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West Virginia Scenic Drives: Midland Trail

        Adventure | South

Highlights of the Midland Trail
This Civil War Museum is just one of the fascinating historical sites you'll encounter as you travel West Virginia's Midland Trail.
This Civil War Museum is just one of the fascinating historical sites you'll encounter as you travel West Virginia's Midland Trail.

West Virginia's Midland Trail is a scenic drive through the rolling farms of Greenbrier County and the mountains of Fayette County. Numerous pull-offs and scenic overlooks provide spectacular vistas in all seasons, from the dogwood-jeweled forests of the spring to the multicolored foliage of the fall. The scenic beauty of waterfalls and the New River Gorge are classic Appalachia.

At the Kanawha County end of the trail, the road follows the river. Here the industrial heritage is visible in many places. At the trail's start, the state capitol and the area around it provide a parklike setting. Its gold dome shining with the fire of the sunset is a picture worth seeing.

Before the interstate system crisscrossed the country, the Midland Trail was a major thoroughfare in West Virginia. Here are some of the highlights.

: Begin your journey at Charleston, the capital of West Virginia. The town is filled to the brim with historic landmarks.

West Virginia State Capitol Complex: The complex includes the capitol with its marble rotunda containing a splendid two-ton chandelier. The complex also has several statues and fountains, a veterans' memorial, a museum, the Governor's Mansion, and the antebellum Holly Grove home.

Hawks Nest State Park: At Hawks Nest State Park visitors can ride the tram 876 feet to the base of the New River Gorge. The park also features a museum, lodging, scenic dining, and four trails.

: Continuing east on U.S. 60 visitors come to the town of Ansted. Attractions include the gravesite of Julia Neale Jackson, mother of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson; Halfway House, a former tavern on the Kanawha Turnpike and headquarters of the Chicago Dragoons during the Civil War; and African-American Heritage Family Tree Museum.

Sam Black United Methodist Church: Farther east near the junction with I-64 is this church, built in 1901. Reverend Sam Black was a Methodist circuit rider for nearly 50 years.

Lost World Caverns: North of Lewisburg are the Lost World Caverns, featuring the nation's largest compound stalactite, the 30-ton "Snowy Chandelier." The Lost World Caverns Visitors Center and Natural History Museum features the largest collection of dinosaur and fossil replicas in West Virginia.

: The historic town of Lewisburg has enough attractions, including a 235-acre historic downtown district, to keep visitors busy for several days.

White Sulphur Springs: The climax of the trip is the resort town of White Sulphur Springs. Among many highlights is the Oakhurst Links. Duffers at Oakhurst play the course just as golfers did in 1884.

The Greenbrier Hotel Resort: The Greenrbier Hotel Resort housed a secret until 1992. Buried 720 feet into the hillside specifically to accommodate the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in case of a nuclear attack is a bunker. Visitors are encouraged to tour the facility. The Greenbrier Hotel Resort offers a multitude of activities and attractions.

Guided tours of the elegant interior design and architecture are offered year round; the Presidents Museum details the memorable moments from the visits of 26 U.S. Presidents; tours give a glimpse into the history as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the resort.

The Midland Trail runs through the heart of West Virginia, passing through towns and countryside reminiscent of a bygone day.

Find more useful information related to West Virginia's Midland Trail:

  • West Virginia Scenic Drives: The Midland Trail is just one of the scenic byways in West Virginia. Check out the others.
  • Ansted, Charleston, Lewisburg, White Sulphur Springs: Find out what there is to do in these cities along the Midland Trail.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond West Virginia? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.
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