Discover the Most Spectacular Views in the Potomac Highlands
Shaped by the Potomac River and the Appalachian Mountains, there is no shortage of natural wonder in this part of West Virginia. Countless overlooks, hikes and trails give visitors numerous opportunities to experience the picturesque beauty of the Potomac Highlands. We guarantee this trip will give you a true understanding for why West Virginia is called the Mountain State.
Lindy Point Overlook
If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring hike, look no further than Lindy Point Overlook. Located in Blackwater Falls State Park, the hike up to Lindy Point is only 0.4 miles (the entire hike is less than a mile up and back) and can easily be done in an afternoon. After winding your way through lush forests, the trail opens up to an incredible overlook surrounded by mountains. As you gaze out 3,000 feet above Blackwater Canyon, be sure to check out the views in both the west and the east. It might just leave you speechless…
Another must-see spot in Blackwater Falls State Park is Elakala Falls. Consisting of four different waterfalls running along the Blackwater River, the first waterfall is easily accessible from Elakala Trail. And while the trail gives you a nice aerial view of the cascading water, we recommend taking the unofficial footpath down the ravine to the base of the falls, where you can get an incredibly close perspective. With the sound of falling water behind you and swirling whirlpools all around you, the ravine can feel like a magical oasis.
The Billy Motel & Bar
If you plan to spend a few days exploring Blackwater Falls and the surrounding park, then make sure you book a room at The Billy Motel & Bar. Painted bright yellow and outfitted with hip, retro-style furnishings, The Billy Motel has become a popular spot for both luxury travelers and budget backpackers. Feeling both comfortable and artistic, The Billy Motel has all of the accommodations you’ll need, plus an adorable patio and a fully stocked bar. Guests staying the night will receive a complimentary drink token (in the form of a bright yellow casino chip) that can be used towards any craft cocktail or beverage of choice.
Located along the Appalachian Highway in downtown Davis, Stumptown Ales has frequently been named one of West Virginia’s best breweries. Focusing on hop-heavy beers like IPAs, Stumptown Ales uses small-batch, locally grown hops to get exceptional quality and flavor. At any given time, the taproom at Stumptown is usually pouring eight different beers, plus the occasional speciality brew. Definitely try the famous Holy Citra! Double IPA or the Over the Tip Top Breakfast Stout, which is brewed with local cocoa nibs and coffee beans. You can also order wines and small bites off their limited menu, or feel free to bring your own food.
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge is an impressive and unique place to visit for many reasons. Not only does it have over 8,000 acres of swamps and wetlands—a rare sight in West Virginia— but it is also the largest high-elevation valley east of the Rockies. Many of the trails have been built on wooden boardwalks, making it a great place for families of all ages. The Hoodoo Rocks and Moon Rocks Trails are two popular walking loops, offering visitors a wide variety of stunning landscapes and chances to see different species of birds and animals. Deer, bobcats, black bears, beavers and wild turkeys have been known to roam the refuge and offer some exceptional wildlife photography.
Mountain Trail Rides
While West Virginia is known for its many scenic views, Mountain Trail Rides allows visitors to experience these views from a very unique place—the back of a horse. One of the top-rated trail riding companies in all of West Virginia, Mountain Trail Rides is located in the heart of the Canaan Valley and offers an abundance of different trails and viewpoints. The guides are extremely skilled, making a point to perfectly match each horse with each individual rider. And while horseback riding is definitely the highlight at Mountain Trail Rides, there is also a petting zoo and a man-made adventure cave.
Rohrbaugh Plains Overlook
Sometimes referred to as Rohrbaugh Cliffs, the Rohrbaugh Plains Overlook offers hikers an unbelievable view of the Red Creek Valley and surrounding Dolly Sods Wilderness. With nothing but miles of sloping mountains and vast sky, the views from the overlook are endlessly green in the spring, and bursting with reds and oranges in the fall. The overlook is accessible by way of a moderate, seven mile hike. But if you want something a little more challenging, continue on and take the slightly longer 10 mile hike for a chance to see some tremendous meadows and numerous swimming holes.
Spruce Knob Observation Tower
Sitting on top of the highest peak in West Virginia, the Spruce Knob Observation Tower is the tallest point across the entire Mountain State. At an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the observation tower provides sweeping 360-degree views of the Allegheny Mountains. The tower is easily accessible from the Spruce Knob parking lot—just park and follow the marked trail a quarter-mile south. Some of the best times to visit are early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low and the surrounding mountains are shrouded in misty clouds.
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This post was last updated on September 15, 2020