Relaxing is easy in the Mountain Highlands. Explore the amazing countryside at nearby Blackwater Falls where spring wildflowers, beautiful fall foliage, and deep winter snows attract visitors year-round. Visit the 300-year-old Seneca Caverns or the 900-foot-high Seneca Rocks formation–one of the best rock-face climbs in the East.
VISITOR NOTE: Be sure to check all sites for "open-ness"
Many observation points along the trail to the falls in Blackwater Falls State Park afford you panoramic views of the half-mile-wide canyon. The black water is a result of leached tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce trees. The falls are one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia.
The nation’s 500th refuge was dedicated in 1994 and its 16,225 acres are managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The lands in the northern sector of the valley are protected to remain wild forever. Visitors can enjoy interpretive hikes, 31 miles of year round trails, hunting and fishing opportunities and a new visitor center with educational exhibits, films and displays.
The 10,215 acre property is located on the Allegheny Plateau, part of the Allegheny Mountain range. The plant life is unique in that it is normally found in areas much farther north, like Canada. Flowering plants (May–early July) that can be found include rhododendron, mountain laurel, and wild azaleas. Dolly Sods is generally open year round but the weather can be capricious–visitors should use caution as storms develop rapidly. “The Sods” offers breathtaking views, scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and picnic and camping areas.
Located in the scenic Germany Valley, Seneca Caverns offers two guided cavern tours: Seneca Cavern is a guided, 1 mile tour with light; The Stratosphere Balloon Cavern is more adventurous, with no electricity, and portions of the path require use of a rope (cemented in place along the path) and has some steep slopes. Family activities such as gemstone mining and miniature golf are offered, and dining includes a large restaurant with lunch in the dining room or on a porch overlooking the valley. Eat in the restaurant, or outdoors in one of the picnic areas or shaded pavilion.
A 900-foot-high formation with a visitor’s center at the base. Take rock climbing lessons and scale the mountain, or non-climbers may reach the lofty heights of the rocks and view the scenic valley below by taking a steep 1.3 mile trail up the west side of the mountain.
Underground tours offered year round. Magnificent formations are the result of millions of years of intricate processes and trillions of drops of mineral laden water seeping through the limestone bedrock. The dripping water leaves trace mineral deposits that, over millions of years, created spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flow-stone, columns and dazzling multi-colored formations. Might bring a jacket, it’s always cool underground.
CULTURE & HERITAGE
Enjoy four scenic rail excursions into the heart of the scenic West Virginia Mountains. Enjoy an adventure on the steam-powered Durbin Rocket, the New Tygart Flyer passenger train, the Cheat Mountain Salamander, or the Mountain Explorer dinner train. The railroad’s main depot is located adjacent to our shop in Ekins, WV.
Take a ride on an old logging train pulled by restored Shay Engines. These steam engines operate as a living museum of railroading and lumbering. The train operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on fall foliage weekends in October. Located in Cass, WV.
The Gandy Dancer Theatre Show is a great time for every member of the family. Dinner is included for all shows and is served prior to the performance. Located in Elkins, WV.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
The observatory is home to the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the largest fully-steerable radio telescope in the world. Scientists from around the world use this and other telescopes to study planets & comets in our own Solar System extending outward to quasars & galaxies billions of light-years away. Guided tours and the general public are welcome. Enjoy the hands-on science center and gift shop. Located in Green Bank, WV.
A diesel-powered, open-window coach and flat-car train offers excursions along “The Trough”, a scenic stretch of the South Branch of the Potomac River. Eagles are often seen along the 3.5 mile, memorable trip. Located in Romney, WV.
GUIDES & OUTFITTERS
Thrilling summits, unforgettable views & family adventures. Via Feratta , Zip Lines, and West Virginia Rock Climbing. 877-435-4842.
See the mountains of beautiful West Virginia from horseback while riding through Canaan Valley. A petting zoo and pony rides are available for youth.
Offering an unforgettable excursion down West Virginia’s whitewater rapids on the mighty Cheat River. Big, adventurous rapids in the spring, family-friendly rafting throughout the summer.