9 mountain landscapes that will make you feel at peace with the world

 

Find solace in West Virginia’s most picturesque state parks and wildernesses.

If you need a break— or want to plan that next getaway— don’t miss these Mountain State rivers, rock formations and cascades.

Take a look at these natural wonders:

 

Blackwater Falls, WV

1. Blackwater Falls | Blackwater Falls State Park

These dark amber cascades resemble a Victorian landscape painting, flowing through 8 miles of jagged canyons. No wonder the 62-foot waterfall is one of West Virginia’s most photographed attractions!

The secret behind Blackwater Falls State Parks’ unusual color is tannic acid from Hemlocks and red spruce trees.

 

Night sky filled with stars and a nebula, Spruce Knob, West Virginia

2. Spruce Knob | Monongahela National Forest

West Virginia’s highest summit has some of the most majestic vistas in Appalachia. Spruce Knob’s crisp nighttime skies are rightly famous. Dense, shaggy alpine forests cover the mountain, spotted with wind-sheared trees, stunted blueberry bushes and craggy boulders.

 

Summersville Lake, the largest lake in WV

3. Summersville Lake | Summersville

The “Little Bahamas of the East” is renowned for turquoise water— the clearest this side of the Mississippi— and bleached sandstone cliffs that stretch across more than 60 miles of restful shoreline.

Summersville Lake also feeds the water that creates the gigantic Class IV-V rapids on the legendary Gauley River. The result? World-class whitewater.

 

Hiker standing atop Seneca Rocks, WV

 

4. Seneca Rocks | Seneca Rocks

It’s hard to mistake the craggy backbone of quartzite for anything else. Like a spiny dragon’s fin, Seneca Rocks— the East Coast’s only true peak— attracts climbers and shutterbugs from all over the world.

And just like any beast, it’s crafty. You’ll need to exert all of your technical climbing skills if you hope to top the infamous South Peak.

 

Dolly Sods wilderness

5. Dolly Sods Wilderness | Monongahela National Forest

Equally sparse and jeweled, this unique plateau resembles an Arctic tundra. You’ll stumble upon features normally found far up north: sphagnum bogs, gaunt trees, wind-lashed rock formations and heath barrens.

Dolly Sods is especially bright in autumn, when the meadows, shrubs and trees change color.

 

Greenbrier River at dusk, WV

6. Greenbrier River | Pocahontas County

Serene, restful and wide, this river is perfect for a wilderness retreat. Float along the Greenbrier and lazily drift past forests crowding along the banks.

You don’t have to be an expert paddler to enjoy it, either. The Greenbrier’s rapids are manageable for beginners or even on a tube.

 

Glade Creek at Babcock State Park, West Virginia

7. Glade Creek Grist Mill | Babcock State Park

This spot is one of the most romantic in West Virginia, with plentiful cascades, pools, streams and boulders.

 

New River Gorge Bridge in WV

8. New River Gorge Bridge | Fayetteville

Sometimes, man-made structures enhance natural landscapes. Here, the New River Gorge Bridge forms a stark contrast to the dense, ruffled forests.

Cross the western hemisphere’s longest steel-arch span on a Bridge Walk. You’ll stride along the catwalk (a height of 851 feet) for the vantagepoint of a lifetime.

 

Pinnacle Rock, WV

9. Pinnacle Rock | Pinnacle Rock State Park

This sandstone formation is so impressive, it inspired an entire state park! At 3,100 feet high, Pinnacle Rock is one of West Virginia’s most unusual features. Be sure to climb the overlook.

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This post was last updated on October 19, 2017