Best of the Blue Ridge 2020

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Destinations 

Waterfall 

Blackwater Falls (Davis, W.Va.)

Watch the tannin-stained waters flow over Blackwater Falls before running through an eight-mile gorge at Blackwater Falls State Park. Depending on your skill level, you can view the falls from several trails and a boardwalk.

Runners-Up

—Crabtree Falls (Roseland, Va.)
—Cascade Falls (Pembroke, Va.)

Swimming Hole

Glade Creek (New River Gorge, W.Va.)

Follow the Glade Creek Trail for 5.6 miles to a number of cascades and waterfalls to cool off in. 

Runners-Up

—Sherando Lake (Augusta County, Va.)
—Blue Bend (Greenbriar County, W. Va.)

Flatwater 

Summersville Lake (Summersville, W.Va.)

As West Virginia’s largest lake, there are more than 60 miles of shoreline and 2,700 acres of water to explore at Summersville Lake. 

Runners-Up

—Claytor Lake (Dublin, Va.)
—Lake Moomaw (Covington, Va.)

Fishing Spot

New River (Fayetteville, W.Va.)

Grab your gear and hit the New River to fish for bass, walleye, muskie, crappie, catfish, and others. Travel in the spring or fall when the waters are cooler. 

Runners-Up

—South River (Waynesboro, Va.)
—Watauga River (Boone, N.C.)

Climbing Crag 

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Tourism Office

Seneca Rocks (Seneca Rocks, W.Va.)

Known for its multi-pitch routes for all abilities, Seneca Rocks in the Monongahela National Forest attracts climbers from all over the world to climb the white Tuscarora quartzite towers. 

Runners-Up

—Endless Wall (Fayetteville, W. Va.)
—Humpback Mountain (Wintergreen, Va.)

Running Trail

Greenbrier River Trail (Frankford, W.Va.)

This 78-mile trail built on a former railroad line takes runners through remote West Virginia wilderness and along the river.

Runners-Up

—Dick and Willie Trail (Martinsville, Va.)
—Fire Mountain Trails (Cherokee, N.C.)

Biking Trail

Arrowhead Trails (Fayetteville, W.Va.)

Four looped trails built by more than a thousand Boy Scouts form 12.8 miles of moderate to difficult mountain biking trails in the New River Gorge.

Runners-Up

—Mountain Bike Park (Massanutten, Va.)
—Greenbrier River Trail (Frankford, W. Va.)

Ski Run 

Cupp Run (Snowshoe Resort, W.Va.)

The black diamond Cupp Run is known throughout the region for challenging skiers and snowboarders on its 1,500-foot drop. Take part in the Cupp Run Challenge at the beginning of February in a giant slalom race down the mountain. 

Runners-Up

—Wild Turkey (Wintergreen Resort, Va.)
—Eye Opener (Wisp Resort, Md.)

Snowboarding Park

Snowshoe Resort (W.Va.)

The five Mountaineer Terrain Parks at Snowshoe offer something for riders of all abilities. Start off at Progression Park before transitioning to bigger features at Evolution Park and Mountaineer Park. 

Runners-Up

—Wintergreen Resort (Va.)
—Wisp Resort (Md.)

Paddling River 

New River (W.Va.)

One of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River has something for every paddler. From easy to moderate rapids and swimming opportunities on the Upper New River to Class IV+ rapids and the New River Gorge Bridge on the Lower New River, there is an adventure waiting around every bend. 

Runners-Up

—James River (Va.)
—Gauley River (W. Va.)

Campsite

Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows (Roseland, Va.)

Open all year, Devils Backbone Camp has 71 acres for both RVs and tents. Located just five miles from the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s plenty to explore from your basecamp. 

Runners-Up

—Arrowhead Bike Farm (Fayetteville, W.Va.)
—Summersville Lake Retreat and Lighthouse (Mt. Nebo, W.Va.)

National Park

Blue Ridge Parkway (N.C. and Va.)

A true crowd favorite, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. You’ll find countless scenic overlooks and trails along your drive.

Runners-Up

—New River Gorge National River (W.Va.)
—Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C. and Tenn.)

State Park

Douthat State Park (Va.)

Douthat State Park, one of the original Virginia parks, features more than 40 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails and a trout-stocked lake. 

Runners-Up

—Babcock State Park (W.Va.)
—Cacapon State Park (W.Va.)

National Forest

George Washington National Forest

With over a million acres and hundreds of miles of trail to explore, the George Washington National Forest has something for every recreationalist. Immerse yourself in the woods at one of several developed campsites or take to the solitude of the backcountry. 

Runners-Up

—Monongahela National Forest
—Pisgah National Forest

Urban Park/Greenway

The Roanoke Greenway, Photo by Kemper Mills Fant Photography – Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Roanoke Greenway (Roanoke, Va.)

Over 30 miles of paved greenways offer cyclists of all abilities connections to many of the area’s green spaces. Several bike shops along the trail have rentals if you don’t have your own. 

Runners-Up

—James River Park System (Richmond, Va.)
—South River Greenway (Waynesboro, Va.)

Kid-Friendly Adventure

ACE Adventure Lake (Minden, W.Va.)

Take the whole family to the lake at ACE Adventure Resort for a day of water-based fun. Zoom down the waterslides and zipline, play on the inflatable toys, lounge on the shore, or hike along the water’s edge. 

Runners-Up

—Wintergreen Resort (Wintergreen, Va.)
—FloydFest (Floyd, Va.)

Pet-Friendly Adventure 

Arrowhead Bike Farm (Fayetteville, W.Va.)

Go for a hike or bike ride, enjoy a meal, and camp with your four-legged friend at Arrowhead Bike Farm.

Runners-Up

—State Parks (Va.)
—The Biltmore (Asheville, N.C.)

Place for Outdoor Singles to Live

Fayetteville, W.Va.

Located right next to the New River Gorge National River, there’s plenty for outdoor-minded singles to do in Fayetteville. Spend your days climbing, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, and fishing.

Runners-Up

—Roanoke, Va.
—Richmond, Va.

Place to Raise an Outdoor Family

Roanoke, Va.

Get the kids started outside on the paved greenways around town and along the river before moving them to more challenging activities like hiking the Appalachian Trial and mountain biking
at Carvins Cove in Roanoke.

Runners-Up

—Fayetteville, W. Va
—Hendersonville, N.C.

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