Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Summersville, West Virginia

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When it comes to pure scenic value, few places east of the Mississippi River can outmatch the natural grandeur of Summersville.

The 28,000-acre Summersville Lake is a popular flatwater paddling destination and scenic swimming spot, where sheer sandstone cliffs tower above crystal clear waters.

Not surprisingly, Summersville is also a climbing mecca. Just below Summersville Dam is the roaring Gauley River, one of the most celebrated whitewater rivers in the country. Paddlers flock to the Gauley, especially in the fall, when dam releases attract the world’s top boaters and hundreds of recreational rafters. Nearby, the Cranberry Wilderness area is one of the most rugged and remote mountain wilderness areas in the East and a beloved backpacking oasis.

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DID YOU KNOW? At 47,815 acres, the Cranberry Wilderness is the largest federally designated wilderness area in Eastern United States. Bordered to the north by the Williams River and to the southwest by the South Fork of the Cranberry River, the area is home to some seventy miles of maintained hiking trails.

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