West Virginia September 04, 2018
9 Beautiful West Virginia Locations You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
Admittedly, if you know West Virginia very well, you probably know of these places, but if you are new to the state, or just don’t travel very much, these places may surprise you with their existence. After living in West Virginia for more than 20 years, it was not until I became the
Only In Your State writer for West Virginia that I realized these places even existed. So, if you want to explore the state more than you already have, I suggest you check out these locations as soon as you can.
1. Beartown State Park, Marlinton
This beautiful park is not known to many folks, but its beauty and medieval feel make it stand out as one of the most amazing parks to visit. The boardwalk runs in between giant stone outcroppings amidst a thick and rather ancient-looking forest. This 110-acre area is located at the base of Droop Mountain.
2. Greenbrier River Trail
This 77-mile trail runs between North Caldwell and Cass in eastern West Virginia. Obviously, the trail is accessible by multiple points so you don't have to actually hike the whole thing. In fact, it is possible you may have actually been on this trail and not even realized it, as it is long and the terrain changes along the way. Regardless, this rail trail hosts some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
3. Cathedral Falls, Gauley Bridge
These beautiful falls are located one mile east of Gauley Bridge. This waterfall is more than 60 feet tall, falling over a series of small cliffs and shelves as it descends. Even though this is the state's highest waterfall, it tends to be constantly overshadowed by Blackwater Falls.
4. Stonewall Jackson Lake, Roanoke
This beautiful lake, part of Stonewall Resort State Park, has some of the bluest waters in West Virginia. Aside from boating and swimming opportunities, the park also has lodges and cabins, three restaurants and six hiking trails, not to mention 46 traditional campsites with full electrical hook-ups.
5. Bissonnette Gardens in Oglebay Resort, Wheeling
Oglebay is known for it many features, including a zoo, golf course, and several restaurants. But most people are not aware of Bissonnette Gardens, a recreation of the gardens at the summer home of Earl Oglebay in the early 1900s. The garden features 30 flower beds, several fountains, and dozens of hanging floral baskets arranged in a menagerie of color.
6. Gauley River National Recreation Area
When people think of whitewater rafting, the New River is usually the first name that pops up, but the Gauley River is definitely one to check out as well. This river offers 25 miles of Class V rapids, offering one of the best rafting experiences in the state. Not to be passed up.
7. Prabhupada's Palace Of Gold, New Vrindaban
The settlement of New Vrindaban is America's version of India, in which the followers of Hare Krishna practice their religion. The ultimate goal is to have seven temples on seven hills, like its namesake in India. But for now, the primary temple is the crowning jewel of this unusual West Virginia settlement.
8. Green Bank Telescope, Green Bank
Whether you are a lover of astronomy or not, it's hard not to be stricken by the beauty of the Green Bank telescope, the largest fully-steerable telescope in the world. Along with a visit to Green Bank comes a caveat, the area is in the National Radio Quiet Zone, which means no cell phones or any other transmitting devices are allowed. They are actually prohibited by law so the telescope may receive as clear a signal as possible. Tours of the facility are given regularly.
9. Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest
Although Dolly Sods is not unknown, there is much in the area that certainly is. I have been to areas in Dolly Sods that you never read about or see pictures of, so if you want a great chance to explore a truly unique area of West Virginia, spend some time in this area and explore. To learn more details about it, because a single blurb in this piece cannot do it justice, check out the link at the very bottom of this article.
Were these places obscure to you? Which ones? Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.
Would you like to learn more about one of the entries on this list? Check out
this little portion of Canada right here in West Virginia that few people know about.