Cranberry CorridorLooking for an outdoor adventure in the “Little Bahamas of the East?” Follow Route 39 E to WV Rt 150 going through Summersville, Marlinton and Lewisburg for a taste of Almost Heaven’s Mountain Lakes.
Cranberry Corridor extends across 211.1 miles of the lush Mountain Lakes region. Take your time to enjoy this 4-hour and 53-minute round trip drive. This route is accessible for both cars and motorcycles.
Start off your journey on Route 39 in Summersville. Here you will find Summersville Lake, well known for its bright blue waters and as the home of the only lighthouse found in Almost Heaven. Treat yourself on the start of your route at The Vault on Main or check out Cafe Cimino for world renowned food. Head to Summit Lake and Falls of Hill Creek to soak up the cascading magic that can only be found at the foot of a waterfall. To make the most of your drive, continue east on Route 150 of the Highland Scenic Highway where panoramic views abound.
Take in overlook views and step back in time at the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. Take a stroll on the half-mile boardwalk through the Glades to experience the unique wonders that make this the southern-most point in North America where some of these unique plants and animals are found, including carnivorous or insect-eating plants. Take a break to stretch your legs at the Big Spruce Overlook to see the sprawling mountains off the highway. For those looking for a quick hike, there are plenty of hiking trails, such as the Black Mountain Fire Interpretive Trail or High Rocks Trail, that start at the overlook. As you head into Marlinton, anglers can find trout, bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish at Handley Pond, located in the Handley Wildlife Management Area.
Grab some local eats after having your fill of view-searching at the Greenbrier Grill & Lodge or find something lighter at Dirtbean Cafe. Explore the area with a quick bike ride along the Greenbrier River Trail, and take a quick pit stop at the over 100-year-old Marlinton Railroad Depot. The Depot serves as Marlinton’s visitor center and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Head on US-219 and explore the shimmering lakes of Watoga State Park, or stay awhile and see why Watoga was recently registered as an official Dark Sky Park. The starry nights of Almost Heaven are sure to leave you in awe.
Fuel up and head south on US-219 to Lewisburg, where shopping, dining, theater and history all live in this quaint town. Start off with a live performance at Carnegie Hall or one of several other historic theaters set in the cultural hub of the Greenbrier Valley. You’ll find outdoor adventure on these winding country roads with a visit to Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park or Beartown State Park. Climb the observation tower at Droop Mountain for expansive mountain views of Little Levels Valley. Head to Beartown State Park to spend your afternoon strolling the park’s iconic wooden pathway.
After your long day of adventure, the time is now to fuel up with a visit to Hill & Holler for a wood-fired pizza and local craft brew. Find never-ending scenery and photo ops at Babcock State Park, where the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill lives. Check off Glade Creek Falls from your waterfall bucket list while you’re there. At a height of 15 feet, this stream-wide waterfall isn’t large compared to others in the state, but the dramatic backdrop of the mill and a natural frame of surrounding foliage makes this waterfall alone worth the trip. From there, you’ll end up driving through the mountains to Hawk’s Nest State Park into Gauley Bridge. After making a stop at the towering Cathedral Falls, Route 39 will loop you back to your starting point.