Take a quiet drive through the Alleghenys to see sweeping vistas, rock formations, and deep, dark caves.
Situated in northeast Pendleton County, Germany Valley is one of the most picturesque locations in the state. Known for its extensive cave system, with dozens of caves documented, it was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 by the National Park Service. This 10-mile-long valley is named for the German families who first settled here.
North Fork Mountain
One of the best hikes in the East is the North Fork Mountain Trail. Tabletop rock outcroppings overlook the valley and provide as perfect a sunset vantage point as you’ll find anywhere.
Pike Knob Preserve
Carry a topographical map with you while you enjoy some of the best views of the state at The Nature Conservancy’s Pike Knob, a 1,600-acre preserve. Make sure your four-to-five-hour round-trip hike includes the mountaintop pasture called Nelson Sods. Open Monday-Friday. nature.org
Germany Valley Overlook Cabins
Enjoy unparalleled views of Germany Valley, Spruce Knob, Dolly Sods, and the eastern slopes of the Allegheny Mountains at these charming, self-catered log cabins. germanyvalleycabins.com
You might already know Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia, towering above the rest of the state’s terrain at nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. But it’s also the tallest peak in the Allegheny range. Travel to the top by car on Forest Road 112. Once there, a quick walk on the Whispering Spruce Trail offers many panoramic views over its half-mile course.
Nelson Rocks Outdoor Center
This privately owned nature preserve encompassing 145 acres, including the monolithic fins of Nelson Rocks, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Climb the via ferrata or try your hand at ziplining. nelsonrocks.org
Seneca Caverns is home to the oldest recorded cave in the state. The caverns include two caves available for tours, where visitors can travel 165 feet below the entrance on cement steps or don a helmet and go wild caving with a guide. senecacaverns.com
written by Nikki Bowman | photographed by Carla Witt Ford