Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 Fun Things to Do in West Virginia in the Fall


It's no secret that I love my home state of West Virginia.  I love to showcase the state's resilient people, culture, and rugged, natural beauty.  Although I love the Mountain State in every season, Autumn is my absolute favorite time in West Virginia.

There is no shortage of festivals and activities that people can enjoy in West Virginia during the fall, but I've chosen to only highlight five here.  (And these are in no particular order, by the way.)
   
Huntington, WV





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Throughout the fall, the New River Train offers riders the chance to travel through the scenic New River Gorge and take in the vibrant, explosion of color along the 300 mile roundtrip journey from Huntington, WV to Hinton, WV and back.

Keep in mind that the New River Train only runs on select weekends in mid and late October and departures typically sell out well in advance.


Cass, WV


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Nestled in the mountains of eastern West Virginia, a ride on the Cass Scenic Railroad transports riders back in time to a bygone era when steam powered locomotives where the norm.

Riders have an option of two different excursions:  the 2-hour, 4 mile roundtrip excursion to Whittaker Station and the 4.5 hour, 22 mile roundtrip journey to Bald Knob.  In the fall, riders are treated to spectacular views of the Appalachian mountains all decked out in their autumn splendor.  Keep in mind that riders sit in open air cars, so warm attire and layers are essential. 


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Ansted, WV






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Held annually on the third Saturday in November, Bridge Day is one of the largest extreme sports events in the country.  Bridge Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the completion of the New River Gorge Bridge, the longest single span arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere, is the only day of the year in which pedestrians are allowed on the bridge and when BASE jumping is legal.  Hundreds of BASE jumpers and tens of thousands of spectators attend annually.

In addition to watching BASE jumpers leap from the 876' tall bridge into the gorge, thrill seekers can also sign up for a tandem BASE jump.  For the those seeking activities with less of an adrenaline rush, there are numerous vendors, a 5K race, a car show, a bluegrass festival (Bridge Jam), a chili cook-off, and other activities.  One of the most enjoyable activities is to just take in the wonder of the architectural feat that turned a 45 minute drive into the gorge in order to cross the New River into a drive that is now around one minute, not to mention simply enjoying the wondrous views of the the fall foliage in the gorge.   


White Water Rafting
Fayette and Summers Counties, WV

West Virginia is known for its white water rafting.  There are two world class rivers located in southern West Virginia - the New River and the Gauley River.  

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During the summer and fall, the Lower New offers solid class II-IV rapids.  The fall offers some spectacular views of the autumn foliage.  During spring runoff, however, the river is usually upgraded to a class IV-V, which offers rafters a splashier, bigger water experience.  Trips on the Lower New also give rafters the unique vantage of viewing the iconic New River Gorge Bridge from underneath.

Then, there's the Gauley River, which is known as the Beast of the East.  The Gauley is the most renowned whitewater in West Virginia.  It is always ranked in the top three whitewater rivers in the United States and is consistently considered one of the top 5 in the world.  I, personally, have not rafted the Gauley because it is a more difficult river and requires more rafting skills than I feel I possess.

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The Gauley River is known for its big fall paddling season when water is released from Summersville Dam in order to bring Summersville Lake down to winter level.  During dam release days, the Gauley River offers some of the biggest, baddest whitewater around (consistent class V with over 100 rapids).  Rafting the Gauley during the fall is not for the faint of heart.


Rafting trips also take place on the Gauley during the spring and summer, but the whitewater levels during these times is much more tamer.

*There are numerous rafting companies to chose from, but I would highly recommend Class VI.  I have rafted with them numerous times and I have had nothing but exceptional experiences with them.


Gilbert, WV




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If you are seeking some adventure and don't mind getting a little dirty, this festival may be for you.  Touted as one of the premiere UTV, ATV, and dirt bike riding events in the country, this weekend festival is a must for trail riding enthusiasts.  

In addition to some awesome trail riding on the Hatfield & McCoy trail system, there are other fun events held throughout the weekend such as scavenger hunts, contests, poker runs, and mud pit racing, to name a few.


For more information on things to do in WV, click here.

As always, thanks for stopping by!


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15 comments:

  1. on my first trip to the US, we went to West Virginia for like a day (seriously), just went white water rafting and slept in a camp site and off the next morning. It was insanely fun though, probably the most fun thing we did. I highly doubt I did the Gauley river, none of us had been rafting before. It was super fun and I would totally do it again! I'd love to go back and see more of West Virginia.

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  2. I have never been to West Virginia but it looks like it would be beautiful in the fall. My daughter loves riding trains so the Cass Scenic Railroad would be a must for us. #wanderfulwednesday

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  3. Sometimes I wonder why you live in Kentucky.

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    Replies
    1. One word - job. When I finished grad school, I couldn't find work in WV. I left because I had to.

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    2. I'm fortunate, though, because I can easily drive to WV on any given day if need be. At least it's just a 5-6 hour drive from here to my hometown and not a plane ride away, ya know? And, I must give my adopted state some credit. KY is a pretty place, too. It's just not my "home."

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  4. The foliage is amazing there!

    We used to go to Wine & Jazz at WVU in September when we were just out of college. Always a fun time.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the foliage can be absolutely stunning in WV.

      Sadly, I didn't showcase any things to do in the northern part of the state. I am from the southern part, so I wrote and showcased what I know. LOL!

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  5. Virginia during autumn looks so lovely! I love these indian summer scenes!

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  6. All of these activities look and sound amazing. Anything with a colourful, Autumnal view is a great thing in my books :)

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  7. Oh my goodness, West Virginia during the fall looks absolutely stunning! I know that my husband would die if we got to do the scenic railroad! He loves trains!

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  8. West Virginia looks seriously beautiful in the fall! All of those colors are amazing! I would love to try the water rafting and base jumping although I don't know if I could make myself jump off of a bridge like that! Lots of fun activities to choose from :D

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  9. I would definitely want to try out the New River Train excursions and the Cass Scenic Railroad. The views look amazing! #WanderfulWednesday

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