The next time you’re itching to hop in the car, roll the windows down, and take a long drive, consider the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway in West Virginia. Not only is it one of the best scenic drives in West Virginia; it’s one of the country’s most beautiful roads, and it doesn’t get nearly the level of attention it deserves. Keep reading to find out more about traveling this gorgeous route through the Mountain State.

If you want to tackle the entire road, we recommend blocking out at least a three-day weekend for the journey. The road is about 170 miles from start to finish, but there are plenty of things to do and see along the way. You’ll want to leave plenty of time for exploration.

Have you driven this scenic byway before? Do you agree that it’s one of the best scenic drives in West Virginia? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

And if you’re inspired to tackle other amazing scenic drives in West Virginia, there are many, many more on your bucket list. Before you hit the road, be sure to check out our ultimate road trip packing list. It will make your planning a breeze!

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Best scenic drives in West Virginia

What are some other scenic trips in West Virginia?

Want to enjoy the naturescape of the Mountain State without the distraction of, you know, driving? Way up in the mountains of West Virginia lies Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, a place where visitors can take a step back in time aboard a restored, steam-powered locomotive. A bit more about the railroad and park:

  • Originally built to transport logs to a West Virginia lumber mill, Cass Scenic Railroad has been transformed into one of the most scenic, historic, and interesting passenger trains in the country.
  • Trips depart from the town of Cass and take visitors to Whittaker Station (a two-hour ride) or all the way to Bald Knob (a four-and-a-half hour adventure).
  • We're partial to the Bald Knob excursion; featuring a unique ecosystem that's more similar to what you might expect to find in Canada than West Virginia, Bald Knob rises high above all but one of West Virginia's myriad mountain peaks.
  • The train climbs an impressive 2,290 feet from the Cass Depot to the top of Bald Knob, for a breathtaking adventure that's absolutely fitting for America the Beautiful.


What are some scenic places in West Virginia?

Known as the Mountain State, West Virginia is home to some of the most charming mountain towns in the country; and Harpers Ferry is quite possibly the most marvelous mountain town of them all.

  • The site of John Brown's Raid, a key event in the prelude to the Civil War, Harpers Ferry is home to a historic district with 100 buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • When you've finished your historical tour of Harpers Ferry, it's time to revel in the town's abundant outdoor attractions. The options here are endless: go hiking, fishing, or whitewater rafting at the 3,660-acre Harpers Ferry National Park, located in the Blue Ridge of the sprawling Appalachian Mountains.

Regardless of how you choose to experience Harpers Ferry, this unassuming West Virginia town will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.