CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Whether you live in West Virginia or are planning to visit the area, there are a number of trails to make the most of your time in the Mountain State. Here is a list of some of the best hiking and driving routes in the state.
Scenic Road Trips
Seneca Skyway – This road trip was newly designated by Gov. Jim Justice as the first of the West Virginia Mountain Rides program. The nearly 300-mile-long Seneca Skyway starts in Lewisburg and spans through the Potomac Highlands as far north as Tucker County, before looping back to Lewisburg. The entire route is made up of winding country roads and can be completed within a little over a six-hour round trip drive.
Highland Scenic Highway – This 43-mile byway goes from Richwood in Nicholas County to U.S. 219 in Pocahontas County on State Routes 39 and 150. This route highlights the Monongahela National Forest, and according to the USDA, it also has four scenic overlooks along it. The roads are two-lane with speed limits of 55 and 45 mph.
Route 32 – WV Living called Route 32 “an outdoorsman’s dream.” This Tucker County drive showcases Canaan Valley, Blackwater Falls State Park and much of West Virginia ski country. This route which runs from Harman to Thomas is great for all seasons. Most of the road is 55 mph, but it does drop to 25 in some areas that go through small towns like Davis.
Midland Trail – This National Scenic Byway goes from the West Virginia/Kentucky border to the Virginia/West Virginia border along U.S. Route 60. The 180 miles of curvy roads pass through West Virginia’s capital, Charleston, Hawks Nest State Park and White Sulfer Springs. According to West Virginia Tourism, the drive is a “world-class outdoor adventure”
West Virginia Waterfall Trail – The West Virginia Waterfall Trail is somewhere between the distinction of a road trip and a hike. The trail allows you to visit different waterfalls in West Virginia and earn prizes. Unlike others on this list, the Waterfall Trail is intended to be completed over multiple trips or over the course of a summer. The trail highlights 30 waterfalls across the state. People who check in at three, 10 and 20 waterfalls will win prizes.
North Fork Mountain – If you’ve hiked Pendleton County’s famous Seneca Rocks Trail and are ready for the next step up, the North Fork Mountain Trail to Chimney Top is for you. It’s along the same ridgeline as Seneca Rocks but is longer, more remote and more difficult; the views, however, rival that of the state’s most famous landmarks. There are several routes that you can take to get to Chimney Top, both of which are about five and a half miles and take an estimated four hours. These trails are labeled as difficult by AllTrails, so make sure to bring your hiking boots and stay hydrated.
Elakala to Yellow Birch Trail – This moderate 4.3-mile loop in Tucker County is most popular from April to October and will likely be busier than more remote trails like North Fork Mountain. One good thing about this trail is that it’s a loop rather than an out-and-back, so you will get new views the whole estimated hour and 38 minutes. The start of the trail can be found near Davis.
Lindy Point – Lindy Point Trail follows the rim of the Blackwater Canyon in Blackwater Falls State Park. This trail is considered easy and is less than a mile, out-and-back, but offers ridgeline beauty and is accessible year-round. While you’re in the area, make sure to take the 200 stairs down to the Blackwater Falls Observation Deck.
Raven Rock Trail – Cooper’s Rock State Park on the Preston/Monongalia county line is home to the famous Overlook, but if you’re willing to hike 2.5 miles out and back, Raven Rock offers a different perspective of the park’s gorgeous views. If you’re looking for a more remote trail, Raven Rock might not be your favorite, but Cooper’s Rock does have a number of other trails you can try during your visit.
Canyon Rim – If you’re looking for an easier route, Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk offers an easy 0.6-mile out and back in Lansing Fayette County. While this trail might not be an all-day excursion, other activities in the area can offer you a full day of outdoor activities. New River Gorge National Park offers an array of other activities and views, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, take a white water rafting trip down the New River.
Explore more trails and road trips in West Virginia at the West Virginia Tourism website.