Scenic Drive In West Virginia

The breathtaking beauty of the Appalachian Mountains makes West Virginia a premier destination for any scenic drive.

Whether it’s winding through the Laurel Mountain Highlands or meandering along the historic Midland Trail, a scenic drive in West Virginia will take you on a journey through some of America’s most beautiful landscapes.

In addition to the breathtaking views, a drive across the state will take you past quaint towns full of local flavors and friendly people.

With endless sights and plenty of surprises, you won’t want your time exploring West Virginia to end too soon.

Overview Of  Scenic Drive In West Virginia

West Virginia is a beautiful state to take a scenic drive in; and with over 355 miles of scenic byways, there is no shortage of vistas and attractions.

From the forested ridges, grassy meadows, and rivers of the Monongahela National Forest to the rolling hills and hamlets of the Little Canaan Valley along Routes 48/55, you will find plenty of inspiring nature along your route.

Enjoy alpine overlooks and breathtaking views from overlooks on Allegheny Mountain, Waterman Ridge Road, and the Seneca Rocks Scenic Byway.

With so much to see in West Virginia’s gorgeous countryside, a scenic drive into the heart of Appalachia has something for everyone.

Scenic Drive In West Virginia

Popular Scenic Drive In West Virginia

West Virginia is an incredibly diverse and naturally beautiful state, making it a perfect destination for those looking to take in breathtaking views while spending time outdoors.

One of the most popular scenic drives in West Virginia can be found along U.S. Route 50, which offers a mesmerizing journey through the mountains at fairly easy grades and curves.

As you make your way down the 300-mile route, you will encounter views of rolling hills, rolling valleys, and more than 20 state parks that provide access to hiking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and other outdoor activities.

There are also historical sites and charming small towns dotting both sides of the highway where you can stop for some restful relaxation.

The Midland Trail Scenic Highway

Take a great road trip and explore the beauty of West Virginia on the Midland Trail Scenic Highway.

Starting at Gauley Bridge, this 101-mile journey winds through Fayette and Kanawha counties, offering travelers lovely views of many forests, rivers, and rolling hills.

Along the way, you will find historic sites related to West Virginia’s birth as a state, including unique pocket parks espousing local culture like its namesake John Brown.

You’ll also have opportunities for outdoor recreation during your drive: try fishing at Lake Stephens or visit Hawks Nest State Park for some mountain biking.

The Midland Trail

The Highlands Scenic Highway

Cryptic mountain peaks, lush meadows, populous deciduous forests, and cascading creeks, the Highlands Scenic Highway in West Virginia has it all.

This magnificent road that slices through the Allegheny Mountains is truly a paradise on earth, with its spectacular views, captivating wildlife, and a myriad of recreational possibilities.

Along this long stretch of scenic highway, you get to fulfill your yearning for adventure by exploring vistas and slopes with countless outdoor activities like camping, kayaking, fishing, and more.

Experience beautiful old-growth woodland groves, extraordinary fall foliage, and autumnal color in the meadows that only they can offer.

Highlands Scenic Highway

The Mountain State Scenic Byway

The Mountain State Scenic Byway in West Virginia is a 270-mile picturesque drive showcasing the diverse beauty of the state.

Winding through eleven counties and three national parks, it’s the perfect road-trip route for anyone wanting to experience all that West Virginia has to offer.

The drive starts at Harpers Ferry, taking you through sprawling forests, past glistening waterfalls, and several iconic landmarks, including Seneca Rocks and Blackwater Falls State Park.

Along the way, you’ll traverse mountain passes and find yourself atop lofty ridges with breathtaking views of valleys below.

The Mountain State Scenic Byway

The Coal Heritage Trail

Exploring the Coal Heritage Trail in West Virginia is a great way to soak up the state’s history and scenery. Starting near Beckley, the two-hundred-mile drive passes through nearly twenty cities and counties.

As you journey along Route 52, you’ll be gifted with stunning views of gently sloping hills, rolling farmland, and scenic rivers.

Throughout your trip, be sure to stop at local landmarks such as the Bramwell Historic District with its famous Millionaire’s Row of beautiful late nineteenth-century homes and the eclectic communities whose livelihood was tied to coal mining.

Coal Heritage Trail

The Cranberry Backroads National Scenic Byway

The Cranberry Backroads National Scenic Byway is West Virginia’s summit of gorgeous and magnificent sights.

This 64-mile-long route offers visitors the opportunity to explore some of the most stunning views in the state, from tranquil country vistas to beautiful Appalachian greenery.

Touring the Cranberry Backroads Scenic Byway is a great way for travelers to discover hidden gems in this part of the country.

Along the route, there are many charming towns, vintage attractions, and natural wonders waiting to be explored.

Cranberry Backroads National Scenic Byway

The Highland Scenic Highway

Breathtaking overlooks, steep switchbacks, and dazzling forests make the Highland Scenic Highway in West Virginia a must for anyone who wants to experience all that nature has to offer.

Stretching 43 miles through the Monongahela National Forest and surrounding hills, this highway is one of the most beautiful drives you can take in the state.

The route takes you soaring to elevations over 4,000 feet, with many opportunities to take in stunning vistas of rolling hills and lush green foliage.

As you make your way along the Highland Scenic Highway, you will come across several water features including waterfalls and streams. You might even catch sight of an elk or bear as they roam through their natural habitat.

Highland Scenic Highway

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests Scenic Byway

Home to breathtaking views, rugged terrain, and abundant wildlife, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests Scenic Byway is one of the most scenic drives in West Virginia.

Offering an array of vista points overlooking the legendary Shenandoah River, visitors can experience truly magnificent scenes throughout their journey.

The beautiful Mount Rogers National Recreation Area provides a naturalist’s paradise with its dense hemlock forests, awe-inspiring waterfalls, crystal-clear mountain streams, and lush pastures full of wildflowers.

Nature lovers won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take picturesque hikes and see some of West Virginia’s most stunning landscapes.

George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

The Gauley River National Recreation Area Scenic Byway

The Gauley River National Recreation Area Scenic Byway is located in the southern part of West Virginia and runs along the popular river fed from the second-highest waterfall east of the Mississippi.

The 50-mile stretch of the paved route begins at Summersville Lake, affording stunning views of lush green forests and craggy hillsides, trailing off into deep gorges and rock walls as it follows alongside its namesake Gauley River.

Gauley River National Recreation

The Seneca Rocks Scenic Drive

Located in the stunning Monongahela National Forest, the Seneca Rocks Scenic Drive is one of the best ways to take in West Virginia’s exquisite natural beauty.

This 35-mile section of Route 33 follows a westward path, winding around Seneca Rocks and through some truly awe-inspiring landscapes of rivers, lush valleys, and jagged mountain peaks.

Bird and wildlife watchers will see an array of activities including hawks soaring above the highest points of the Allegheny Mountains.

Not to be missed is a visit to the nearby Smoke Hole Caverns and Logging Museum where you can experience up close what early pioneers of West Virginia endured on their quest for success.

Seneca Rocks

The Smoke Hole Canyon Scenic Byway

The Smoke Hole Canyon Scenic Byway in West Virginia has been romantically described as a living postcard and is one of the best drives you can take in the area.

It begins in Franklin, WV, and winds its way through some of the state’s most beautiful scenery.

Along the approximately 70-mile trip, visitors will be able to enjoy stunning views of steep sandstone cliffs, lush green forests, and gleaming rivers wending their way through wonderfully vivid valleys.

The byway passes over several historic bridges from throughout the region’s rich history, giving travelers the chance to learn about this area’s myths, cultures, and artifacts. Certainly, no journey would be complete without taking a moment to appreciate Smoke Hole Caverns which offers spectacular underground vistas that are sure to impress both locals and visitors alike.

Smoke Hole Canyon Scenic Byway in West Virginia

Tips For Enjoying The Drive

For those looking to make the most of this breathtaking transition, there are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Firstly, make sure to allot plenty of time for your journey; with winding roads and captivating scenery, it’s easy to get caught up in relax and take it all in.
  • Secondly, having a dependable navigation system or map on hand can be essential for navigating the terrain, so you don’t miss any of the spectacular views along the way.
  • Finally, packing light snacks and drinks such as tea or coffee can help you keep your energy levels up for when you reach your destination at the end of the day. With these thoughtful tips at hand, you’re sure to have an incredible experience during your drive in West Virginia!

Best Time To Visit

Visitors have the most enjoyable experience when visiting during autumn when the foliage of each tree changes to vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds.

During the summer months, travelers will likely be accompanied by cascading waterfalls and healthy green trees that keep them cool while they explore this lovely state.

There is truly no bad time to plan your road trip through West Virginia; each season has its own set of beautiful sights to behold, but autumn will provide spectacular displays of color that cannot be missed!

Preparing For The Drive

To get the most out of this experience, preparing ahead of time is key.

From packing food and drinks to researching routes and gasoline stations, taking the time to prepare beforehand will ensure a safe and enjoyable journey along West Virginia’s roads.

In addition to the necessary supplies, consider mapping out the route in advance so you can take advantage of any rest stops or attractions that interest you along the way.

By planning ahead, you’ll be sure to enjoy an unforgettable scenic drive through West Virginia,

Must-Have Supplies

Before you set off on this adventure, there are several must-have supplies that will make all the difference.

Make sure to bring along plenty of water and refreshments so you can stay hydrated while absorbing the picturesque landscapes.

A reliable spare tire and car jack are must-haves in case any mechanical issues arise during the journey. An extra vehicle key will help you to avoid getting stranded far away from a place to access copies or replacements.

For those drives that stretch into the night, it’s important to pack flashlights and light-reflecting gear like triangles and roadside flares if an emergency should occur.

Road Conditions

Take a scenic drive through some of West Virginia’s most stunning countryside, but make sure your car is in good condition and you have basic knowledge of the roads, they may not always be easy-going.

Whether you take in the snow-capped hills or the wooded hollows, there is something special here waiting to be discovered as you wheel along this spectacular landscape. 


All in all, West Virginia is a great place for a scenic drive. The diverse landscape of rolling hills, rivers, and mountains makes it the ideal spot for an adventure behind the wheel.

The abundance of activities from hiking to skiing make it a worthy destination for road trippers looking for something off the beaten path.

Plus it has its own unique culture, history, and customs that are sure to delight travelers who take the time to explore.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, look no further than West Virginia – its picturesque views will surely take your breath away.