Road Trip From One National Park to Another in West Virginia
Traveling West Virginia’s iconic country roads during the fall is an experience you can’t find anywhere else. Mountain ridges and rolling hills dusted in reds, oranges and yellows gives a heavenly feel. What better to experience along the way other than national parks? Take this fall road trip to see some of our best views, favorite parks and coolest towns along the way.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Begin your road trip by taking in the multitude of autumn hues found at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Situated at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, this spot showcases some of the best fall views the Mountain State has to offer. Be sure to visit “The Point” where you can gaze upon the two rivers and three states below. For another jaw-dropping view, climb the steps of the historic St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, which sits atop Harpers Ferry. The park provides autumn adventures for everyone such as hiking, biking, rock climbing and fishing. Stop by Battle Grounds Bakery & Coffee for a warm drink and pastry treat. Experience a cozy atmosphere complete with wood furnishings, bar bites and build-your-own-burgers at The Rabbit Hole. Here, you’re sure to feel the history with every step.
Make a pit stop to explore Morgantown, best known as Mountaineer Country. Home to West Virginia University, this mountain town is full of pride and spirit. Nearby, you will find one of the state’s most Instagrammable views and larger-than-life swing at Coopers Rock State Forest. This spot boasts some of the most iconic views in Almost Heaven, especially in the fall season. Most popular is the main overlook, which gives way to expansive views of the Cheat River Gorge below. Have an authentic autumn stay amongst the forest in a Tentrr campsite, fully equipped with everything you need. Before continuing on your way, you’ll want to sip some local, seasonal brews. Mountain State Brewing Company, Apothecary Ale House and Morgantown Brewing Company are among the top favorites here.
Give your legs another stretch as you check out the town of Buckhannon. Small in size, but big in charm, one quick stop will already have you feeling like a local. Stroll the town to find galleries and artisan shops, with locally made trades on display. Visit Fish Hawk Acres for a tasty farm-to-table meal and browse the market for some goodies to go along with you on the rest of your road trip. See more of West Virginia’s autumn beauty on display at Audra State Park, a heavily wooded area bisected by the Middle Fork River. The clear, clean waters of the river paired with the impressive rock overhangs of the Alum Cave make for the perfect fall exploration. Hike trails, have a picnic or even fish as you breathe in the crisp mountain air.
Along the route, allow for a scenic stop in Summersville, home to Summersville Lake – West Virginia’s largest lake boasting 60 miles of shoreline and 2,800 acres of water. Popular for summer water sports, this location should not be dismissed in the fall. As the leaves begin to change, the lake’s cliff-lined shores provide a stunning backdrop for fall foliage galore. Take in this view from a unique perspective and climb the 120 steps to the top of Summersville Lake Lighthouse for a panoramic, breathtaking view. Also in Summersville is the Kirkwood Winery and Isaiah Morgan Distillery, where you can taste West Virginia made wine and whiskey as well as see how the behind the scenes process works.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
End your unforgettable trip at the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Best known for its heavenly views and one-of-a-kind outdoor recreation, this will end your trip on a high note for sure. Put yourself to the test with a climb at one of the country’s best rock climbing destinations or take on the famous, wild whitewater of Gauley Season. See the mountains shine in their fall splendor from a birds-eye view with a Bridge Walk tour. Swing from tree to tree with a canopy zip line at both ACE Adventure and Adventures on the Gorge. Both of these resorts also provide a wonderful place to stay as you wrap up your trip. Before you hit the road, be sure to check out Fayetteville, deemed one of America’s coolest small towns. From unique shops to delicious restaurants, this town has it all.
Learn more about the array of activities and experiences to be had in West Virginia with our new, special edition vacation guides.
This post was last updated on July 27, 2022