Where to Find the Best Mountain Views in West Virginia

Coopers Rock State Forest
Coopers Rock State Forest | © Brian Powell / Flickr
Photo of Kristina Gaddy
5 April 2018

You won’t have to look hard to find amazing views of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains in West Virginia; it is the Mountain State, after all. Just driving on highways that criss-cross the state, such as I-77, I-79, and I-64, provides broad landscape views, and when you get off the main roads, the vistas are even better. Here are nine places where you’ll find the most spectacular mountain views in the state.

Coopers Rock State Forest

coopers rock overlook
Overlook Platform at Coopers Rock, WV | © Javcon117* / Flickr
Located just 30 minutes east of Morgantown, West Virginia, Coopers Rock State Forest is packed with overlooks of the Cheat River and Cheat River Gorge. If you just want a quick view, pull up to the easily accessible main overlook platform. If you have more time to spend, consider going on a day hike to the Raven Rocks Overlook or doing some rock climbing to get a unique view. The park also offers camping and has playgrounds and picnic tables.

Harpers Ferry

Museum, Natural Feature
harpers ferry
Harpers Ferry | © Jacob Fincher / Flickr

At the juncture of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle is the historic town of Harpers Ferry. Known for John Brown’s raid and action during the Civil War, the surrounding town is a perfect place to take in views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cross over the Potomac River to Maryland, and you’ll get great river scenery biking along the C&O Canal Path. Or hike up to Maryland Heights for a spectacular view of where the rivers meet and Harpers Ferry.

Spruce Knob

Natural Feature
Spruce Knob, West Virginia | © RonEskins / Flickr

Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia and a perfect place to look out over the vast Monongahela National Forest. You can drive all the way up to the lookout tower, which is faster than hiking, but it is a long, winding road up. Going in the fall when the forest erupts in reds, oranges, and yellows makes for a truly spectacular view.

Seneca Rocks

Natural Feature
Tip of Seneca Rock | © Anntsy / Flickr

Seneca Rocks is very close to Spruce Knob, and even the Visitor Center is a great place to look up at the unusual rock formation. This area is one of the highlights of the Monongahela National Forest, and you can either hike your way to the top and look out over the mountains still on the eastern side of the Continental Divide or check out one of the local climbing schools and rock climb your way to the top.

Rich Mountain Battlefield

Battle of Rich Mountain - Historical Marker | © Brian M. Powell / WikiCommons

Just south of Elkins, West Virginia, in the town of Beverly, you’ll find Rich Mountain. The site of a Civil War battle, the mountain gives context to the role that the Allegheny Mountains played in the early days of the Civil War. The town is also home to the Beverly Heritage Center, where you can learn more about the frontier life in the then-state of Virginia and the Staunton-Parkersburg turnpike that connected the Shenandoah Valley with Ohio.

Cass Scenic Railroad

cass scenic railroad
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park | © Sonja / Flickr

At Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, you can ride a historic, restored steam engine up into the mountains. The surrounding mountains were once clear-cut by loggers, providing fuel and building material for the Industrial Revolution in the early 1900s. The train winds its way to the state’s third-highest peak, Bald Knob, and along the way, you’ll get to have scenic views of the Greenbrier River Valley.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

canaan valley national wildlife refuge west virginia
Late winter sunrise at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge | © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr

While Canaan Valley is a valley, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has great views of the mountains that surround the very high-elevation valley. The refuge has over 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and borders the Monongahela National Forest, which also offers beautiful panoramas from the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park | © Sonja / Flickr

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park commemorates the Civil War battle fought on the mountain. The park has a history museum, as well as hiking trails, but one of the highlights of the park is the viewing tower (accessible by car), where you can look out over the Allegheny Mountains.

The Canyon Rim Visitor Center

New River Gorge
New River Gorge Bridge, WV | © bobistraveling / Flickr

The Canyon Rim Visitor Center is a part of the New River Gorge National River Area, both of which offer some of the best views in southern West Virginia. The New River Gorge Bridge might be the most photographed landscape in the state, and the Visitor Center offers great scenes of the bridge and canyon. You can also hike the trails along either side of the gorge for great photo opportunities. There are also lots of outfitters who will take you white-water rafting down the river for an even more unique experience to view this amazing natural feature.

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