- West Virginia
In West Virginia, each season unfolds with its own set of compelling activities.
Learn to fly-fish, go stargazing, hit the ski runs or hike through the brilliant hues of fall’s color spectrum. No matter the time of year, hidden in these mountains and valleys are adventures waiting to be discovered and treasured.
Springtime Guided Fish Tours
West Virginia is an exceptional place to test your fishing prowess with more than 3,000 kilometers of streams and 100-plus fishing lakes. Sign up with an expert outfitter who will provide the necessary equipment for a guided fishing tour or fly-fishing excursion. Make it a trip for the whole family by chartering or renting a boat. Cast a line for trout along the south branch of the Potomac River or drift along nearby Blackwater River for your prize fish. Located inside of Blackwater Falls State Park, Pendleton Lake offers a variety of species to reel in such as rainbow trout, bass and bluegill.
Insider tip: Round out your trip with a luxury cabin rental. After a day on the water, a cozy night spent by a roaring fire feels like a win – big catch or not. If you’re fishing solo (not with an outfitter), get your fishing license online beforehand.
A peaceful morning for a father-son fly-fishing outing
Clear night skies are abundant in West Virginia, making it easy to spot the Big Dipper or Ursa Major. Nestled in the Monongahela National Forest within the Allegheny Mountains, Spruce Knob is the state’s highest peak, where a pitch-black sky reveals thousands of luminous stars. Amazing detailed views of The Milky Way can be observed from the Spruce Knob Observation Tower, home to “Almost Heaven Star Party” events attracting astronomy experts and fans alike. In Pocahontas County, visit the Green Bank Science Center, which operates the world’s largest fully steerable telescope. The observatory offers star parties for visitors as well as guided tours. If you can’t make it to these spots, camp under the stars.
Insider tip: Visit the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower for stargazing within lush Seneca State Forest. You can even rent out the tower, a primitive campsite, for the night from May to October.
Stargazing in the mountains of West Virginia
Fall Colors on a Scenic Train Ride
Nothing can prepare you for the vivid beauty of West Virginia’s fall colors, and a scenic train ride is the perfect way to leaf peep. Board the Autumn Colors Express on a day-long trip through the New River Gorge passing Kanawha Falls and Hawk’s Nest Dam. Or, climb Cheat Mountain aboard a historic steam engine to the Bald Knob overlook on a ride from Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Watch for wildlife on the Potomac Eagle Scenic Excursion Train as it travels through a nesting area of the American bald eagle on the Trough Trip excursion. Potomac Eagle’s Green Spring Special promises splendid vistas along the south branch of the Potomac River; pastoral green farmland and rock formations such as Hanging Rock are highlights of the trip.
Insider tip: Fall foliage can vary every year but is usually at its peak in mid to late October.
An autumn train ride from Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Winter Sledding and Tubing
Snow begins to coat the slopes and dust the alpine trees in late November, leaving a winter wonderland. Ready for a nostalgic sled ride? Venture to Blackwater Falls State Park and fly down one of the longest sled runs on the USA’s East Coast. A crisp breeze crackles in the air as you race downhill. But don’t worry about climbing back up – a conveyor carpet jettisons you to the top again. Sixteen kilometers southward, Canaan Valley Resort State Park offers speed-induced thrills at its 365-meter tubing park with extensive lanes. An outdoor ice-skating rink with toasty bonfires close by adds to the ambiance.
Insider tip: Snowy paths through peaceful forests also welcome cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Try White Grass Ski Touring Center in Tucker County for backcountry skiing in the Canaan Valley, complete with warming huts offering cups of hot cocoa or swigs of moonshine.
Sledding along a perfect patch of snow
There are seven commercial airports throughout the state that connect to major hubs. For international travelers, one easy option is to fly into Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), which offers connecting flights to Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, West Virginia’s capital city. Rental cars are readily available in Charleston.