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West Virginia

7 of the Most Beautiful Places to See in West Virginia

Jamie Delos Reyes

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West Virginia is famous for its wilderness areas, wild mountain country, and fast-running rivers. It attracts active people who love the outdoors and beautiful, rugged landscapes. But West Virginia is also home to some fascinating historical places. It’s the perfect state to learn and pay homage to the past at the same time. Check out this collection of the most beautiful places to see in West Virginia!

1. Adena Burial Mounds

Adena Burial Mound
Photo Credits: National Park Service

One of West Virginia’s most intriguing attractions is also a little-known, almost secret place located in Moundsville. The Adena culture was a Native American culture that thrived in 1000 to 200 BC. Their culture was notable for their pottery, agriculture, art. They are also famous for their far-ranging trade with other Pre-Columbian Native American societies.

The Grave Creek Archaeological Complex houses the largest known burial mounds of the Adena, built around 250-150 BC. The largest of the burial mounds can measure 69 feet, and 300 feet at the base. More than 60,000 tons of earth would have needed to be moved to form the mound, making it a remarkable feat of prehistoric engineering. The nearby Delf Norona Museum onsite exhibits artifacts found inside the burial sites. You can also learn information on the lives of the Adena, for visitors who wish to know more about this prehistoric culture.

2. Seneca Caverns

Seneca Caverns, West Virginia
Photo Credits: My Buckhannon

Another unique experience in the state is the Seneca Caverns, one of the beautiful places to see in West Virginia. The formation began almost 460 million years ago, and are thought to have been discovered by the native Seneca people beginning in the 1400s, who used the caves for shelter. Later on, they were found by Laven Teter, a local farmer, as he was looking for water for his livestock.

Even now, the largest chamber of the caverns in named Teter Hall. One-hour guided tours are offered for visitors who wish to explore the caves, where you can descend as far as 165 feet below the earth’s surface. The well-lit pathways have cemented steps with handrails. Hold onto these when you visit the caverns, so you don’t slip or get lost as you navigate deeper into the caverns.

3. The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier, West Virginia
Photo Credits: Golf Tips Magazine

The Greenbrier is a grand hotel that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Its scenic grounds and gorgeous architecture have hosted up to 26 presidents and even royalty, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. It earns its historic designation too: the Greenbrier served as a detention center for German and Japanese diplomats in World War II, and later on, was commandeered as a hospital by the US Army.

An underground shelter is beneath it to house the entire US Congress during the Cold War. Now, it is a luxurious and scenic vacation spot offering dozens of activities to guests, such as horseback riding, tennis, golf, hiking, and fishing. There is also a large spa for guests who just want to relax in a beautiful and historic place.

4. Snowshoe

Snowshoe, West Virginia
Photo Credits: Snowshoe Mountain

West Virginia has tons of beautiful places built to help people relax. Snowshoe is a best-known skiing resort that is open to guests year-round. In the winter, Snowshoe has dozens of trails open for skiers of all experience levels. Snowshoe Basin is an 800-foot vertical drop with 38 trails for all experience levels. Silver Creek has 12 trails that are open for night skiing, and Western Territory Area is 1,500 feet of vertical drop, making it the most advanced skiing terrain in the region.

When the snow melts, activities offered at Snowshoe include mountain biking, ziplining, canoeing, fishing, golf, and even geocaching. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is nearby, for visitors who wish to learn more about the night sky while they’re there.

5. Seneca Rocks and Monongahela National Forest

Seneca Rocks and Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
Photo Credits: Flickr | Jeff Burcher

Separate from the Seneca Caverns is the Seneca Rocks, a formation of white and grey quartzite standing 900 feet above the North Fork River. Its distinctive formation offers climbers a challenge due to its exposed summit pinnacle, although moderate climbers may also be able to submit the formation. You can find it at the Monongahela National Forest, one of the beautiful places to see in West Virginia.

Its variety of terrain and rainfall make it the most diverse forest ecosystem in the United States, with more than 200 species of birds, trees, and fish calling it home. Non-climbers may visit the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, as well as the nearby campgrounds at Seneca Shadows. They are also free to enjoy thousands of acres of wildlands in the park.

6. Blackwater Falls State Park

The name of Blackwater Falls comes from the dark waters of the Blackwater River, due to tannic acid in the water from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. The Blackwater River drops 60 feet over sandstone to form the Falls, then continues to flow quickly through a gorge for another 8 miles.

You can access the falls year-round and view them from viewing platforms stationed one of the beautiful places to see in West Virginia. Other waterfalls that you can see inside the Blackwater Falls State Park are the Elakala Falls, accessible from a short hiking trail, and the Pendleton Falls, accessible from the roadside. The park also features a boating lake and offers swimming, fishing, and camping for visitors who wish to spend time in nature.

7. Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Photo Credits: Flickr | Robert Golub

Harpers Ferry is a small town where the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River meet. It was the site of John Brown’s raid in 1859, an event that fast-tracked the start of the Civil War. It is also home to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which features museums, historical exhibits, and many miles of hiking trails. Visitors can explore the St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, as well as the place where the two rivers meet.

Visitors who love outdoor activities will never run out of places to go and things to do in West Virginia. But this proves that West Virginia is not just for active travelers, but also for people with a deep love and appreciation for history and culture. West Virginia’s diverse beauty makes it one of the most fascinating states in the US.

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