Uncover fall along these scenic tracks
All aboard! As fall approaches, the West Virginia hillsides come alive with color, making it a perfect time to hop on a train and experience real beauty.
The Mountain State’s railroads take you into remote regions that remain untouched by civilization, and offer views that seem other-worldly.
Here are 5 of the best fall rail tours:
1. New River Train Excursion
The New River Train Excursion explores some of the best fall foliage in southern West Virginia. Starting at the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline in Huntington, you’ll travel past West Virginia landmarks like the State Capitol building, Kanawha Falls, the Hawks Nest dam and bridge, the New River Gorge Bridge, and Sandstone Falls. Sights along the New River are breathtaking, with the autumn backdrop in mid- to late-October.
The final stop before heading back to Huntington is in Hinton, where you can grab a bite to eat and explore rail history and handcrafted goods at the Hinton Railroad Days festival.
2. Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad
Departing from Romney, WV, the Potomac Eagle fall foliage trips whisk you away on a 3-hour trip through picturesque countryside. On this narrated excursion, you’ll learn about historic farms, forests and scenery as you pass through the area.
The ride also takes you through “The Trough,” a steep-sided valley where South Branch of the Potomac River flows. The area is extremely remote, only accessible by train or boat. Don’t be surprised to see a bald eagle soaring above the train in this stretch of your journey.
3. Elkins excursions
The New Tygart Flyer takes you from Elkins to the High Falls of Cheat through hardwood forests, mountain streams, and meadows of wildflowers. Also departing from Elkins: the Cheat Mountain Salamander, a 1920s vintage locomotive, which takes passengers on a great wilderness journey.
4. Wild Heart of West Virginia
New this year, the “Wild Heart of West Virginia” package crafts monthly event packages with multi-day trips and activity-filled stops on the Cass Scenic Railroad and Cheat Mountain Salamander.
5. Cass Scenic Railroad
Go back in time as you ride the same Shay locomotives used to haul lumber to the historic town of Cass in the early 1900s. A trip to Whittaker Station will bring you to an authentic recreated logging camp. The ride to Bald Knob, one of the Cass Scenic Railroad’s most popular excursions, involves a climb of more than 4,800 feet— the highest railroad peak east of the Mississippi! At the mountain’s peak, you’ll witness breathtaking mountain vistas with brilliant fall colors.
Whether you want to relax and enjoy the West Virginia’s vibrant fall foliage or want to learn more about West Virginia railroad heritage, each excursion has something unique to offer.
Which of these scenic tracks have you explored?Order a Travel Guide
This post was last updated on July 21, 2020