Spend 48 Hours in Pocahontas County, WV
Pocahontas County is known as Nature’s Mountain Playground, and for good reason. The county is home to the largest concentration of public lands, 350,000 acres, in West Virginia, 1/3 of the Monongahela National Forest, and five state parks. However you enjoy nature, whether it be fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing or simply walking through it, Pocahontas County has an activity for every outdoor enthusiast.
Pocahontas County has also earned the moniker of “The Birthplace of Rivers,” since eight Mountain State rivers’ headwaters can be found here. This means ample opportunities for all water-related activities. Enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the state, stop by Appalachian Sport Lodge in Marlinton to rent canoes or kayaks, and get shuttled to and from the Greenbrier River, rent tubes to float in or fuel up at Jack Horner’s Corner, a convenient store and gift shop located just feet from the Greenbrier River or just relax and soak in any one of the county’s many waterways and swimming holes.
Snowshoe Mountain offers a plethora of high-paced outdoor activities for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Depending on the time of year you visit you’ll have opportunities to ski, snowmobile, mountain bike or ride ATVs, all while enjoying scenic views from an elevation of 4,848 feet. The mountain biking trails here are challenging and thrilling as can be, which instantly caught the attention of Bike Magazine.
If you are coming to the mountains for a more relaxing experience, there’s no shortage of activities for you. Take a walk or bring your bike to the Greenbrier River Trail, a 78-mile trail on a former railroad. If you’re chasing waterfalls and don’t mind a short 1.3-mile hike, you would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the Falls of Hills Creek. The descending trail guides you to a series of 3 falls, the largest of which is 65 feet.
If you’re interested in the history of the area, stroll along the boardwalks of Beartown State Park that walk you through massive rock formations and read about the ancient geological processes that helped form the current landscape of Pocahontas County. A very short drive from Beartown is Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park where you can learn about one of the most important battles that took place in the Civil War in West Virginia.
A trip to Pocahontas County would not be complete without enjoying some of the clearest night skies not only in West Virginia, but the United States. The rugged, rural nature of the region and the lack of light pollution makes it an ideal stargazing destination. There are currently 3 International Dark Sky Destinations within the mountain state, all of which can be found in Pocahontas County. Watoga State Park, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, and Calvin Price State Forest offer incredible opportunities to view the remarkable night skies above.
In between your adventures consider stopping at one of several other attractions within the county. Experience and purchase the work of many local artists and craftspeople at the Pocahontas County Artisans Co-Op. Some of the items featured here include paintings, woodworking, pottery, soaps and candles. Visit the Green Bank Observatory to experience the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope firsthand, and take a guided tour of the facility to learn more about the field of radio astronomy.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers something for every member of the family. Explore an authentic logging company town, discover the rich history of the area at the Cass Historical Theater and Museum or enjoy a scenic train ride to the third highest point in West Virginia, Bald Knob, and take in the breathtaking views along the way. Make sure to get a souvenir from the Company Store before departing, and maybe a scoop of ice cream from the old-fashioned soda fountain located right next to the gift shop.
Fueling your Adventures
Although Pocahontas County is a more rural, untamed area of West Virginia, there are still plenty of quality food options. Start the day by visiting the Dirtbean, a cafe located in Marlinton whose second story houses a bike shop. Also in Marlinton are the Greenbrier Grille and Lodge, a restaurant with a classic, family-friendly menu where you can enjoy a home-cooked meal on the banks of the Greenbrier River and Alfredo’s, a local chain with an extensive menu featuring Italian and Greek Cuisine.
A local hidden gem is Dean’s Den. Located at the intersection of West Virginia routes 92 and 84 is a small, unassuming building that if you were not looking for you could easily pass, not knowing you had driven by one of the best dining opportunities in Pocahontas County. Their menu offers a wide variety of dishes, and new specials such as Cajun Shrimp and Grits or Korean BBQ are curated weekly.
Where to Rest
However you want to spend your nights (when not staring at the sky) in Pocahontas County, there are many options for you. Enjoy a more luxurious experience at Snowshoe Mountain or choose from a few charming Airbnb rentals – praised by Washingtonian. Feeling more casual? book a stay at a rustic cabin situated on the Greenbrier River at Barnett Cabin Rentals. If you want to stick to an authentic outdoor experience there are many campgrounds or even more remote backpacking opportunities spread throughout the county. For a truly unique getaway, book a stay at the former Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, which has been fully renovated into a living space. The structure rises 53 feet high and provides 360-degree views of the surrounding Seneca State Forest. Pro tip: Be sure to plan far in advance as this popular spot books up fast!
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This post was last updated on February 7, 2024