West Virginia November 06, 2016
10 Places In West Virginia That Are Off The Beaten Path But Worth The Trip
Sometimes the best things require a little extra work. These 10 places in West Virginia are all off the beaten path a bit…you’ll have to drive into a more remote area of the state, or hike a little bit to find these natural and manmade wonders, but they’re all well worth the effort. Take a look!
1. New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville
The New River Gorge Bridge is a stunning, 3,038 steel arch bridge. Spanning the gorge 876 feet below, this engineering marvel provides a crossing for about 16,000 cars per day. It's not exactly off the beaten path (the bridge is part of U.S. 19), but if you're not traveling on one of West Virginia's Interstates, you'll miss it. The bridge is part of the National River Gorge National Area and is a popular spot for photography and BASE jumping.
2. Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban
The community of New Vrindaban was founded by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1968. The Palace of Gold was completed in 1979, at a cost of $600,000. It's rated as one of the Eight Religious Wonders in the U.S. by CNN. You'll find New Vrindaban in Marshall County, near Moundsville.
3. Seneca Rocks
You'll find the breathtaking Seneca Rocks way up in the eastern panhandle. The razorback rocks rise about 900 feet above the valley floor and are made of Tuscarora quartzite. This gorgeous area is popular with rock climbers, who can access several routes varying in difficulty from 5.0 to 5.13. The rest of us are content to simply take photographs.
4. The Dolly Sods Wilderness
Part of the Monongahela National Forest, the Dolly Sods Wilderness area encompasses 17,371 acres. It sits on the highest plateau east of the Mississippi, with an elevation reaching as much as 4,123 feet. The are contains 47 miles of hiking trails, so you're certain to find plenty of ways to witness the beauty and splendor of this special place.
5. Hutte Swiss Restaurant, Helvetia
Helvetia is a truly remote little town settled by Swiss and German immigrants who traveled to West Virginia from Brooklyn, New York in 1869. The town has a population of just 59 people, and it's absolutely charming. Hutte Swiss Restaurant serves up a delicious buffet and German-style sandwiches. You'll find it at 1 Main Street in Helvetia.
6. Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, Monroe County
The Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory is located in an old forest service fire tower. It's the perfect spot for viewing hawks, eagles, falcons and osprey, especially during migration season from August through November. The observatory is perched high on the cliff, so you'll find yourself eye-to-eye with these majestic birds as they soar over the valley below. Find the observatory about halfway between Waiteville and Gap Mills. Visit the
for more details.
7. Pipestem Resort State Park
You'll feel as though you're truly in the middle of nowhere at this gorgeous state park. Enjoy stunning overlook views of the Bluestone Gorge and stay at one of the hotels or cabins. Restaurants, golf and horseback riding are also available there. It's located on the border of Mercer and Summers counties.
8. Pocahantas County Opera House, Marlinton
The Pocahantas County Opera House opened in 1907, and has a rich history of performances, basketball games and community events. It's now owned by the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission, which operates a full season of dance, theater and performances of many music genres. Visit the
for details and performance calendars. 818 3rd Avenue, Marlinton.
9. Grave Creek Mound National Historic Landmark, Moundsville
The Grave Creek Mound was built by the Adena people between 250-150 BC. To create the mound, which measures 69 feet high and 295 feet in diameter, they had to excavate 60,000 tons of dirt. The archeological complex includes the burial mound, a museum and a 136-seat theater.
10. Organ Cave
A visit to Organ Cave is definitely worth the drive. This cave has bats, fossils, rock formations and an interesting Civil War history. Take one of three tours to explore the cave and learn all about this interesting natural wonder. You'll find it south of I-64 in Greenbriar County.
What’s your favorite place to go in West Virginia when you want to get away from it all? For some more out-of-the-way spots, check out these
10 peaceful small towns.