of days later.
If traveling in the opposite direction, the Cardinal leaves White Sulphur Springs around 5:05 p.m. and gets to Huntington around 9:44 p.m. It then leaves HUN two days later, departing at 7:26 a.m. and returning to WSS at about noon.
A one-day trip is not possible in the direction from WSS to HUN due to the Cardinal’s schedule.
Click here to learn more about the Amtrak Cardinal, view a route map, or book a trip.