Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding area with countless roadside overlooks and miles of trails ending with inspirational panoramic views. Check out the most famous views from Pendleton Point which showcases thousands of acres of pristine Blackwater Canyon views. Want a spectacular view almost 2,000 feet above the valley floor? Bear Rocks Preserve in Dolly Sods Wilderness is every sunrise lover’s dream. You can’t go wrong with any of the suggested overlooks below, just get out there and start exploring.
4,360 feet above sea level, Bald Knob gazes over the southern end of Canaan Valley. Sunsets are enjoyed atop the grassy meadow in summer and cross country skiers pose for selfies come winter. Skiers and snowshoers gain access from Whitegrass Cross Country & Café on winter excursions. Scenic chairlift rides during summer and fall months at Canaan Valley Resort State Park makes for less than a mile hike to the overlook. Or, take a strenuous hike up Bald Knob Trail from Canaan Valley State Park for the ultimate reward.
Look out over the Red Run Valley, Dry Fork Valley, and Otter Creek Wilderness from the flat stone that make up Table Rock overlook. Access is gained from a 9.5 mile drive out Canaan Loop Road and then 1.2 mile moderate hike out to Table Rock Trail.
Freeland Boardwalk Trail
To get the sense of what a Canaan Valley Wetland entails, a visit to the Freeland Road Boardwalk is a must. This is an easily accessible walk along a 0.4 mile long boardwalk in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. A notable sight along the way is Balsam Fir, a plant community typical of Maine and Canada.
Pace Point Trail follows the canyon rim of the Blackwater River from Pendleton Lake to the confluence of the North Fork of the Blackwater. Pick up the trail head at Pendleton Lake and the Blackwater Falls State Park Nature Center parking lot. Approximately 1.5 miles from the trail head a well-worn path to Pace Point overlook will be on your left, marked by two red diamonds.
Olsen tower is West Virginia’s first fire tower, originally built by the state in 1922. Fortunately, the tower was replaced in 1963, so that today we can safely navigate the fire tower. After making your way up the 133 steps, 360 degree views are awarded of Otter Creek Wilderness, Blackwater Canyon, and town of Parsons.
Bear Rocks Preserve
The Nature Conservancies’ Bear Rocks Preserve could be the most photographed natural scene in West Virginia. Facing east along the Eastern Continental Divide provides for dramatic sunrises post card are made of. Germany Valley sits nearly 2,000 feet below and Dolly Sods Wilderness flanks the west side of Bear Rocks Preserve. Need a dramatic backdrop? You’ve got it!
If you have never heard of a chimney rock, head to Blackwater Falls State Park and Lindy Point for a sight to see. Lindy Point is situated on the rim of the Blackwater Canyon, along with the 35 foot tall balancing rock nestled above the 1,000 foot gorge. A small parking lot and trail head for Lindy Point is found two miles past the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge.
Great access for the entire family to enjoy phenomenal views of the Blackwater Canyon. Located in Blackwater Falls State Park at the Pendleton Point Overlook parking lot. A maintained open area surrounds the overlook. Ideal for picnics, throwing the Frisbee, or join weekly Yoga class for outdoor bliss.
Blackwater Falls Gentle Trail Overlook
Built specifically for those with challenges getting around, the Gentle Trail overlooks Blackwater Falls from above. Come fall, as leaves change their color, this is the most dramatic view of the falls. Hang a left at the Blackwater Falls State Park entrance intersection for the parking lot. The trail is a paved path 200 feet long, and handicapped parking is designated.
Rocky Ridge Trail/Dolly Sods
Rocky Ridge Trail runs three miles along the eastern ridge of Cabin Mountain, 1,000 feet above Canaan Valley. The entirety of Rock Ridge Trail is exposed to expansive views to the west, at times among mazes of towering sandstone rock. Access can be gained by either the scenic chairlift at Timberline Four Seasons Resort or Forest Road 80 parking lot and trail head for Dolly Sods Wilderness.
North Fork Mountain
My personal favorite destination in the entire state for hikers and bikers is the North Fork Mountain Trail and it’s many views. The trail head is located near Petersburg, WV. Since this is a destination scenic overlook I would allow a full day. A cliff band stretches north to south for miles, and at times is well over 100 feet tall. Peregrine Falcon along with Bald Eagle call this untamed region home.
Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia (and the highest of the Allegheny Mountains) with a summit elevation of 4,863 feet. Only 15 miles south of Seneca Rocks makes this the perfect one-two punch of regional scenic overlooks. An observation tower gives 360 degree views, and Spruce Knob Lake is a fishermen’s delight.
A 30 minute drive south east of Canaan Valley is Seneca Rocks. The most unique feature in the state of West Virginia is a 900 foot tall “Razor Back” ridge that is no more than 10 feet wide. View adventurous rock climbers from the Seneca Rocks’ Visitor Center parking lot or take in the scenery from an observation deck 3/4 of the way up Seneca Rocks.