13 must-see places for snow in West Virginia
Whether you prefer the adrenaline-charged excitement of the ski slopes or an afternoon of quiet reflection strolling through the woods, you’re sure to find the perfect winter day in West Virginia. Here are your must-stop places to see all the snowy splendor:
1. Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Canaan Valley Resort State Park offers great recreation all year long, but it really “heats up” in winter, when the skiers and snowboarders come out to play. The resort has 47 slopes for all skill levels, as well as 18 miles of cross-country skiing trails and a 1,200-foot tubing park. There’s also an outdoor ice skating rink set against a beautiful backdrop of Canaan Valley and the Allegheny Mountains and a ring side fire pit where skaters can take a break to warm up.
2. Snowshoe Mountain
You could spend weeks at Snowshoe Mountain and never run out of things to do. The mountaintop village offers a wide range of options for lodging, dining, shopping and entertainment, and its outdoor recreation is just as diverse. Zip down the ski slopes and hit the terrain and tube parks, hop on a snowmobile ride through the backcountry or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through softly falling snow. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Snowshoe’s heated Split Rock Pools lets you splash around in the great outdoors even on the coldest winter day.
3. Winterplace Ski Resort
Just off I-64 near Beckley, Winterplace Ski Resort is an easy drive for a day trip or weekend getaway the whole family can enjoy. The 90-acre resort boasts a vertical drop of more than 600 feet and is home to West Virginia’s largest snow tubing park. Newbies to skiing and snowboarding are encouraged to take advantage of the resort’s new terrain-based learning area.
4. Elk River Touring Center
With an average annual snowfall of 180 inches, the backcountry around Highland Scenic Highway in the Monongahela National Forest is ideal for winter exploration. Elk River Touring Center provides cross-country ski rentals and snowshoe rentals for use on trails that crisscross the highway, which peaks at a lofty elevation of 4,700 feet.
5. White Grass Ski Touring Center
Near Canaan Valley, White Grass Ski Touring Center provides access to some of West Virginia’s most-treasured high country. Rentals are available for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and telemark skiing on 40 miles of trails at an elevation ranging from 3,220 to 4,463 feet.
6. Oglebay Resort
Home of the world-renowned Winter Festival of Lights, Oglebay Resort also has its own ski slope and terrain park. (Oglebay’s slopes typically open later than the state’s other ski resorts.) A triple chair lift accesses an 815-foot slope with a 168-foot vertical drop. Lessons and rentals are available on-site. Another can’t-miss activity in winter is Oglebay’s The Good Zoo, where you can watch its newest residents — reindeer — frolicking in the snow.
7. The Greenbrier
The Greenbrier captures the spirit of winters past with romantic horse-drawn sleigh rides over the resort’s snow-blanketed grounds and an outdoor ice skating rink the kids will love. Warm up by the rink-side fire pit or head inside for a dip in the indoor pool or a soothing massage at the Mineral Spa. There’s even a Christmas Shop, open year-round, where you can shop for old-fashioned holiday collectibles like hand-blown ornaments and nutcrackers.
8. Blackwater Falls State Park
Pack your camera! When the temperatures plummet, the magnificent 62-foot cascade and namesake of Blackwater Falls State Park freezes into a solid curtain of ice. Framed by snow-covered evergreens, the wondrous scene is a sight to behold. The park is a favorite winter retreat, with more than 10 miles of trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and beautiful overlooks of the Blackwater Canyon. The park also boasts the longest sled run on the East Coast. The quarter-mile groomed track has a conveyor belt to transport riders and their sleds to the top of the hill, while a warming hut nearby serves hot drinks and homemade soups to chilly sledders.
9. Glade Creek Grist Mill
It’s no wonder Glade Creek Grist Mill is one of the most photographed images in the state. The iconic mill set above the rock-strewn stream forms the centerpiece of Babcock State Park. When snow falls, the scene becomes a fairytale wonderland straight off a Christmas card scene. Bundle up and enjoy a quiet hike through snowy woods while you savor scenic views of the New River Gorge.
10. New River Gorge
Speaking of the New River Gorge. For some beautiful winter scenery, visit the overlooks at Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Hawks Nest Resort State Park, Sandstone Falls and Grandview. Dozens of miles of hiking trails also offer amazing views. The three-mile round trip Long Point Trail leads to a rock outcropping that reveals a stunning panoramic view of the 876-foot high New River Gorge Bridge.
11. Coopers Rock State Forest
The main overlook at Coopers Rock State Forest is a must-see any time of the year, and in the winter its snow-covered trails are ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The park’s location just off I-68 east of Morgantown also makes it a favorite getaway for students from nearby West Virginia University.
12. Philippi Covered Bridge
Surrounded by charming small towns or rolling farmland, covered bridges make a pretty picture in the winter snow. Built in 1852, the 285-foot-long Philippi Covered Bridge over the Tygart Valley River is the oldest and longest covered bridge in West Virginia. It also carries great historical significance as the site of the first land battle in the American Civil War. If you’re in the area between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, you might also want to book a tour of Adaland Mansion, when the historic home is all decked out for the holidays.
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This post was last updated on March 1, 2022