Embarking on a road trip means diving headfirst into freedom, where the open road becomes your companion and the possibilities stretch out endlessly before you. There’s a unique allure to venturing the open road – the only boundaries are the ones you choose to set.
As the engine purrs and the wind rushes through the windows, you may find yourself awakening a primal desire for exploration and self-discovery. Let’s dive into the captivating world of road trips and map out four undeniably alluring West Virginia routes.
Go on a mesmerizing journey along West Virginia’s Seneca Skyway, where breathtaking sights await at every twist and turn. Uncover the natural wonders of the Potomac Highlands region, nestled amidst the rolling hills and valleys. Begin your expedition in Elkins, where the enchanting embrace of the Monongahela National Forest beckons, inviting you into a serene woodland oasis.
Indulge in the local flavors at charming diners before ascending to the neighboring sister towns of Davis and Thomas, mere miles apart yet offering distinct delights. Immerse yourself in the vibrant art and culture of Thomas while Davis proudly boasts the iconic 57-foot-tall Blackwater Falls, a true marvel.
Continue your adventure to behold the awe-inspiring grandeur of Seneca Rocks, a majestic rock formation soaring over 900 feet. Reaching Spruce Knob, West Virginia’s highest point, grants you sweeping 360-degree panoramas from an observation tower standing nearly 5,000 feet tall—an unparalleled setting for witnessing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
As you journey further, venture into the town of Green Bank, situated within the National Radio Quiet Zone, and behold the world’s largest fully-steerable telescope at the Green Bank Observatory. Amidst these hidden gems of “Almost Heaven,” forge unforgettable memories while discovering the depths of your own being.
Embark on an idyllic summer road trip along the Cranberry Corridor, guiding you through the lush and captivating Mountain Lakes region of the state. Experience a revitalizing escape as you immerse yourself in the serenity of Summersville Lake, where tranquil waters beckon. Take a dip in the refreshing waves or ascend to the top of the lighthouse for breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can behold.
Follow the Highland Scenic Highway, leading you to the extraordinary Cranberry Glades. Lose yourself in solitude as you wander along the half-mile boardwalk, meandering through West Virginia’s largest expanse of bogs—a haven for an array of distinctive plant and animal species.
Upon reaching Marlinton, be sure to visit Watoga State Park after nightfall. Recognized as an official international dark sky destination, this enchanting locale unveils a mesmerizing canopy of shimmering stars in our ethereal “Almost Heaven” atmosphere. Discover a wealth of culinary and artistic treasures within Greenbrier County, where stellar restaurants and captivating art galleries await. Allow the local creations to inspire your spirit and relish in the satisfaction of savoring authentic Appalachian cuisine.
As you near the end of your journey, bear witness to the iconic New River Gorge Bridge, leaving an indelible imprint on your heart. Traverse these country roads and be embraced by a sense of belonging, accompanied by an insatiable longing to return, time and time again.
Take an exhilarating expedition through the captivating wonders of southern West Virginia, courtesy of a remarkable road trip along the Capitol Circle. As you journey along US Route 60 E, prepare to be enthralled by the splendor of our state’s magnificent Capitol City, along with the culturally vibrant small towns and untamed mountains that lie in wait. Immerse yourself in a tapestry of thrilling adventures that will leave you awe-inspired at every turn.
Get ready to rev your engines and immerse yourself in the vibrant capital city of Charleston. Experience the awe-inspiring murals downtown and indulge in a shopping spree along the picturesque Capitol Street. As you hit the interstate on ramp 96, witness the majestic State Capitol on the banks of the Kanawha River before embarking eastward on US-60 towards Belle. For an added bonus, take a quick pit stop and delve into the rich history and culture of the Mountain State by visiting the nearby West Virginia State Museum.
For an exhilarating off-road escapade, venture to the renowned Hatfield-McCoy Trails that traverse this region, boasting an extensive network of over 1,000 miles of thrilling trails throughout the state. Expand your state park exploration by visiting the nearby Chief Logan State Park, a must-see destination. While there, take the opportunity to explore the charming downtown area of Logan before embarking on Route 34 West towards Hamlin. Let the scenic country roads guide you home along Route 60, following the captivating Midland Trail as it winds through Putnam County.
Spanning across the captivating Mountaineer Country, the scenic Birdeye Bend extends for a remarkable distance of 173.4 miles. Delight in the awe-inspiring vistas offered by this round-trip drive, which takes approximately 4 hours and 19 minutes to complete. Keep in mind that due to the remote nature of the area, you may experience intermittent cell phone service depending on your carrier. To ensure a smooth journey, it is advisable to pre-plan your route and have it saved in advance. Whether traveling by car or motorcycle, you’ll revel in Birdeye Bend’s picturesque allure.
Begin your scenic drive through Mountaineer Country by setting off on Route 7 from Morgantown. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area by exploring the trails of the West Virginia Botanical Garden or the West Virginia University Core Arboretum, where you’ll encounter a delightful array of flora and fauna. As you continue southward through the Potomac Highlands, ensure your camera is ready to capture the breathtaking views that await you.
Traveling northward along Route 250, you will reach the charming town of Philippi. Known as the site of the first land battle of the Civil War, Philippi boasts a rich historical heritage, including the impressive 23-room Adaland Mansion. The renowned Philippi Covered Bridge, a unique two-lane covered bridge within the federal highway system, leads you into a picturesque downtown adorned with locally owned businesses. Indulge in a delectable treat at the beloved Molly’s Hand-Dipped Ice Cream before continuing your journey to Clarksburg.
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Photo Credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism
Chelsea DeAngio is a freelance writer based in Greensboro, NC. Inspired by a rootless childhood as a Navy brat, she enjoys traveling every chance she gets. Pop culture often drives her trips. Whether channeling her inner Lady Mary at Highclere Castle in the UK or noshing on nachos at Showgirls filming locations in Vegas, Chelsea is always in search of a little silver screen glitz.