OUR RIVERS ARE IMPORTANT PATHWAYS THAT CONNECT OUR PAST TO OUR FUTURE. FLOAT WITH US AS WE PAY HOMAGE TO SOME OF OUR MAJESTIC WATERWAYS AND THE TOWNS THAT EMBRACE THEM.
The Greenbrier takes a long, circuitous south-southwest path along the foothills of the Alleghenies, anchoring highland logging and rail towns like Cass and Marlinton, then turns west and broadens toward the New. The longest fully free-flowing river in the Eastern U.S., the Greenbrier is a favorite fishing and paddling destination, and the former railway is now the popular Greenbrier River Trail.
The little town of Marlinton, population today under 1,000, was the regional hub of the lumber industry in the early 20th century. It was such a booming railroad town that it had an opera house visited by performers from as far away as New York City. That restored 250-seat opera house is now a proud landmark in the seat of Pocahontas County. Marlinton is home to the Great Greenbrier River Race, an annual last-Saturday-in-April triathlon consisting of a 3-mile run on the Greenbrier River Trail, four miles down the Greenbrier River by kayak or canoe, and a 10-mile bike ride—a race that drew more than 300 participants in 2022.
Just off the river, Lewisburg is located in the broad bend where the river begins to flow more westerly. It’s a charming arts town, a hub for settler and military history, and a foodie mecca. All of that makes it a hospitable base for day trips. Boating on the Greenbrier is best in spring and earlier summer, but you can enjoy the river by biking the trail alongside it any time the weather’s nice. Multiple services provide boat and bike shuttles so you can float or bike the sections of your choice without hassle. For a Greenbrier River fishing excursion with experienced guides, contact Outdoor Adventures in White Sulphur Springs.
Historic Alderson lies gracefully on an especially scenic stretch of the Greenbrier River. Visit the striking railroad depot, then cross the pedestrian Alderson Memorial Bridge and walk up Monroe Street to see lovely homes from an earlier time. This idyllic little town stages one of the oldest and grandest Fourth of July celebrations in the state. It’s easy to be mesmerized by the river here, but the view is even better from on the water. Head to Greenbrier River Campground, Cabins & River Trips, less than five miles upriver, for boat rentals as well as livery and shuttle services for tubing and for paddling on class I to class III whitewater.
Once dominated by its status as a bustling regional railyard for the Chesapeake & Ohio, Hinton has an enviable geography: It sits where, just a few miles apart, the picturesque Bluestone and Greenbrier rivers flow into the New River. The New is also dammed for flood control just above Hinton to form Bluestone Lake, making the town an excellent jumping-off point for all kinds of lake and river recreation. For an affordable right-beside-the-Greenbrier stay, book a room at River’s Edge Inn just east of town. Take West Virginia Route 3 east for a scenic drive that follows the wide lower Greenbrier for much of the 20 miles to Alderson.