West Virginia Scenic Drives: Highland Scenic Highway

Highlights of the Highland Scenic Highway

The views along West Virginia's Highland Scenic Highway include mountains, waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and forests.
The views along West Virginia's Highland Scenic Highway include mountains, waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and forests.

In addition to the wetlands, wilderness, and mountainous terrain, West Virginia's Highland Scenic Highway also offers many scenic points of interest that will enchant visitors. For example, the three waterfalls at the Falls of Hills Creek are 20 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet in height. Visitors can inspect the falls up close by following a trail three-quarters of a mile.

"Scenic" is the key word when traveling along this route. A natural wonder, the highlights of the trip are listed here.

Richwood: Begin your journey in the town of Richwood. Originally known as Cherry Tree Bottoms, it was a "company town" of the Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company. Today this is the place to find local outfitters and guides to prepare for a rigorous adventure in the Monongahela National Forest or simply to obtain maps.

Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area: The Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area, a 114-acre area, contains three waterfalls. The first 1,700 feet of trail is a paved, wheelchair-accessible path to the upper falls viewing platform. The rest of the trail is more demanding with stairways and boardwalks leading to the lower falls.

Cranberry Mountain Nature Center: This nature center offers information about the Monongahela National Forest and other nearby attractions. An exhibit hall and audiovisual programs provide interpretation of forest ecosystems and local history.

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area: Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is an ecological anomaly. The four glades, or bogs, contain plant life normally found 500 miles north. Many of the distinctive plant species found here are descendents of plants that were forced south by the glaciers that covered Canada and the northern United States about 10,000 years ago. The Cranberry Glades is the southernmost part of the migration, making this area biologically unique.

Cranberry Wilderness: Not suitable for homesteading but quite appealing to the Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company, the area now known as Cranberry Wilderness was completely logged out by 1930. The U.S. Forest Service purchased the land in 1934. Cranberry Wilderness is 35,864 acres and has approximately 60 miles of trails, many of which follow old railroad grades, logging roads, or Forest Service roads.

The Highland Scenic Highway cuts through wildflowers and forests with frequent viewpoints and recreational opportunities. This is the route for every traveler -- with fishing, hiking, the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, camping, colorful autumn foliage, and Cranberry Glades Botanical Area.

Find more useful information related to West Virginia's Highland Scenic Highway:

  • West Virginia Scenic Drives: The Highland Scenic Highway is just one of the scenic byways in West Virginia. Check out the others.
  • Hillsboro, Marlinton: Find out what there is to do in these towns along the Highland Scenic Highway.
  • 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.