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See the Best of West Virginia

On the Midland Trail Scenic Byway

A trip across West Virginia’s 180-mile Midland Trail will uncover history, mystery, some wild rides, and beautiful scenery. The whole family will enjoy discovering everything the Midland Trail has to offer. Watch for the blue and white mile marker signs to keep oriented along the way. It can take up to two weeks to explore everything on this itinerary, and it will be well worth the time!

Kenova – Mile 0
Start your adventure at mile marker 0 in Kenova, on the West Virginia – Kentucky – Ohio border. Cool off in the summer with a dip at Dreamland Pool, one of West Virginia’s oldest public swimming pools and former home to big band performances by Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and the like. Follow up with a milkshake and a West Virginia-style hot dog at 1929-era Griffi th and Feil Drug’s Old Fashioned Soda Fountain on Chestnut Street.

Camden Park – Mile 4
The whole family will enjoy this 109-year-old amusement park offering over 30 rides and attractions, including Kiddieland, a historic old-time wooden roller coaster, and a log flume.

Old Central City – Mile 7
Spend a day in Old Central City, a historic manufacturing town later annexed by the City of Huntington. Over a dozen antique shops, a farmer’s market, and fi ve unique museums – including the Museum of Radio and Technology, the J. Taylor Auto Collection, and Heritage Farm Museum and Village – offer plenty to explore, and Heritage Farm also offers a unique twist on bed and breakfasts.

Milton – Mile 27
At Blenko Glass, watch skilled craftsmen create beautiful colored glass pitchers, vases, and more using the 1,000-year-old tradition of hand-blowing. Take home a piece from the gift shop as a memento of the experience.

Hurricane – Mile 34
In Hurricane, visit the Caboose Museum and see a 77” Indian petroglyph bearing the image of the “Water Monster’s Daughter.” Then browse Main Street’s specialty shops, located in restored historic homes. Take a break and enjoy “high tea” at Ferguson Tea Room and Root Cellar Herbs.

St. Albans – Mile 45
From St. Albans, put your raft or canoe in the Coal River and enjoy a leisurely trip through the wilderness. Upon returning to town, stretch your legs with a tour of the St. Albans Historic District. The self-guided walking tour features 26 properties, including homes built in the early 19th century, several decades before West Virginia became a state.

South Charleston – Mile 53
Stop to visit the Adena Mound, located downtown on D Street near several antique shops. Excavated by the Smithsonian Institute in 1833, it still stands as evidence of life in the valley 25 centuries ago. The second-largest mound in the state, 13 complete skeletons and artifacts were recovered when it was excavated. Also, be sure to visit Southridge, where the kids can enjoy diversions at the Southridge GrandPrix Family Fun Center.

Charleston – Mile 56-59
West Virginia’s capital city, Charleston has much to offer. Take your time and spend one or two days here. Downtown, stroll along Capitol Street’s tree-lined brick sidewalks and explore the unique shops and eateries. Visit Taylor Books for a hand-made specialty coffee drink, and pick up a piece of local artwork in the Annex Gallery. For more tasty treats, stop in at Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream across the street, or head north to the Capitol Market, where fresh vegetables, artisan chocolates hand-crafted in West Virginia, books by local authors, and much more can be found.

Take the kids to the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences to experience the ElectricSky Theater and the Avampato Discovery Museum, or, leave them behind and take time to enjoy the art gallery and a concert by the West Virginia Symphony. If you have time, spend an evening at a West Virginia Power baseball game.

At the Capitol Complex, be sure to take a tour of the grand capitol building with its gleaming gold and blue dome, the stately Executive Mansion, and the Cultural Center, where Mountain Stage is recorded on Sunday nights. Pick from a large selection of national hotel chains, or stay the night at the Brass Pineapple Bed and Breakfast for a cozier atmosphere.

Malden – Mile 64
Be sure to schedule a visit in Malden, boyhood home of Booker T. Washington. See a replica of his childhood cabin and the African Zion Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School.

Cedar Grove – Mile 76
Established in 1774, Cedar Grove was the original terminus to the Midland Trail, when the road was commissioned by George Washington. Take time to visit Virginia’s Chapel and the Old Tompkins Mansion, both built in the mid-19th century.

Kanawha Falls and Glen Ferris Inn – Mile 93
Take a break to go fi shing at Kanawha Falls, and watch the water cascade over the rocks. Or, stay the night and enjoy the view from inside the dining room of the 1839 Glen Ferris Inn.

Gauley Bridge – Mile 95
Take a moment to view the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers as they join to form the Great Kanawha River. See the piers remaining from a bridge burnt by Civil War soldiers. Also, stop in at Evan Scent Candles to pick up a handmade candle. As you leave Gauley Bridge, look for Cathedral Falls pouring over a high granite wall on the left side of the road. Then, make sure everyone’s seatbelts are fastened and prepare to test your driving skills on the back-to-back curves of Gauley Mountain.

Chimney Corner – Mile 97
Grab a bite to eat and enjoy traditional bluegrass music at Chimney Corner Café. Then stop by the Country Store to take home an authentic West Virginia keepsake.

Mystery Hole – Mile 100
A trip along the Midland Trail is not complete without taking time to “Be Shocked and Amazed” at the Trail’s renowned tourist trap – oops, roadside attraction – the Mystery Hole. Landmarked by a Volkswagen protruding from a Quonset hut, the Mystery Hole allegedly sits over a hole in the ground where the law of gravity does not apply. Balls roll uphill. Chairs sit halfway up a wall. Kids and adults alike are awed.

Ansted and Hawks Nest State Park – Mile 104
From Ansted, walk 2.5 miles down the Ansted-Hawks Nest rail trail to the bottom of the New River Gorge, and take a jet boat ride to see the Gorge from the water. Then, take the Gorge Tram back up to Ansted, and watch salsa being made at Blue Smoke Salsa. See the Page-Vawter House for an example of how area coal barons once lived.

Hico Side Trip – Mile 110
At Hico, where U.S. Route 19 intersects the Midland Trail, stop at the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center just south of the Midland Trail to take in the renowned New River Gorge Bridge, the second-longest arch span bridge in the world and the location of the largest extreme sports event in the world, where BASE jumping is allowed once a year on Bridge Day. Then, take the rest of the day to travel south for a wild ride on West Virginia’s famous New River white water. Stay the night at the campsites located at the raft company. Eat dinner at Cathedral Café, a converted church where fresh wraps and organic food are always available. The next day, head north on 19 to Summersville Lake for a more relaxing water experience. Rent a boat to explore this man-made lake, and try your hand fi shing for bass, catfish, or trout. In the evening, the whole family will love watching exotic animals while dining at the Feedbox Saloon. Spend the night at the Good Evening Ranch.

Babcock State Park – Mile 120
Take a quick trip to see the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, one of the most photographed spots in West Virginia, where cornmeal is freshly ground and available for purchase.

Lewisburg – Mile 162
Spend the rest of the morning browsing the many antique and art and craft shops in Lewisburg, one of “the best small towns in America.” Grab lunch at Stardust Cafe, then head out to Lost World Caverns to experience the wonder of Midland Trail’s underground landscape. Take a 4-hour, guided wild cave tour – and plan to get muddy! Spend the night at the (possibly haunted) 1929 General Lewis Inn, located on the site of an 1862 Civil War Battle.

White Sulphur Springs – Mile 172
Round out your trip with a visit to the four-star Greenbrier resort, host to distinguished guests since 1778. Play a round of golf or croquet, enjoy a retreat at the spa, or just explore the beautiful grounds and décor designed by Dorothy Draper. Be sure to tour The Bunker, once a top-secret government facility. Then, visit nearby White Sulphur Springs’ downtown main street, and stay the night at The Old White Inn.
Blue and White Mile Marker Signs line the Trail
Entrance to Blenko Glass
Capitol Street with a kiss of snow
Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences
Booker T. Washington
Hawks Nest State Park
Bridge Day BASE Jumper
Lost World Caverns