West Virginia is located in the Appalachian region of the United States of America and is therefore called the ‘Mountain State.’ It is neighbored by Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia and is the 10th smallest state in the nation.
It gained statehood in the year 1863 and is the only state that is situated within the Appalachian Regional Commission. That is why it is called “Appalachia.”
It has cool trout waters and majestic mountain hills for various outdoor adventures and recreational activities. Interestingly it is the northernmost state in the southern part of America and the southernmost state in the northern part!
People say that West Virginians are so good at keeping secrets that they managed to hide a two-story bunker for three decades that can be used to hide and survive in case there is a nuclear attack.
Speaking of which, here are 15 beautiful secret places in West Virginia that you need to go to when you do visit this state next.
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15 Most Beautiful Secret Places in West Virginia
Hiking the Kaymoor Mine and Stairs
The steps you find here make it a great spot for cardio alongside being a really cool place to visit. This trail will take you into the New River Gorge and then to the Kaymoor Mine ruins.
Both fitness folks and history buffs love this place and this long trek. This used to be the most productive mine in the Gorge, and even today is still seen preserved.
There are 896 Kaymoor stairs that descend into the Gorge. The rim of the Gorge descends into an abandoned town right alongside the banks of the New River.
While it is great for exploration, the hard part is coming all the way back to the top.
Trout Fishing Elkhorn Creek
Elkhorn Creek is a dream for any trout fisherman. It is located along Route 52, which is McDowell County. In the 1980s, it was stocked accidentally by a broken-down DNR hatchery truck.
They flooded the creek with brown and rainbow trout to keep them alive while waiting for the truck to get repaired.
The trout have thrived in this waterway because of the cold water that comes into the creek from underground. The fishermen report huge trout, even some as big as 2 feet.
Paddling the Cheat Water Trail
The Cheat River is one that winds past a lot of unique attractions and a lot of history. You can either drive along the course of the river to see all of it or get on a boat and follow the natural route.
This trail maps out all of the access points that are near key attractions like the tiny town that changed sides about ten times during the Civil War, historic shops like the WWII Museum, or even charming small businesses like the Black Fork Coffee Roasters.
Ansted Trail at Hawks Next
The New River Gorge has hundreds of miles of trails, and hikes like the Long Point are pretty famous for the views that you get. But locals, on the other hand, trek the 2-mile Hawk’s Nest Rail Trail when they go for a walk.
This trek begins in Hawk’s Nest State Park, and then the old train tracks will lead you along with the creekside past scenic rail trestles, an old mine site, waterfalls, and also all the way to the town of Ansted.
The Remote Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory
The steep 30-minute hike to the forest service fire tower is great for bird watchers as they can see the fall migratory bird flights from August to November.
From the top there, you can be eye-level with the raptors while being able to see over the mountains for miles on end.
There are no services like water or modern bathrooms, probably owing to why it is missed by visitors. Just be sure you pack all you need if you’re going to spend a few hours on the top.
Whitewater on the Tygart
This river is often missed by visitors because it is one of the newest of the West Virginia ones that have been made commercially runnable.
But the locals here know that this makes it a quiet place to go to. Tygart is a place known for how beautiful it is, with all the scenic waterfalls making it a great place if you want to take a day off to paddle.
Coal River “Walhonde” Water Trail
This is another well-established boat trail that begins a little close to Charleston, the state’s biggest populated center.
This makes it easy for visitors to go paddling in the quiet and open wilderness for an entire day and then return to the city for some time spent in the town if they like the city bustle as well.
Once every year, during the 11-mile Tour De Coal, you will see hundreds of boaters leisurely paddle the trip together. You can meet fellow trip riders on the journey, and you can also get snacks and drinks.
RD Bailey Lake
The rugged lake is a great spot to escape if you want to find a secluded space for hunting or fishing.
You can test your skill at the rifle range before you head out to hunt game like a raccoon, turkey, squirrel, or even a black bear.
You can enjoy a peaceful day of hunting and then wind down at the rustic tent camping sites you will find there.
FootGolf at Pipestem
This may sound a little weird, but FootGolf is basically when you cross the polite play of golf with the kicking power of soccer.
If this intrigues you, you need to head to the Pipestem Resort State Park to see how it works because this is the only place to find people play this game.
Here the rules are roughly like the ones you find when playing golf, but instead of using a club, you will use your foot.
Congressional Fallout Shelter at the Greenbrier Resort
This Congressional Fallout Shelter at Sulphur Springs was meant to house the US Congress in case of nuclear fallout and included a room for distressed personnel, an incinerator, furniture, TV, and standard bunk-style beds.
It was maintained by a shell corporation, Forsythe Associates, to help maintain secrecy. But today, it acts as an office for a data storage company, and you can even get weekly guided tours here.
The Nuttallburg facility was built when a coal prospector saw the future of the town in the coal mining trade.
But this thriving town was acquired by Ford Motor Company in the 1920s, and the mine’s output was used to power the Michigan automotive facility.
But because of railroad guidelines, it had to be shut down and is today just an old mining facility with an abandoned ghost town that people go to explore once in a while.
Mystery Hole, Ansted
In 1973, Donald Wilson opened the Mystery Hole to the public, claiming that the underground area works quite a bit against gravity’s rules.
Here the furniture stands on an impossible surface, and balls and water roll uphill.
Above ground, it is covered in bright colours, and there is intriguing artwork and even an old Beetle crashing into the store. Today the new owners run the store the way it was when it was first opened.
New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville
This is one of the finest mega-bridges in the world and is a great challenge for motorists. On the 3rd Saturday of October, anyone can jump off the bridge legally.
This is a passageway that connects either side of the West Virginia Gorge and is a hotspot for BASE humpers, being 3,030 feet long and 876 feet above the rapids.
Curious Rock, Spencer
This is a 20-feet table rock formation, and it has been subject to various speculations about what exactly it is. Some say it looks like a god meditating on the mountaintop, and others say it could be an ancient Native American totem.
It is open to the public, but there is still no information on the history and the age of this rock. While there is no certainty as to when it was formed, this kind of rock formation does have a name, and that is a ‘table-top’ rock formation.
Spruce Knob, Riverton
Spruce Knob is the last on this list and is at the peak of Spruce Mountain. It is the highest point in West Virginia at 4,864 feet and is enclosed by the thick spruce forest, which is where its name comes from.
The rock can be reached through the walking trails and the paved roads, and you can see the summit view from the stone lookout tower.
We hope that you have enjoyed our list of 15 beautiful secret places in West Virginia. Be sure to make plans to see what you can the next time you go visit because it will definitely be worth it no matter which place you decide to see.
Do research and pack in advance, so you’re not caught off-guard when you’ve reached the area, especially spots that do not have modern facilities. Planning will also help you see as much as you can while you’re there but don’t be too rushed that you don’t enjoy the beauty and the quiet of the places you go to.
And lastly, follow the golden rule of such visits, that is to leave the place as you found it so that it remains as beautiful for decades to come and does not get destroyed by trash.