The trees are alight with fiery color all across Southern WV! These rolling mountains are covered in
canopy, and it’s burning with reds, oranges and yellows for fall.
All of this area is drenched in fall beauty, but here are some of the top ways to travel and see the leaves.
Midland Trail Scenic Highway
Midland Trail, or US Route 60, runs 180 miles from Kenova (just outside of Huntington) to White Sulphur Springs, winding through the mountains. The road is dotted with scenic stops and overlooks, so you can see the foliage from several different places. There’s a vista near the New River Gorge (the Grand Canyon of the East) in Hawk’s Nest State Park, right outside of Ansted, that is one of the prettiest views in the whole state. All sorts of waterfalls tumble down the tree-lined cliffisides, from the tall tumble of Cathedral Falls, or the wide flow of Kanawha Falls.
New River Gorge Bridge
One of the top stops along the Midland Trail will let you get an overview of the New River that cuts through the mountains of the New River Gorge, with the lush trees rising from its banks. The New River Gorge Bridge, a state icon and architectural marvel, is open for BridgeWalk tours, where guests can scale the catwalk underneath to get an aerial look at the Gorge.
One day a year (the third Saturday in October), the top of the bridge is open to pedestrians, and an extra spot of color gets added to the scene: the rainbow of parachutes from BASE jumpers leaping from the top for Bridge Day. This annual event brings jumpers and spectators from around the world.
Blur those burning hues together as you sweep through them! Take a zipline tour through the treetops. Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park has a zipline course with side-by-side lines, so you can race a partner. ACE Adventure Resort also has a multi-line course with beautiful treescapes. Take a nature tour with zips and sky bridges on Treetops Canopy Tours, or get an overview of the mountainsides from the East Coast’s longest Zipline, the Adrenaline, on a Gravity Zipline Tour.
New River Train Excursions
You can see the beauty of the Gorge, but also get a glimpse of another charming part of the state. All aboard the rail cars to chug down the tracks. The New River Train Excursions leave from Huntington, WV, and snake along the old main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad through the New River Gorge to Hinton, WV, an old-fashioned rail town.
Not only will you get beautiful scenes of the Gorge in the peak of its fall blaze, you will also get to explore Hinton’s Railroad Days festival, where you can learn about the rail history and browse local crafters’ booths. This train trips book in advance but according to the website there are a few seats left on select days.
Paint Creek Scenic Trail (Drive)
Another beautiful scenic drive, with several stops along Paint Creek Scenic Trail’s 44 miles that help tell the story of the area’s history. Love the natural beauty of the leaves? Try contrasting them against the man-made beauty of WV, from ornate architecture of the 1800′s to the deteriorating remains of early coal camps.
The Sweenysburg Trestle towers above, cutting through the fall leaves. The Mahan Superintendent’s House, built as coal official’s home, sits as a lavish example of the inequality of coal workers amongst its forested backdrop. There are also waterfalls and unique natural formations to stop and enjoy.
Climb aboard an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle, or “4-wheeler”) and rip through the trails. Grab a steed and trot the paths. Pedal your mountain bike through the forests. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails have many uses, and they’ll all give you a great chance to explore under the burning treetops above.
The Castle Rock trail head, part of the Pinnacle Creek Trail, will set you off on one of the most scenic trails of the entire system.
Appalachian Trail & Allegheny Trail
There are so many other ways to enjoy Southern West Virginia’s fall foliage. Contact us to learn more about fall trips and points in the area.
What do you think is the best way, or spot, to see the fall scenery?
It’s the time of year for a little fear! Bring the family along to Southern WV for some spooky fun.
There are frights for the kids, and some for the adults as well. Gather up your bravery and bravado, and face Southern WV’s spirits at these Halloween events.
Haunted History Tour
Lewisburg (Oct. 25)
Escape the haunted museum halls, and head out into the cemeteries of Lewisburg. Learn what lurks in the graves… and what’s wandered out of them. Famous tales of the spirits of the Greenbrier Valley, as well as lesser-known tales of lingering ghosts.
Whipple Company Store, Scarbro (Oct 25 & 26)
This is NOT a haunted house, this is an historic, last of it’s kind, company store that is full of stories of life, death, tears and tragedy. Hear the stories, explore the dark corners and hidden spaces and go on your own paranormal investigation . . Must be 21.
Haunted BridgeWalk Catwalk, Fayetteville (Oct. 25-Oct. 27)
As if scaling the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge, 876 feet in the air, weren’t scary enough! The large metal rods of the bridge will be casting shadows across the catwalk, cloaking the creatures lurking along the path. You’ll be fastened in to a safety system so you won’t fall, but that won’t save you from the spooks and scares awaiting you!
The Haunted Trail - Little Beaver State Park in Beckley (Oct. 18-31)
Great fun for all ages, this tour will include ghosts and goblins and other creatures of the night slinking through the park as you walk the path.
Lake Stephens Haunted Trail (Oct 25 – 31)
For a scary good time visit this jump/scare haunted trail. $5 for Adults and $3 for kids 5-12. Open Oct 25, 26 and 31 from 7pm to 11pm and Oct 27-30th from 7pm to 10pm.
Bramwell Ghost Walk - Bramwell (4th Saturday in October)
Take a tour of Historic Bramwell, once the home of more wealthy coal barons than anywhere else in the country. Their lavish town will be visited by ghostly characters, leading guest through the play-like tour that chronicles Bramwell’s history. Actors will speak for the spirits of the town’s past, recreating the thriving millionaire’s hub that it once was.
Hillbilly Horror - Bluefield (Every Friday & Saturday in October & Halloween! )
The artisans of Gary Bowling’s House of Art have funneled their talents into creating spooky sets, bringing ghoulish characters to life and building an intricate haunted house that weaves through city hall’s jail cell. Are you brave enough to go behind bars with the spooks on the loose?
More Halloween Fun
Fright Nights - Glade Springs Resort in Daniels (October 25, 26 and 31)
Race through the Booger monster’s twisted fairy tale lands, the Grim Forest, storybook homes and Wild and Wicked Wonderland. If you make it, try to find your way out of the 3D Haunted Circus as the floors, doors and walls move around you. But there are more obstacles before you’re safe: strap on your laser suit to battle zombies in laser tag, and leap aboard the haunted hayride.
Want something for the kids? Glade Springs has a one-day “N0-Scare- Trick or Treat Festival” for the kids to travel through the haunted trail and the 3D house, but with monsters that give out sweets and treats instead of tricks and frights.
Dracula: A Rock Opera - Greenbrier Valley Theater in Lewisburg (Oct. 25, 26, 31, Nov. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16)
See Bram Stoker’s classic come to life in a riveting and rocking way. If the forever cursed blood baron, the one and only Dracula, doesn’t get your heart racing, the upbeat score of the show will.
Tailgate Halloween - Beckley, WV (Oct. 26)
Take the kiddos out for treats from more than 40 local businesses for a safe trick-or-treat night, away from traffic, sponsored by the Youth Museum.
3rd Annual Spooktacular Family Fun Fest - YMCA of Southern WV (Oct. 26)
Bring the whole family and get active in this Halloween gameroom. It’s all about having a healthy Halloween, so no sugary candy, but the kids can earn way cooler prizes for playing.
Which Southern WV haunt are you and your family going to face?
The silhouette of long-forgotten Ferris wheel stands against the bony branches of bare trees. Beside it, the looming
structure of a tier, arms reaching out into the open field, deteriorated wooden swings dangling from each pole. There is no wind, but the chains rattle lightly as one of the seats creaks calmly, smoothly back and forth…
According to local lore, that’s one of many ghostly spirits still at play in the abandoned, haunted Lake Shawnee Amusement Park near Princeton, WV.
The young girl who died on the swings still appears to many park visitors.
Back in the park’s heyday, the little girl, in her pink ruffled dress, had boarded the circling swing set. But as she swooped around, a truck backed into the path of the swing.
The impact killed her, but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying Lake Shawnee.
She wasn’t the only lost soul lingering among the scattered attractions you can still find in the park— the swings that still rattle, the old hot dog stand still tended to by ghostly figures, and that same seat on the ferris wheel where you’ll swear you see a man sitting. One glance at the ride’s rust-blanketed hinges and weed-enveloped bars should tell you you must have imagined it; it’s no longer open for passengers. And the position of the opened leg locks would make it, well, impossible.
And then there are the souls whose last rides are no longer standing, but somehow seem to remain tethered to Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. Another young boy, left to play by his mother, was found drowned in the pool, his arm stuck in the drain. The pool was filled shortly after, but you can still hear the laughter of lost children echo through the park.
The owner of the property claims the park’s rides took at least 6 lives. It is a tragic fact of life that accidents happen from time to time.
But were the deaths just a coincidence?
Or perhaps a curse? It turns out, there is a whole ‘nother layer of spiritual unrest at the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. The site was built over the bones of the Native American cultures that had once roamed its fields. An archaeological dig uncovered 13 bodies… mostly of children.
The dig also confirmed that the site was a long-time settlement for the Native Americans. Perhaps that describes the chanting— yet another regular creepy occurrence at the amusement park.
The documented, tragic history of the site dates back even before the amusement park. A historic marker just down the
road commemorates three more murdered children. The first European settler to the area, Mitchell Clay, returned home to find his son slain and scalped by Native Americans, alongside his murdered daughter. His third son, the youngest, was nowhere to be found.
Mitchell took off in pursuit, but he was too late to save his son. The tribe had burned him at the stake.
Strange that an amusement park would eventually lay on the grounds that seem, historically, to be particularly inhospitable to children.
But so the tale goes. The area has been explored by many paranormal investigators, and featured on television shows like Discovery Channel’s “GhostLab,” Travel Channel’s “The Most Terrifying Places in America,” and ABC Family’s “The Ten Most Curious Places in the World.”
Want to see these hauntings for yourself? You can take haunted tours of the site, and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of an apparition watching from the ferris wheel.
Set up your own stroll through the haunted amusement park by calling 304-487-1819.