Autumn view along the Highland Scenic Highway, Route 150 a National Scenic Byway, Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

11 Most Scenic Road Trips to Take in West Virginia

Endless winding roads, lush green mountains, charming small towns, and breathtaking vistas; West Virginia is your dream destination for road trips! Known for its rugged beauty, rich history, and country roads, the Mountain State offers some of the most scenic drives in the United States. Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking adventure, these 11 routes of West Virginia have something for everyone.

Highland Scenic Highway

Highland Scenic Highway, National Scenic Byway, Pocahontas County, West Virginia
Highland Scenic Highway, National Scenic Byway, West Virginia.

Start your first journey in Summersville and head towards Richwood, where the stunning Highland Scenic Highway starts. It is a 43-mile stretch through Routes 39 and Route 150 that winds through the Monongahela National Forest. This designated National Scenic Byway offers unparalleled views of the Allegheny Highlands, with numerous overlooks for photo opportunities. Climbing up the lush landscapes, you'll find yourself surrounded by dense forests, pristine lakes, and serene meadows. Don't forget to stop at the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, a unique ecosystem featuring rare plants and bogs.

Midland Trail

The view from the Midland Trail with the New River deep in the gorge, Fayette County, West Virginia
Midland Trail with the New River deep in the gorge, Fayette County, West Virginia.

The next one to two-day trip, spanning over 160 miles, is on the Midland Trail, also known as Route 60. It is a historic highway that spans the entire state! Start in Kenova, and head towards Charleston, and then to White Sulphur Springs next to charming Lewisburg. For a touch of luxurious history, spend the night at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. It is a renowned hotel with a history since 1778!

New River Gorge

The New River Gorge Bridge, seen from Fayette Station Road, at the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia.
The New River Gorge Bridge, seen from Fayette Station Road, at the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia.

West Virginia's iconic New River Gorge is a must-see, and the trip organized around it makes it well worth it. Start at Fayetteville and marvel at the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the world's longest steel arch bridges. Take Route 19 north to Weston, then head east to Elkins, and finally south through the Monongahela National Forest towards Lewisburg. This one to two-day, approximate 236-mile journey opens up opportunities for exciting exercise; enjoy white-water rafting, hiking, and rock climbing!

Coal Heritage Trail

An aerial East River Overlook Bluefield, West Virginia Aerial Nature
East River Overlook Bluefield, West Virginia.

This one to two-day, 187-mile road trip takes you back in time. Interested in the state's industrial history? Start in Bluefield, head west to Welch, and finally north to Charleston. The trip will take you through 13 counties and former coal mining towns that still have their historical charm. Descend a real coal mine at Beckley's Exhibition Coal Mine, and learn about the life of miners. Along the way, you'll encounter nostalgic company stores, heritage museums, and captivating stories of the coal-mining era.

Harper's Ferry to Seneca Rocks

Close up of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia
Seneca Rocks in West Virginia.

This one to two-day, approximate 125-mile road trip takes you to the natural wonders of Seneca Rocks. Start in Harpers Ferry at the border of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Head west towards Seneca Rocks, either cutting through Virginia, bypassing Winchester, or taking the northern route through Maryland and the Green Ridge State Forest. Be prepared to be awed as towering rock formations dominate the landscape. Consider staying at one of the resorts, like Yokum's Vacationland! If you are into rock climbing; this area is a rock climber's paradise. But even if you're not scaling the cliffs, the views are worth the trip. For an in-depth experience, visit Seneca Rocks Discovery Center for interpretive exhibits and guided tours. Finish the trip with a visit to Blackwater State Park and Canaan Valley.

Canaan Valley

Sign on road for canaan valley ski resort area and conference center in West Virginia during colorful autumn fall season with foliage on trees
Canaan Valley ski resort area in West Virginia during the colorful fall season. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock

Escape to the alpine wonderlands of the Canaan Valley, located in northeastern West Virginia, for the perfect mountain escape! Begin this one to two-day, 124-mile trip in Canaan Valley and head towards Elkins. Be sure to check out the Canaan Valley Resort State Park for some recreation and incredible panoramic views of the valley. Continue north, stopping by Morgantown, where you can spend the night, and finish in Cheat Lake, where you can visit Coopers Rock State Forest.

Clarksburg to Berkeley Springs

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia - USA - December 27 2020: Berkeley Springs, WV view from a mountain.
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, view from a mountain. Image credit Alejandro Guzmani via Shutterstock

Start this one to two-day, 173-mile journey in Clarksburg and continue east towards Davis and Keyser. Be sure to see Tygart Lake State Park before arriving in Keyser. The fastest route takes you through Maryland, with the option to stop in at Dans Mountain Wildlife area for some wildlife viewings. Finally, head towards the dreamy Berkeley Springs, where you can soak in the natural warm springs.

Hinton Loop

Babcock State Park, West Virginia, USA at Glade Creek Grist Mill during autumn season.
Babcock State Park, West Virginia, at Glade Creek Grist Mill during the autumn season.

For a taste of waterside wonders, your next one to two-day, 130-mile road trip lets you experience West Virginia's tranquil beauty, found in its lakes and rivers. Begin in the town of Hinton and follow Route 20 for scenic views, boating, and fishing. For a dreamy photographic experience, continue north to visit the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park. Circle back southwest towards Princeton before returning to Hinton. Be sure to stop by Glade Springs along the way and enjoy a drive through Camp Creek State Forest.

Allegheny Highlands

Fall Leaves, Watoga State Park, West Virginia
Fall Leaves, Watoga State Park, West Virginia.

Diving back into action, wind through roads on the Allegheny Highlands with Route 92. Start this one to two-day, 173-mile trip in Princeton, heading up to Durbin via Route 92. This famous curving route takes you through some of the state's most pristine wilderness. Finish with a drive up to the Allegheny Mountains. Along the way, stop in and visit Watoga State Park, where you can enjoy activities like hiking, fishing, and camping! Be prepared for a challenging road trip of rough terrain and narrow roads, but don't forget, the reward is unmatched solitude and blissful mountain views.

Gauley River Scenic Byway

Gauley Bridge, West Virginia - 6 August, 2017: Bridges cross the Gauley River on a summer day on 6 August, 2017 in this small West Virginia town.
Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, across the Gauley River. Image credit David Harmantas via Shutterstock

Adventure-seekers look no further than the Gauley River Scenic Byway. Start the one to two-day, 122-mile trip at Gauley Bridge and head towards Summersville by following the Gualey River, famous for its challenging white-water rapids. Or if you prefer staying away from water, there is rock climbing and hiking. For such activities, be sure to visit the Gauley River National Recreation Area. Continue to the Snowshoe Mountain Resort and spend a day there to top off the adrenaline-pumping activities with some skiing or biking. Keep your eyes open as you pass through the Cranberry Wildlife Management Area!

Blackwater Falls to Lewisburg

Blackwater Falls This is one of West Virginia's lovely fall waterfall scenes. Photographed in October, the leaves are changing, falls are roaring, and nature is beautiful.
Blackwater Falls, West Virginia, in the fall.

What's a road trip without visiting a waterfall? This one to two-day, 150-mile road trip takes you to Blackwater Falls State Park, a gem tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains. Start in Thomas and take Route 32, which will guide you to the breathtaking Blackwater Falls as it cascades into an ebony-colored canyon. Continue south towards Seneca Rocks and Seneca State Forest Park, stopping at Marlinton before heading to Lewisburg. You'll have a chance to enjoy the Cranberry Wildlife Management Area along the way.

West Virginia is a hidden gem for road trippers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and plentiful physical activities, you will find plenty of things to do to make your road trip memorable. From the high-altitude views to the rushing rivers and historic mining towns, you can not go wrong when taking a road trip through West Virginia.


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