As it’s commonly referred to, West Virginia or the Mountain State is situated in the USA’s Mid-Atlantic region and is bordered by Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. Officially admitted into the Union on June 20 1863, West Virginia’s lush rolling valleys and soaring mountains is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts looking for great skiing, hiking, biking and rafting opportunities.
Once home to a thriving logging and coal mining industry, the Mountain State suffered when these industries collapsed, taking the many jobs they offered with them. Luckily though, West Virginians are a tough bunch and have worked hard to try and return their beloved West Virginia into the great state it once was. Visitors to West Virginia will be delighted by warm hospitality, fresh mountain air, the stunning range of landscapes and historic logging towns. Here are 20 landmarks in West Virginia to see.
- 21 West Virginia Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks In West Virginia
- Historic Landmarks In West Virginia
21 West Virginia Landmarks
Natural Landmarks In West Virginia
1- New River Gorge Bridge
Home to the Mountain State’s largest single-day festival, Bridge Day, the 876 foot (267 m) tall New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville is a mighty impressive landmark in West Virginia.
The bridge’s Canyon Rim Overlook provides visitors with incredible views of the world’s fourth longest steel single-span arch bridge, as well as panoramic views as far as the eye can see of New River Gorge National Park.
Many excellent hiking trails are dotted throughout the park for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
You can also marvel at the size of the bridge from below by joining a whitewater rafting trip or a jet boat ride on the New River.
It’s one of West Virginia’s most famous landmarks and certainly one you should not miss during your trip to the state.
New River Gorge Bridge is at US-19, Victor, WV 25938.
2- Blackwater Falls
Situated in the spectacular Allegheny Mountains is the 57-foot (17 m) cascading Blackwater Falls, one of West Virginia’s most-photographed locations.
Forming part of a collection of impressive waterfalls inside the Blackwater Falls State Park, the thundering Blackwater Falls is best experienced from one of the park’s observation decks which provide incredible views of the waterfall and the rest of the park.
The park is open year-round and has several entertaining activities no matter what season you decide to visit.
Enjoy skiing and sled rides throughout the park in the winter or spend a night camping under the stars in the summer.
There are plenty of fun activities here to keep the whole family entertained all day long.
Blackwater Falls is at 1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd, Davis, WV 26260.
3- The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail stretches for over 2,000 miles (3,219 km) from Maine to Georgia and the section in West Virginia is the midway point.
Although hiking the full distance of the trail is a bucket-list activity, there are shorter hiking trails dotted all along the main trail.
The West Virginia stretch of the trail is incredibly scenic as it winds right past the historic town of Harpers Ferry, which houses the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, where visitors can delight themselves with interesting information about the iconic trail.
The Appalachian Trail is at 799 Washington St, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.
4- Grandview State Park
One of the Mountain State’s most scenic parks, Grandview State Park offers visitors gorgeous vistas from high above the New River.
Grandview State Park certainly lives up to its name, with observation decks throughout the park offering unobstructed panoramas.
Certainly, the best of these observation points is the park’s Main Overlook, where sightseers can gaze down upon the New River from over 1,400 feet (427 m) above.
Nature lovers visiting Grandview State Park are treated to five picturesque guided hiking trails and other fun outdoor activities.
Grandview State Park is at Grandview Rd, Beaver, WV 25813.
5- Seneca Caverns
The Seneca Caverns, located in Riverton, West Virginia, provide an interesting insight into the region’s history.
Used by the Seneca Tribe for rituals and shelter in the early 15th century, the caverns were later discovered in 1742 by Laven Teter, a local farmer looking for water for his livestock.
Today visitors to the caverns can join an hour-long guided tour of the cave system, which leads visitors past the 60-foot (18 m) tall Teter Hall chamber to a depth of 165 feet (50 m) below ground.
The well-lit concrete pathways within the caverns make navigating Seneca Caverns a breeze and a great place to visit to enjoy a different side of West Virginia.
Seneca Caverns are at 3328 Germany Valley Rd, Riverton, WV 26814.
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6- Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is comprised of over 17,000 acres (6880 ha) of sprawling forests covering an area that stretches over two West Virginia counties.
With around 50 hiking trails and various ecosystems, Dolly Sods is a real wilderness amusement park with fun outdoor activities.
With elevations ranging more than 5,000 feet (1,524 m), the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is a fascinating and scenic landmark well worth a visit.
Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is at 200 Sycamore St, Elkins, WV 26241.
7- Cass Scenic Railroad
Little is left of West Virginia’s lumber industry other than miles of railways that dot the state’s landscape.
One of these railway lines is the Cass Scenic Railroad, a logging line turned attraction located within the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
The Cass Scenic Railroad has two tours available to guests, one being a trip to Whitaker station and back, and the other being a round-trip journey to the state’s third-highest point, Bald Knob.
Both railway journeys carry visitors past some of the state’s most-scenic historical and natural sights.
A trek along the great Cass Scenic Railroad is undoubtedly a memorable experience and an excellent way to learn more about the logging industry that shaped West Virginia.
Cass Scenic Railroad is at 12363 Cass Rd, Cass, WV 24927.
8- Seneca Rocks
Peeking out from the lush Monongahela National Forest is the 1568-ft (478 m) tall Seneca Rock, an unmissable near-vertical peak jutting out from the otherwise flat landscape in Seneca Rocks State Park.
Extremely popular with rock climbers who attempt to ascend to the top via 14 different climbing routes, Seneca Rocks is an excellent destination for adrenaline junkies and casual hikers.
Whether you climb or hike to the top, you’ll be royally treated with 360-degree views of the gorgeous Monongahela Forest, which surrounds Seneca Rocks.
If climbing or hiking’s not your thing, be sure to visit the Seneca Rocks Discovery Centre located at the foot of the rock to learn more about the park and to tour the small museum located inside.
Seneca Rocks are at 10135 Browns Creek Rd, Dunmore, WV 24934.
9- Snowshoe Mountain
West Virginia is often overlooked as a prime destination for winter sports for more popular states such as Colorado or Utah, even though Snowshoe Mountain is a fantastic winter destination in its own right.
The state’s most popular ski resort, Snowshoe Mountain, is home to 60 different slopes designed by a former Olympic skier.
It’s a world-class skiing destination and a great place to enjoy a variety of other winter sports.
The mountain becomes a popular golfing, mountain biking and ATV destination in the summer, making it a great place to enjoy activities all year round.
Snowshoe Mountain is at 10 Snowshoe Dr, Snowshoe, WV 26209.
10- Coopers Rock
Coopers Rock State Forest is a lovely place to admire the beautiful natural scenery that West Virginia is so well known for.
There are many excellent lookout points throughout the park, each with a different vantage point.
One of the best is the Cheat Canyon overlook, which provides guests with sweeping vistas of the Cheat River flowing below and Morgantown in the distance.
It’s a natural haven for hikers thanks to the forest’s many hiking trails, which wind past National Register of Historic Places-listed buildings.
During the winter season, visitors to the forest can enjoy skiing within Coopers Rock State Forest, making the forest an exceptional outdoor getaway in West Virginia.
Coopers Rock State Forest is at 61 County Line Dr, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525.
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Historic Landmarks In West Virginia
11- The Greenbrier Resort
Few landmarks in West Virginia are as magnificent and historically significant as the Greenbrier Resort near White Sulphur Springs.
This five-star, super luxurious resort has hosted many celebrities, including 26 US presidents since it opened in 1913.
The resort is also the site of a sprawling underground bunker nicknamed “Project Green Island” built during the Cold War era to shelter the US Congress in case of a nuclear attack.
The Greenbrier Resort is an iconic West Virginia landmark like none other and worth visiting to experience its decadence.
The Greenbrier Resort is at 101 W Main St, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986.
12- West Virginia Penitentiary
West Virginia Penitentiary is one of the eeriest and creepiest landmarks in the state.
This Gothic-style building was constructed in 1866 and housed thousands of prisoners, hundreds of whom were executed until the penitentiary was decommissioned in 1995.
The penitentiary has been the location of supernatural sightings and featured on paranormal television shows.
West Virginia Penitentiary welcomes visitors of all ages, hosting a wide range of spooky tours and events throughout the year, such as mock prison riots and Zombie Walks.
West Virginia Penitentiary is at 818 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, WV 26041.
13- West Virginia State Capitol
Home to the West Virginia seat of government, the impressive West Virginia State Capitol’s striking 293-foot (89 m) golden dome shimmers brightly in the summer sun and beckons visitors from far away.
The mostly marble interior of the structure exudes decadence and power fitting for West Virginia’s most important building.
Designed by Cass Gilbert, the same architect who designed the Woolworth Building in New York, regular tours of the striking Capitol complex are available.
The Charleston district surrounding the Capitol complex, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is well worth a visit too.
West Virginia State Capitol is at 1900 Kanawha Blvd, East Charleston, WV 25305.
14- West Virginia State Museum
There is no place better to learn all about the history and origins of the state of West Virginia than the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston.
The museum houses several extensive exhibits with historical artefacts such as various antique hats and even a telescope belonging to a former US president.
The museum’s layout depicts the state’s history in chronological order, making touring the facility an engaging, educational and fun experience.
Visiting the museum is a must for anyone interested in this beautiful state’s natural, cultural and industrial past.
West Virginia State Museum is at 1900 Kanawha Blvd E #435, Charleston, WV 25305.
15- Green Bank Observatory
West Virginia is may not the first place that comes to mind when talking about cutting-edge research facilities and high-end telescopes, but the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in astronomical research and education.
Located in a National Quiet Zone, which shields the observatory from radio frequencies, Green Bank Observatory welcomes visitors with tours of the facility following an extensive screening protocol.
The screening protocol is necessary to protect the facility’s high-tech instruments from damage.
Green Bank Observatory is at 155 Observatory Road, Green Bank, WV 24944.
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16- Harpers Ferry
Within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers is the perfectly restored town of Harpers Ferry.
The town is the site of the 1859 raid on the US arsenal by abolitionist John Brown, which was an event that rapidly hastened the outbreak of the Civil War.
Thanks to the two rivers and the Appalachian Trail, the town has many museums, hiking trails, and some of the state’s most beautiful vistas.
Harpers Ferry is one of West Virginia’s most historic landmarks and a must-visit destination to get a taste of the Mountain State’s rich history.
Harpers Ferry is at 171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.
17- Grave Creek Burial Mounds
The perplexing Grave Creek Burial Mounds in Moundsville has amazed visitors and historians for hundreds of years.
Built by the Adena people more than 2,000 years ago, between 250 and 150 BC, the mounds were a mass burial site and are the largest of their kind.
Forming part of the Grave Creek Archaeological Complex, the site is home to burial mounds as large as 62 feet (19 m) high and 250 feet (76 m) at their base.
The Delf Norona Museum houses over 450,000 ancient artefacts found all over the area in and around the burial site, perfectly retelling the lives and customs of this ancient lost civilization.
Grave Creek Burial Mounds are at 801 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, WV 26041.
18- Archive of the Afterlife
Nicknamed the ‘National Museum of Paranormal’, the Archive of the Afterlife is a must-visit for anyone interested in the eerie and supernatural.
Haunting photographs, bizarre objects and cursed dolls are just some of the many artefacts on display inside the museum, curated from all over the world thanks to donors.
If you bring a haunted object with you, the museum might even take it off your hands and proudly display it along with all the other freaky items.
Visitors can book private tours of this one-of-a-kind museum, which grants them exclusive access to the facility for an entire day, where they’ll be treated with short guided tours and ghost hunts.
Archive of the Afterlife is at 86 Railroad St, Cameron, WV 26033.
19- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Another of the spectacularly spooky landmarks in West Virginia is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, which was first opened in 1864.
A National Historic Landmark, the asylum remained in operation until 1994 and is one of the most famous asylums in the country.
As with any old abandoned asylum, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is highly unnerving and probably haunted, with many accounts of strange noises and ghost sightings by visitors.
If you’re a fan or sceptical of the supernatural, be sure to visit this iconic West Virginia landmark to hunt for ghosts and ghouls during a Ghost Tour of the facility.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is at 50 S River Ave, Weston, WV 26452.
20- Governor’s Mansion
The beautiful Governor’s Mansion with its red brick façade has been the home of West Virginia governors since its construction in 1925 and has hosted several prominent dignitaries.
The mansion is well maintained and very lavish, with a marble checkerboard floor in the foyer, walls painted with optical illusions and a perfectly landscaped garden fit for royalty.
Touring this grand building is free, though only on Thursdays and Fridays and with reservations made in advance.
The Governor’s Mansion is an excellent West Virginia landmark for anyone interested in architecture and history.
Governor’s Mansion is at 1716 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25305.
21- Glade Creek Grist Mill
One of the most photographed grist mills in the state, Glade Creek Grist Mill is a charming historic landmark of West Virginia.
Grist mills were once where grain was ground and there were 500 of these mills operating in West Virginia at the end of the 19th century.
Glade Creek Grist Mill was constructed in 1976 to replace an older mill, with its structure and mechanisms reconstructed using an 1890s mill.
Glade Creek Grist Mill is in Babcock State Park, West Virginia.
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