They don’t call it the Mountain State for nothing. In addition to other ranges in West Virginia, The Appalachians and the Allegheny Mountains run through this state, providing vacationers with a treasure trove of camping and opportunities for outdoor fun. Visitors can expect to be greeted with that famous Southern hospitality, so kick your shoes off, and make yourselves at home, because that’s where you are – at your home away from home.
Your first one tank trip stop of Peterstown is a perfect place to set up camp and breathe some fresh air free from the rat race of city life. This is farm territory, so expect to be treated to some spectacular views of wide-open spaces consisting of farmland, grazing fields, and some quaint farmhouses. Keep your eyes peeled for the area’s covered bridges, some of which date back to before the turn of the 20th century. This area has remained largely undiscovered, so if you’re looking for a quiet place to de-stress and hear yourself think, you might want to give this town a try.
Once you’re able to tear yourself away from Peterstown’s serenity, point the rig north on the US-219 and drive through 36 miles’ worth of some of the greenest land you’ll see this side of Ireland, then pull into White Sulphur Springs. This town’s mineral springs have been renowned for their restorative powers since the late 18th century. Word of this “miracle” traveled and now White Sulphur Springs has established itself as a thriving spa community. West Virginia camping is not just about the waters, though: nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, it’s a great place to go hiking, fishing, or whitewater rafting. While you’re here, take a tour of the opulent Greenbrier Hotel, which was built in the early 1900s. Ask them if you can see the secret bunker beneath the hotel, which was built in 1961 to house members of Congress in the event of an atomic war (hmm…odd place for that, don’t you think?). White Sulphur Springs is also the home of the fascinating Organ Cave, discovered in the 1700s. Today, visitors can tour this subterranean ecology, complete with stalactites and stalagmites – there’s even evidence that Confederate soldiers used the caves as a hideout and supply station. Thrill seekers can rappel down walls or go rock climbing, and for that special jolt of adrenaline, hook yourself to a zip line and see the woods while scooting through the treetops at break-neck speeds! Woohoo! The Lost World Caverns in nearby Lewiston are also a treat for the spelunkers among you; these caves tunnel more than 100 feet below the surface, and you can either take advantage of the guided tours or just take your time and follow your own pace. And don’t worry; everything is clearly marked, so there’s no danger of actually getting lost. You’ll see such fascinating formations as a 30-ton compound stalactite and a 28-foot stalagmite; there’s even a fossilized prehistoric cave bear on display in the Dinosaur Museum!
Returning to the surface world, drive 60 miles further north on the US-219 until you come to Cass, which is home to the Cass Scenic Railroad. This line was built in 1901 and served to haul lumber. Today, a carefully restored locomotive hauls passenger cars along a route leading through the forests and up a winding mountain route to the peak of Bald Knob. The trip lasts a bit over 4 hours, but is well worth it – especially the view from the top of the 4,700-foot peak of Bald Knob!
From Cass, it’s another 54 miles north on the US-219 until you come to your last stop on this one tank trip, the town of Elkins. This is where you’ll find Spruce Knob Mountain, the highest peak in the whole of West Virginia. This is some of the most beautiful territories in the state and a great place to make camp for a few days. You can fish all day, dine on your catch, then fall asleep under the stars, letting Mother Nature sing you a lullaby made up of forest sounds.
Once you experience the majesty of West Virginia camping, you might just want to call it home.