West Virginia is the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and always has warmer climates. Elkins’ high altitude provides a cooler climate than most of the state, similar to Canada or the Northeast. A small town of around seven thousand keeps this town feeling quaint while providing a lot of history and culture found in larger cities. Whether you want to learn about heritage arts, do some hiking, or grab some fantastic food, there are options galore waiting for visitors.
1.Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
© Jaynes Gallery Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is located in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The ecosystem in this area is much more common to the North, such as Canada, so going to Dolly Sods gives visitors a mini-vacation within their visit. There are over 45 miles of trails in Dolly Sods, though there are many restrictions because of its preservation status. Groups of ten or more are prohibited, and those who want to camp must follow strict guidelines for the area. There is a ton to do though, such as hunting, picnicking, biking, fishing, and even climbing. Take note that many activities require you to leave Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and go elsewhere in the forest.
200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-1800
2.Elkins Depot Welcome Center
© Elkins Depot Welcome Center
When entering Elkins, be sure to stop by Elkins Depot Welcome Center for information on the area. Though in the center of town, your visit to the welcome center will be beneficial for your entire vacation. Built in 1908, this train depot is still used by the Durban & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. The Railroad has put together five adventures on historic trains through the mountains, river, and West Virginia countryside. The center also houses an exhibit, “the Town that Industry Built,” which shows the early history of the town of Elkins and the railroad. This exhibit can be viewed during your stop for free.
315 Railroad Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-635-7803
© Stirrup Gallery
Located on the Davis & Elkins College campus, the Stirrup Gallery is more than just a gallery. This museum showcases thousands of specimens, art pieces, and artifacts from throughout history. The Stirrup Gallery was built in 2013 to house the Native American items from the Darby Collection. This collection is the largest at Stirrup, with over 10,000 items looking at North American history and its peoples. Along with this main exhibit, several other exhibits (including one on President Lincoln and a pottery exhibit with over 800 Native American pottery items) will keep you engaged through the visit.
100 Campus Drive, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-1900
4.Bickle Knob Observation Tower
One of the last remaining observation towers in Monongahela National Forest is the Bickle Knob Observation Tower. Once a fire tower for the National Forest, Bickle Knob replaced the fire tower with an observation deck. Though not handicap accessible, access to the observation tower is easy in warmer months. Once you climb to the top of the observation tower, you’ll be greeted with a 360-degree view of Monongahela and the surrounding mountains. The vistas are something that cannot be explained without seeing, and the four flights of stairs needed to reach the top are well worth the effort.
Forest Road 91, Elkins, WV, 26241, Phone: 304-478-2000
5.Allegheny Highlands Trail
© Sean Board/stock.adobe.com
Allegheny Highlands Trail is a 24.5-mile trail that leads throughout many small towns and amazing scenery. The trail follows the old West Virginia Central and Pittsburg railway that was built in 1884. Today, guests to the area can hike or bike the trail. Many areas of the trail are paved for easy commuting, but some trails are more rugged and with steep inclines. For those interested in taking the whole trail, camping is allowed on the trail, though visitors are asked to keep their footprint to a minimum when hiking, biking, or camping. Visitors can also download geocaching sites on the Highlands Trail Foundation website.
Elkins, WV 26241
6.Augusta Heritage Center
© Augusta Heritage Center
Augusta Heritage Center is located at the Davis & Elkins College. The mission of the center is to promote, encourage, and teach heritage arts. Programs are held throughout the year, so no matter when you visit, you’ll likely come across a workshop, class, or event in which to get involved. For instance, during the summer, Pickin’ in the Park is held weekly in Elkins City Park in the evening. During colder months, these bluegrass jam sessions are held back on campus to avoid bad weather. Week-long workshops bring together enthusiasts and those who want to learn about heritage arts.
100 Campus Drive, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-1209
7.Monongahela National Forest
With over 25 campgrounds spread throughout Monongahela National Forest, your family will be sure to find the perfect spot for camping. Monongahela National Forest is over 1,400 square miles that are federally protected. The climate of the area is much closer to Northern territories than it is West Virginia, so it offers a chance to experience the biodiversity not found elsewhere in the state. Along with camping, fishing and hunting are permitted in the forest, though visitors must be aware of the protected and endangered species. Fishers will be excited to find over 87 species throughout the streams and lakes.
200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-1800
8.Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
© Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
Free admission to Appalachian Forest Discovery Center makes this museum and welcome center even more appealing. This center is located only one block from the welcome center at the Elkins Depot. Located on the second floor of the old Darden’s Mill, the museum houses rotating exhibits along with the permanent exhibit: Discovering the Appalachian Forest. The Discovery Center focuses on four major themes when educating visitors and setting up exhibits: forestry, forest history, natural forest, and forest culture. Visitors will learn how the forest molded the surrounding communities while creating a unique heritage for its peoples.
1 S Railroad Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-6182
9.Cheat Summit Fort
The B&O Railroad is much more than a Monopoly stop; it was a real railroad: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1861, General McClellan ordered men to build a fort to protect the B&O Railroad during the Civil War. This fort, now available to visit, is Cheat Summit Fort. This fort is believed to be the earliest location of using telegraphs during the war and was essential for keeping Lee’s troops from taking over West Virginia. Today, only the skeleton of the camp still stands. Be advised that access to the fort may be affected by weather conditions.
200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 800-225-5982
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10.Talbott Frame Shop
Talbott Frame Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday to help build frames for all your needs. Talbott uses local woods to keep the local economy thriving and to give visitors a piece of West Virginia to take home. Along with building frames, Talbott also repairs frames using local wood. This means you can bring in a vintage frame and have it handled and repaired with sensitivity and professionalism. Whether shopping for yourself or a gift for someone else, you’ll find exceptional artwork and wooden objects for sale. Talbott also builds shadow boxes for purchase.
220 Third Street, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-7691
11.Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church
© Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church
Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church has been around since the 1800s, though it moved to the current stone building when it was built in 1895. Service is held every Sunday at eleven in the morning. All people are welcome, including visitors to the area. Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church gets involved with the community and encourages growth and stewardship through all their many ministry programs. No matter your family makeup, you’ll find kids’ ministries, adult ministries, college ministries, and music ministries to fill your spiritual needs. If you’d like to take the service home with you, recordings are available for each service.
450 Randolph Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-2788
12.Randolph County Community Arts Center
© Randolph County Community Arts Center
Randolph County Community Arts Centers is typically referred to as the Arts Center by locals. This company is dedicated to encouraging and educating people of all ages on art and the value of art. Along with exhibitions that showcase local artists’ works, the Arts Center holds monthly concerts with local and traveling musicians. Calendars are easily accessible so that visitors can find out what programs and exhibits are held for the month. This will allow you to better plan your trip when deciding if you’ll have time to sneak in a workshop or sightsee the gallery, which rotates every 4-8 weeks.
Two Park Street, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-2355
Another wonderful sight to check out on the Davis & Elkins College campus is the Halliehurst Mansion, also known as the Senator Stephen B. Elkins House. This gorgeous Victorian-style home was built in 1890 and is three stories high. Though this 16,000 square foot home has been restored to its former beauty, it is not a museum. Instead, Davis & Elkins College has chosen to use this mansion as the administrative headquarters for the college, including the President’s office and the Admissions office. Despite its use as administrative offices, the first floor is often used for parties and weddings.
100 Campus Drive, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-1900
14.The Old Brick Playhouse
The Old Brick Playhouse has been a staple in the Elkins community for nearly 30 years. The company offers after school and summer programs for kids aged 5-20. Each year, the playhouse puts together an original play with the kids as actors. These plays focus on modern-day student issues, such as cyberbullying, conflict resolution, drug abuse, and cultural sensitivities. Their Acting Up Literally program helps students through fifth grade to focus on reading and literacy. Students are paired up with a high school mentor. All programs are planned with building confidence and improvisational skills.
329 Davis Avenue #4, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-9090
15.Gov. H. Guy Kump House
West Virginia governor, Herman G, Kump lived in the Gov. H. Guy Kump House since its build circa 1924. It is now on the National Historic Register, as of 1986. The home was willed to the city of Elkins upon Kump’s death. Today, it is home to the Kump Education Center, which focuses efforts on historic preservation. Along with preservation, the Education Center works to maintain sustainability. Some programs that are held include getting to know bees, creating gardens, and water monitoring in the wetlands. Kump Education Center also works with teachers for professional development, coaching, and education seminars.
401 Randolph Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241
16.The Forks Inn
© The Forks Inn
The Forks Inn is owned by the Stalnaker family. When you’re ready for a getaway atop a beautiful mountain, consider The Forks Inn on Kelly Mountain’s top. Five beautifully decorated rooms with stunning views are available for rent. Each room includes a Serta mattress, mini-fridge, microwave, flat-screen TV, and a full bath. When you’re feeling puckish, head down to the bar and dining room for some high-end treats. Try out some of the wonderful delights, like the homemade jams and mustards, or an entree to stop you in your tracks. Consider checking out the popcorn trout (trout filets coated with popcorn) or the seafood etouffee.
Kelly Mountain Road, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-637-0932
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17.El Gran Sabor
© El Gran Sabor
The owner of El Gran Sabor is from Venezuela and earned her naturalized citizenship in 2008. Along with her husband, Derdlim brings Latin American cuisine to this Southern town. Along with delicious food, patrons can enjoy live music throughout the year. Food is not just Venezuelan but inspired by many countries, including the Caribbean (Caribbean salad), Cuba (Cuban sandwich), Mexican (huevos rancheros), and even America (hello pulled pork). If you re craving Venezuelan food, you’ll find many combination pates including empanadas, erapas, and pabellon. Desserts are Latin inspired as well, be sure to try the flan, the tres leches cake, or the fried tortilla with ice cream and honey called the sopapilla.
413 Kerens Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-8200
18.Smoke of the Water BBQ
© Smoke of the Water BBQ
When you’re ready for some Southern barbeque, there is no better place to go in Elkins than Smoke on the Water BBQ. Opened in 2011, Smoke on the Water BBQ has always offered beautiful indoor-outdoor dining to keep a relaxed “river lifestyle” experience. Whether you choose to sit outside or in, you need to try one of the signature cocktails or a draft from the bar. You’ll find Southern food at its ultimate here, with delicious bbq, pimento cheese, and trout spread (a local favorite). Smoke on the Water BBQ also features some house specials like pork chicharrones and burnt ends (a BBQ lover favorite).
1455 Allegheny Highway, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-9669
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19.Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar
© Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar
With room for over 165 patrons, the Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar is a fine dining establishment worth checking out on your stop through Elkins. If you’re not ready to eat, you can sit at the bar or the lounge area, which features leather chairs, a fireplace, and a big screen tv that typically has a big game showing. When you’re ready to eat, slip over to the dining room and delve into big plates of almond-crusted trout, vintage cioppino (fish stew), duck breast, or vintage tender cut medallions. Each dish is expertly crafted to bring out the flavors of the suggested wine pairing.
25 Randolph Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-0808
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20.Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern
© Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern
Locally crafted brews and signature cocktails are just one reason to visit Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern. Homestyle food and a relaxed atmosphere are two more. Looking for more reasons? Stop by to experience the live entertainment or gluten-free options offered. If you need more reasons to stop by, you’ll just need to visit to experience everything yourself. Try the Buffalo Crack dip, which claims to be highly addictive and a local favorite. The tavern food you’ll find on the menu can tame any appetite, so be sure to check out the soups, sandwiches, burgers, and Mexican favorites that are sure to please.
314 Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241, Phone: 304-636-6000
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20 Best Things to Do in Elkins, WV
- Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, Photo: Jaynes Gallery Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Elkins Depot Welcome Center, Photo: Elkins Depot Welcome Center
- Stirrup Gallery, Photo: Stirrup Gallery
- Bickle Knob Observation Tower, Photo: johnsroad7/stock.adobe.com
- Allegheny Highlands Trail, Photo: Sean Board/stock.adobe.com
- Augusta Heritage Center, Photo: Augusta Heritage Center
- Monongahela National Forest, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Appalachian Forest Discovery Center, Photo: Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
- Cheat Summit Fort, Photo: Kristina/stock.adobe.com
- Talbott Frame Shop, Photo: rudzis/stock.adobe.com
- Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church, Photo: Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church
- Randolph County Community Arts Center, Photo: Randolph County Community Arts Center
- Halliehurst Mansion, Photo: kinderkz/stock.adobe.com
- The Old Brick Playhouse, Photo: Jgz/stock.adobe.com
- Gov. H. Guy Kump House, Photo: Fxquadro/stock.adobe.com
- The Forks Inn, Photo: The Forks Inn
- El Gran Sabor, Photo: El Gran Sabor
- Smoke of the Water BBQ, Photo: Smoke of the Water BBQ
- Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar, Photo: Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar
- Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern, Photo: Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern
- Cover Photo: Elkins City Hall