TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT IN WEST VIRGINIA BY BIKE

TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT IN WEST VIRGINIA BY BIKE

Alexandra Ruticova

 

Stunning waterfalls, 460 million years old caverns, small towns with European flavor and even a prison. Grab your bike and go where you feel it’s the most exciting for you!

 1. New River Gorge National River

 

Contrary to its name, New River is actually one of the oldest rivers on the continent. As it flows into West Virginia, it cuts through the Appalachian Plateau, forming the New River Gorge and plenty of whitewater for tubing, rafting, and canoeing.

New River Gorge is among the most popular destinations for mountain biking trips in the eastern U.S. A bike trip a can be a very fun day if you come to New River. You have here over 21 miles of mountain biking trails, which vary from easy to moderate or advanced in terrain and distance. Bike shops, mountain biking trails, outfitters and companies offering guided biking tours of the New River Gorge and nearby areas may be found very easy in your way. Be careful, though, do not enter structures, mines, or coke ovens and use caution when crossing wooden bridges – is dangerous when are wet. The same in the haunting season, blaze orange clothing is recommended during this period.

 

2. Seneca Caverns

 

Can you believe, this place is over 460 million years old?!

That's when the limestone bed where the Caverns formed was laid under an inland sea. Limestone is formed from the remains of shells from clams, coral and other shellfish, which settle on the bottom of the sea over time.

The caverns feature unique geological formations that are visually stunning and wondrous. The human contact with the cave is quite young compared to its age, it was made in the early 1400's when the Seneca Indians used the place.

Tours of Seneca Caverns last approximately one hour, during which time visitors are led along a well lit pathway. Here you will find even a restaurant, no, the food is not ancient, most of the visitors rate it as very good. What more attraction are nearby? Take Cass Scenic Railroad, a real old time steam locomotive traveling in some gorgeous countryside. You can also go to Spruce Knob Mountain which  is the highest point in the state, rising to 4,860 feet. Or you can go to Dolly Sods with the most breathtaking and unique scenery. Dolly Sods is about 35 minutes from Seneca Caverns. We recommend walking those trails then have a break and enjoy the good food at Bear Rocks.

 

3. Blackwater Falls State Park

 

The falls are one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia.

What is called like that? Because of the dark waters from the Blackwater River, colored by tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. Blackwater Falls drops 60 feet over sandstone ledges before the river continues to rush through an eight-mile-long Gorge.

A beautiful place to visit with forested scenery and outdoor activities, only one hour from Seneca Caverns where we’ve traveled before.

If you want to know what are the most breathtaking views, we have some tips for you.

Elakala Falls, for example, where waters of Shay Run reach the Blackwater Canyon's edge and cascade down the canyon's wall as Elakala Falls. Another is Lindy Point, 45 acres of pristine mountain views into the Blackwater Canyon providing one of the one of the most famous views in all of West Virginia.

 

4. Harpers Ferry

 

If you are in love with European atmosphere, you will like this town very much.

Here you can choose to bike alone, or even take a guided cycling tour - we will tell you about both of them. If you want to go by yourself, you should go along one of the most scenic sections of the C&O Canal from Brunswick to Harpers Ferry. Start your ride in Brunswick, peddling the 5.8 miles along the Potomac River to Harpers Ferry, then lock up your bike to spend some time in the local culture. Chose from museums, wonderful picnic spots, eat at one of the local restaurants or go to their ice cream shops. Afterwards, all refreshed, you may add a few extra miles to your trip by continuing to bike up river or hike the Maryland Heights Trail for a spectacular view of the Shenandoah and Potomac confluence.

It is also nice and take a guided bike tour for groups and decide for what attracts you most. There is one tour about Civil War, historical sites such as old locks and other objectives. And if you are more into a outdoor ambiance, you can choose the second one, which takes place on the C&O Canal, the 185 mile path bordering the Potomac River, stretching from Georgetown to Cumberland. The scenery along this gentle terrain, tree-lined path is fantastic, and provides a spectacular setting for a tour along the  river.

 

5. West Virginia Penitentiary

 

Are you an anxious type? Maybe, not! If you are not a very impressive type, you should visit this Gothic-style prison located in Moundsville, West Virginia.

Need to feel even more thrill, enter the Escape Room! Buhuhu! The entire game has a script – it is a game, of course - in which you are the actor, the hunted and the hunter!  Live escape games are a type of physical (not virtual) adventure game in which people are locked in a themed room with other participants.

They have to use different elements within the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit (60 mins). The participants must be observant and use their critical/lateral thinking skills to escape the room. Even the electronic locks will “freeze” for several minutes if you attempt multiple codes quickly in a short amount of time.

Don’t, believe us, go find out for yourself! If it gets spooky, hop on your bike and run!

 

6. Monongahela National Forest

 

With elevations ranging from around 1,000 feet to 4,863 feet above sea level, the Monongahela National Forest offers beautiful views, wildlife, and the highest point in the state.

You have several options you can try if you are a  mountain biking fan and an outdoor adventurer.

Take a ride on Canaan Mountain Backcountry, for example. Ride on Route 32 south 3.3 miles from the Blackwater River bridge in Davis to a large white sign that points to "#1 Wilderness Road." This is the Canaan Loop Road.

The road is approximately 18 miles long and good for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The road makes a loop from Route 32 to Blackwater Falls State Park, covering much of the perimeter of Canaan Mountain.

Another place to ride your bike is The Cranberry River area (area west of the Cranberry Wilderness) - this area is gated to exclude public motorized travel, but has a road system suitable for bikes. But mountain bikes are not allowed east or north of Forest Road 76. One very popular mounting bike trail is Cowpasture Trail (6 mile), which surrounds Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. It can be accessed from Forest Road 102 east of Cranberry Glades, from Forest Road 102 1/2 beyond the locked gate, or from Highland Scenic Highway Rt. 150, near intersection with Rt. 39/55.

Long story short, don’t forget your mountain bike at home!

 

7. Charlstone

 

Yey, guys, we are not only in the capital of the Mountain State, but also in one of the nation’s capitals for cycling. Charleston has a wide variety of bike routes from scenic river paths to more urban routes. Let’s take a look at the local favorites!

Kenna Loop - 27.7 miles – a intense ride for a strong workout. It’s flat for the first few miles, but don’t be so relaxed and think that was it — you’ll get some elevation gain as it continues up and down several rolling hills for almost 2,000 feet of climb. A great ride for the spring when you can see green meadows and fields of wildflowers.

Paint Creek - 45.7 miles - a longer ride with an elevation of 720 feet at the Paint Creek exit off I-77, and ends at 1,630 feet in the small town of Pax, West Virginia.This straightforward route follows mostly major roads, winding along Paint Creek. Get supplies and all you need, because there aren’t a lot of places to stop along the way and being an out-and-back route, you’ll need enough water and supplies to get back to your Kanawha City Cycling Loop - 6.7 miles – a perfect leisure ride. This scenic bike loop takes is relatively flat, only climbs a total of 30 feet and also takes you to a very charming town. There are also plenty of small shops to visit in Kanawha City. Most of the route is through residential areas, so you’ll have very little traffic to deal with as you pedal along.

Route 60 Bike Path - 24.29 miles - is a historic highway established in the mid-1920s, that stretches across the entire country from Virginia to southwest Arizona. The section in West Virginia begins in St. Albans and ends in the state capitol. This path climbs nearly 600 feet, if so you can workout more than within other flatter, in-town rides. It follows the Kanawha River almost the whole way, which adds scenic river views and a waterfront breeze to keep you cool during warmer months.

For a real taste of the West Virginia, pedal along the Jim Ridge Loop. Start in Charleston, off the 116 exit on I-77 North. Although it begins in bustling Charleston, you’ll quickly escape the crowds as you pedal past the scenic farms and along the rolling hills of the Mountain State.

The Jim Ridge Loop trail (43.8 miles) pass scenic farms and along the rolling hills of the Mountain State in the beautiful countryside. This loop definitely isn’t flat, so pack plenty of water and get ready to be out all day.

Patrick Street Bridge Ride - 10.7 miles – the must-ride one! This extremely flat and fairly short route is perfect for a sunset ride along the river to the Patrick Street Bridge. The loop begins at the University of Charleston and follows the Kanawha River before crossing over to the other side at the Patrick Street Bridge. This is the ultimate bike tour through the best parts of Charleston.

 

8. Coopers Rock State Forest West Virginia

 

Coopers Rock State Forest is an awesome history lesson. The quiet calm is restorative and the overlook areas in any season are unforgettable.

This is the local destination for mountain biking with more than 50 miles of singletrack/logging road trails. Terrain ranges from the beginner (and newly finished) roadside trail to advanced technical trails.

To know what options you have here, we will list some different, mixed distances and levels type. Clay Furnace Trail (8 miles)- moderate, Clay Run Trail (1.8 miles) –moderate,  Darnell Hollow Trail (4 miles) - moderate/steep, Eagle Trail (3 miles) - easy,

Glade Run Trail (1.5 miles) - moderate/steep. And…that’s not it. 16 more trails varying in complexity are waiting for you to ride on!

It will be great! Bands of rockcliffs line the Cheat River Gorge offers fab overlooks. A maze of enormous boulders and cliffs fascinates hikers, and the trails are especially lovely in June when the rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom.

 

9. Babcock State Park

 

The park offers its guests 4,127 acres of serene, yet rugged beauty, a fast flowing trout stream in a boulder-strewn canyon and mountainous vistas to be viewed from several scenic overlooks. 

All of this variety is located adjacent to the New River Gorge National 'River and the heart of the whitewater rafting industry of West Virginia. Cabins and campsites are provided for long-term park visitors, and its facilities include, a restaurant, a summer pool, a sundries shop, and the mill, where visitors can watch grist being milled and purchase meal. Babcock maintains more than 20 miles of trail open to hiking and 10 miles for biking and horseback-riding.

 

10. Hawks Nest State Park

 

Nestled in the heart of whitewater rafting country, Hawks Nest State Park encompasses 276 acres bordering a rugged section of the New River Gorge National River. The place is known for gorges panoramic views.  Its name comes from the numerous osprey (some call them, “fish hawks”) that once nested on the cliffs.  Today, many hawks, turkey vultures, black vultures and the occasional bald and golden eagles are seen soaring above the canyon.

If you are here, don’t miss the jetboat rides on New River. You will climb aboard “Miss M. Rocks”, a 21 foot covered Jetboat, where a combination of speed and power will conquer the currents of the New River. See the world's second longest single arch steel bridge towering 876 feet above you, giving you an advantage for great photographs. You can purchase the tickets at the tram office. Allow one hour for your adventure. And don’t forget to arrive at boat dock area 15 minutes prior to ticket departure time.

 

Did you liked our places for today? Maybe you know many more even more interesting. Share it with us! We have the same passion and it’s such a joy to hear new tips for greater bike trips.