An area with a rich coal history reinvents itself as an outdoor adventure destination.
Photographed by Nikki Bowman Mills
Wyoming is a county full of good-natured, hard-working people all connected by far fewer than six degrees of separation from coal. Most households can name relatives on both hands who worked in the mines when coal was king in these parts. But these days, the county and region are busy reinventing themselves and luring millions of visitors each year to a new outdoor adventure destination.
No visit here is complete without a scramble up to the Castle Rock terrace. Stay a while and soak up the majestic views of the Guyandotte River below, and peer down on the community of Pineville anchored by its stately County Courthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 130-foot, 200-million-year-old rock formation served as a waypoint for early explorers in the 1700s, who mused that its sheer cliffs reminded them of castles back home. It remains a central part of the county’s identity today.
Aside from a quick clamber up Castle Rock, there are plenty more climbing routes and places for exploration. It’s also becoming a destination for off-road trail riding and world-class fishing. You can even lace up your boots to log a few miles on the newest long-distance trail in the country—The Great Eastern Trail—traversing 1,600 miles through the Appalachian Mountains and right through the heart of Wyoming County. If you love breathing in the fresh, mountain air and spending any time you can outside, a visit to this part of the Mountain State should make your summer bucket list.
The Pinnacle Drive Inn in Pineville is best known for its deep fried Turkey Salad Sub, Giant Cheeseburger, and hot dogs. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, pop into Ole Jose Grill and Cantina, or try a slice of pizza from Gino’s of Oceana, a local favorite with a large menu sure to please anyone in the group.
Wyoming County is home to a state park resort where you can easily hike deep into the woods for five-star views of waterfalls. Twin Falls Resort State Park’s 4,000 acres feature a 47-room mountaintop lodge with modern amenities, 14 cabins tucked away in the forested hillside, and 50 campsites open year ’round. The resort’s restaurant also serves three meals a day.
Take your ATV or 4×4 for an off-road adventure on the Outlaw Trails. Fish the Guyandotte River or R.D. Bailey Lake for bass, walleye, or channel catfish, and take heed because you might just snag an elusive muskie on the end of your hook. Or try for a birdie on the 18-hole golf course at Twin Falls Resort State Park.