Best Scenic Drives in West Virginia

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By the way, if you’ve never driven through West Virginia you are in for a treat. Stunning views, green rolling hills, and mountains. Honestly, so gorgeous!

Oh, and if you want to visit a haunted location that has incredible architecture and good stories during your travels check out the Trans Alleghany Asylum Ghost Tour.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS

Best Scenic Drives in West Virginia

 

historic national road
Historic National Road (15.7 miles)

The perfect drive when you’re short on time!

Travel back in time without ever stepping out of your vehicle.

The Historic National Road, also known as the Cumberland Road, was the nation’s first federally funded interstate highway.

The 620-mile (1000-km) road opened the nation to the west and became a corridor for the movement of goods and people.

NEW RIVER GORGE BRIDGE
NEW RIVER GORGE BRIDGE

The road spans East to West, from Cumberland, Maryland all the way to Vandalia, Illinois and includes a section in Wheeling, West Virginia.

One of the key highlights of this historic thoroughfare is the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.

This iconic structure links the main channel of the Ohio River and was once the largest suspension bridge in the world from 1849 until 1851.

highland scenic byway

Highland Scenic Byway (43 miles)

For those with a bit more time on their hands, but don’t want to commit an entire day consider driving the highland scenic byway.

Navigate through a wild and timbered portion of the Monongahela National Forest on the Highland Scenic Byway. Hardwood forests cover rolling, mountainous terrain capped by dark spruce at high elevations.

Traverse a narrow and steep-walled valley with views of clear mountain streams.

NEW RIVER GORGE
NEW RIVER GORGE

This designated National Scenic Byway extends 43 miles from Richwood to US Route 219, north of Marlinton, WV.

Sights include Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Summit Lake, and Falls of Hills Creek.

The USDA Forest Service have created an audio tour to guide visitors through these iconic landscapes.


Little Kanawha Parkway (77 miles)

I’d plan on a half-day for this drive. Pack a picnic, find a place to hike along the way and make an adventure out of it. 

Skip the highway and take the scenic route. Running parallel to the Little Kanawha River along State Route 5, this scenic drive traverses from Mineral Wells to Flatwoods.

The Little Kanawha Parkway takes travelers through rustic farmlands and quaint rural towns.

Allow 2-3 hours to navigate this byway.

Coal Heritage Trail (98 miles)

Another half-day drive this one through southern West Virginia.

This drive winds you through mountains and valleys of Southern West Virginia showcasing America’s robust industrial heritage.

ELEKALA FALLS WV
ELEKALA FALLS WV

The Coal Heritage Trail travels through more than 13 counties and showcases the land where thousands of hard-working miners labored to produce the coal which powered modern America.

The Trail is part of the National Coal Heritage Area and begins on Route 52 in Bluefield to Welch, then follows Route 16 towards Ansted.

Washington Heritage Trail (136 miles)

Have a day to spend on an epic adventure? Follow the footsteps of George Washington on the Washington Heritage Trail, and discover the natural and cultural history along 136 miles of the scenic Eastern Panhandle.

See 18th-century towns, 19th-century industrial sites, Washington family homes, springs, rivers and scenic mountain ranges on the drive.

Be sure to plan out a few self-guided tours along the way.

The Morgan County Driving Tour is an 80-mile segment of the trail that is centered around Berkeley Springs and continues on to the town of Paw Paw.


Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike (180 miles)

Another day adventure straight through the middle of the state. The Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike is a designated National Scenic Byway.

It spans from the upper Shenandoah Valley in Staunton, Virginia to the Ohio River Valley in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

This historical turnpike served as the gateway to the Shenandoah Valley.

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