Marlinton is a lovely town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, known for its picturesque location within the state's gorgeous Appalachian Mountain landscape. The town, which is named for pioneer Jacob Marlin, was known for its railroading and logging history in the 19th century and is home to lovely historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the beautifully-restored Pocahontas County Opera House, which presents live music performances throughout the year. It provides access to many area state parks and forests, including unique Beartown State Park and the bogs of the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. Each year, the city hosts the renowned Roadkill Cook-Off, a culinary tradition since 1991.
1. Beartown State Park
© New Africa/stock.adobe.com
Beartown State Park is a charming 110-acre state park located just southwest of the city of Hillsboro, along the eastern summit of majestic Droop Mountain within Greenbrier County. The park was established with the assistance of the Nature Conservancy in 1970, named in honor of caves in the region that were believed to provide winter den spaces for area populations of native black bears. Unusual rock formations and cave systems line the park's lands, created from Pottsville sandstone formations dating back to the Pennsyvlanian age. Visitors can view majestic boulders, overhanging cliffs, and deep crevasses throughout the park, which are frequently covered with ice and snow in unique ways throughout the winter months. A half-mile boardwalk walk traverses many of the park's most notable natural wonders, open to the public between April and October.
Beartown Rd, Renick, WV 24966, Phone: 304-799-4087
2. Highland Scenic Highway
Highland Scenic Highway, also known as West Virginia Route 150, spans 22.5 miles throughout the Monongahela National Forest's Gauley and Marlinton Ranger Districts near the cities of Mill Point and Marlinton. The scenic north-south highway begins near Marlinton at the intersection of United States Route 219 and WV 55 and meanders south to WV Routes 39 and 55 at Mill Point. It was dedicated as a scenic byway in 1980, meandering along beautiful mountain ridges reaching peak elevations of over 4,500 feet above sea level. Impressive scenic overlooks are offered at several points, including the Cranberry Glades overlook, which provides unparalleled views of the Cranberry Wilderness and the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. An educational boardwalk is offered at Black Mountain, illustrating the region's history of destructive forest fires.
3. Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area protects West Virginia's largest area of natural bogs, designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1974. The acidic wetlands are home to unique spongy ground areas full of partially-decade peat, which contain unusual wildlife species, including carnivorous and insect-eating plants. The Botanical Area spans an area of 750 acres, consisting of four main bogs with wildlife similar to the muskeg bogs of Canada. A half-mile boardwalk traverses two of the bogs, offering safe opportunities for viewing the sensitive ecosystems without damaging natural conditions. The area is also traversed by the six-mile Cowpasture Trail, which serves as a hiking connector to the nearby Cranberry Wilderness. Adjacent to the area is the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, which offers interpretive exhibits.
4. Watoga State Park
Watoga State Park is West Virginia's largest state park, spanning over 10,000 acres throughout Pocahontas County near the city of Seebert. The park is named for the Cherokee indigenous word for "starry waters," opened to the public as a recreational facility in 1937. It is home to the beautiful 400-acre Fred E. Brooks Memorial Arboretum, which was named in honor of the 20th-century naturalist and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation throughout the year, including opportunities for swimming at the park's public swimming pool and fishing at its lovely fishing reservoir. 34 rental cabins provide opportunities for overnight stay, along with two campgrounds featuring electric hookup and primitive campsites.
4800 Watoga Park Rd, Marlinton, WV 24954, Phone: 304-799-4087
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5. Cranberry Mountain Nature Center
© Cranberry Mountain Nature Center
Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is a charming nature and visitor center located within the Monongahela National Forest near the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, offering a wide variety of nature exhibits and interpretive programming for visitors of all ages. The center's exhibit hall showcases displays related to local history and area forest ecosystems, featuring audiovisual programs and interpretive exhibits. An outdoor native plant garden is offered on the center's grounds, along with nature trails and an interpretive trail showcasing native tree species in the region. Lovely day-use picnic sites offer beautiful views of nearby Stamping Creek and the Appalachian Mountains. Ranger-led programming is offered throughout the year, including lectures and nature walks.
Hillsboro, WV 24946, Phone: 304-653-4826
6. Seneca State Forest
Seneca State Forest is West Virginia's oldest state forest, established in 1924. The forest spans 11,684 acres throughout Pocahontas County, overseen by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Visitors can explore the forest's lovely panoramas via hiking and wildlife watching trails or enjoy opportunities for trout, bluegill, and bass fishing on its picturesque four-acre lake. Eight fully-equipped pioneer cabins are available for overnight stay during the spring, summer, and fall months and can be reserved online or by phone for minimum two-night stays. The forest's Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, one of the state's most iconic landmarks, can also be reserved for overnight stay, showcasing 360-degree views of the forest from atop a 65-foot fire tower.
7. The Pocahontas County Opera House
© The Pocahontas County Opera House
The Pocahontas County Opera House is Marlinton's lovely historic arts and cultural center, originally constructed by court reporter J.G. Tilton in 1907. Throughout its tenure, the opera house has served as a performing arts facility, newspaper press, roller rink, and car dealership, attracting performing arts groups from New York City to its lovely performance hall throughout the early 20th century. In 1991, the building was purchased by the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission and completely restored to its historic glory. Today, it showcases an annual performance series highlighting dance, theater, and music events, including classical, jazz, and bluegrass concerts. It also serves as a community center, hosting square dances, community suppers, and private special events throughout the year.
818 3rd Ave, Marlinton, WV 24954, Phone: 304-799-6645
8. The Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum
© The Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum
The Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum was opened to the public in June of 1963 as part of West Virginia's Centennial Year celebration. The museum is listed within a beautiful restored historic house that was acquired by the Society in 1962, located along two acres of land along the Greenbrier River that was formerly part of the James Atlee Price farm estate. Artifacts from Pocahontas County history are showcased throughout the restored home, spanning from the region's indigenous era through the present day. Artifact exhibits range from displays of logging and railroading industry items to antique dolls, music boxes, looms, and spinning wheels. The two-story Kee Cabin, located on the farm's grounds, showcases a typical pioneer cabin of the mid-19th century.
17890 Seneca Trail, Marlinton, WV 24954, Phone: 304-799-6659
9. Calvin Price State Forest
Home to over 9,000 gorgeous acres of hardwood and pine tree-laden grounds, the Calvin Price State Forest is a popular recreational destination that is unique for being the most undeveloped attraction in West Virginia. As such, those who want to explore the Calvin Price State Forest must do so via Watoga State Park, which is nearby and offers lodging and other recreational necessities. The park is situated in eastern Pocahontas County as well as Greenbrier County and offers great hiking trails to visitors through the Allegheny Trail and the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s also a great place for relaxed fishing opportunities and is frequented by hunters during the hunting season.
4800 Watoga Park Road, Marlinton, West Virginia 24954, Phone: 304-799-4087
10. Greenbrier Grille and Lodge
© Greenbrier Grille and Lodge
Along the banks of the Greenbrier River, a family-style lodge and grill await to welcome guests into their warm and hospitable dining room – the Greenbrier Grille and Lodge. This downtown establishment features unbeatable views of the river and promises mouthwatering meals cooked to your liking. Meanwhile, the Greenbrier Lodge offers five cozy rooms to its guests, each of which has its own private bath. Each room features central heating and air conditioning, cable television, and Wi-Fi. Larger groups of guests can also opt to stay at the nearby cottage. All in all, the Greenbrier Grill and Lodge is a fantastic place to enjoy a meal or to stay in order to enjoy the attractions of Pocahontas County.
814 First Avenue, Marlinton, West Virginia 24954, Phone: 304-799-7233
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