West Virginia June 17, 2021
Hop In Your Car And Take The Highland Scenic Highway For An Incredible 43-Mile Scenic Drive In West Virginia
Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains lies a protected area of pristine beauty – the Monongahela National Forest. Wild and remote, this area has been made accessible to nature lovers and seekers of solitude by the Highland Scenic Highway, which provides one of the most stunning mountain drives in the nation.
The Highland Scenic Highway begins at Richwood in the west, then winds high into the heart of the mountains.
Traveling east, stop by Summit Lake for beautiful views and excellent trout fishing.
A few miles later, you'll pass near the Falls of Hills Creek, which leaps down the mountain in three beautiful cascades. The first falls is wheelchair accessible; getting to the next two requires hiking down numerous steps but rewards you with increasingly rich scenic views.
Continuing on east, you arrive at the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, an area of boreal cranberry bogs - the largest in West Virginia. This area is a remarkable microclimate home to plant and animal life usually found much further north; in fact, this is the extreme southern range of several species.
A half mile boardwalk wanders through the bog, providing visitors the opportunity to enjoy this unique and fragile ecosystem. Not far away, the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center offers displays and interactive exhibits of many of the region's flora and fauna, and a short interpretive trail.
Here, follow Rt 150, north into the high Cranberry Wilderness. At elevations above 4,500 feet, this region is home to a profusion of mountain wildlife, plant life, and the headwaters of several rivers, including the Williams and Cranberry Rivers. Oh yes, and the views! The parkway winds through some of the most spectacular sections of the Allegheny Highlands.
Four scenic overlooks offer travelers the chance to stop and take in the panoramic mountain views. Numerous trails offer the opportunity to explore unique features of the terrain along the way - including the Honeycomb Rocks Trail, the Red Spruce Knob Trail, and the Black Mountain Trail.
The cool mountain climate is a perfect respite from the summer heat of the lowlands. In winter, however, beware; the road is often impassable due to massive snow drifts, and the forest service reports that they get a fair number of calls to rescue stranded motorists every winter.
So what are you waiting for? Hop in the car for a ride along the Highland Scenic Highway, an unforgettable journey through some of West Virginia’s highest and most beautiful wilderness! To learn more, visit the U.S. Forest Service’s Highland Scenic Highway information page. Or, for another scenic drive through some of West Virginia’s most beautiful mountain country, try the longest scenic riverside drive in the state. Address: Highland Scenic Highway, Highland Scenic Hwy, West Virginia, USA Address: Highland Scenic Highway, Highland Scenic Hwy, Richwood, WV, USA