West Virginia Overview
Originally part of the state of Virginia until it broke off during the American Civil War, West Virginia is a state full of natural resources, beauty, and a rich logging and coal-mining culture. Often known simply as “The Mountain State” due to the entire state being located in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is home to such cities as Fairmont, Harpers Ferry, Huntington, and Wheeling, while at the same time boasting such resources as the Blackwater Falls State Park, the Monongahela National Forest, the Coal Heritage Route, the Midland Trail, and the Highland Scenic Highway. With its Civil War history, its majestic outdoors, and its quiet residents, West Virginia is one of those states that almost no one ever hears about, but once they’ve visited they just can’t stop talking about.
Along with the many skiing, rafting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoors opportunities available to visitors when they come to West Virginia, the state is also a treasure-trove of American Civil War references. The state was actually formed when it seceded from the Confederate state of Virginia, joining the Union on June 20th, 1863. Of particular note is Harpers Ferry, which was the sight of John Brown’s raid on the Armory in 1959, which is considered one of the major precursor events that sparked the Civil War. And while American history lovers will enjoy their time in the state, it is probably outdoor enthusiasts who have the most to gain from visiting West Virginia. There are six designated wilderness areas within the state, and literally dozens of national and state parks for people to explore. The forests are a mixture of hardwoods such as oak, beech, maple, and sycamore, while the overall mountains are made up of sandstone, shale, and coal beds, giving West Virginia an extremely rugged but exceptionally beautiful appeal, regardless of which season it is when you visit. All in all, for a mixture of American history and natural beauty, West Virginia is probably the United State’s best-kept secret.