Rt. 60 Road TripAugust 20, 2020
U.S. Route 60, also known as the Midland Trail National Scenic Byway, is West Virginia’s oldest scenic byway. The road spans more than 180 miles across the state — from Kenova in Cabell County to White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County — passing through 41 cities, towns and communities. Divided into three sections, Fayette County is referred to as Midland Trail’s “Recreation Center” because of our area’s abundance of outdoor activities.
Take a drive along this picturesque route and discover several hidden gems.
Smithers – Glen Ferris – Gauley Bridge
Starting along the Kanawha River, in the small town of Smithers, you’ll find Burger Carte, a family-owned restaurant that has been serving the area since 1961. Try one of the signature AL Burgers — made with your choice of ham, salami or pepperoni as the meat or a combination of the three as well as cheese, pickles, mustard, onions and “AL sauce.” The casual eatery also serves other classic American eats, like hotdogs, subs, wings and ice cream.
Just down the road, the communities of Gauley Bridge and Glen Ferris have two breathtaking waterfalls that are easily accessible from the road.
Cathedral Falls, recently voted “West Virginia’s Best Waterfall” — Gold by Blue Ridge Country magazine, is one of the highest cascades in West Virginia, rushing more than 60 feet over a sandstone cliff. Pack a picnic and spend a relaxing day listening to the sounds of water and enjoying the spectacular views. Don’t forget to snap a photo, too!
Kanawha Falls (“Best West Virginia Waterfall” — Silver) is only 15-feet high but spans the width of the Kanawha River. Many people enjoy a better view of the falls by paddleboarding or canoeing from the boat launch downstream and relaxing at the coves hidden behind the falls. There is also a public fishing access area for Kanawha Falls, so you can enjoy a day of fishing for trophy-class muskies, walleye, striped bass and more.
Also located in Glen Ferris is the historic Glen Ferris Inn (circa 1839). Find charming accommodations and a full-service restaurant with home-cooked specialties and panoramic river views here.
About 10 minutes away is the Chimney Corner Cafe in Ansted. The restaurant has reopened, after two years, under new ownership. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and a bite to eat at this outdoor cafe, which serves a simple menu of sandwiches, salads, steaks, pork ribs and wings and sides.
Across the street, the Country Store, built in 1928, offers Appalachian arts and crafts as well as other unique goods.
Continue down the road to Hawks Nest State Park. The 270-acre park is known for its scenic overlook — offering “a bird’s eye view of the rugged New River Gorge National River below” — as well as its aerial tramway (open seasonally through October), hiking trails, fishing, jet boat rides, nature center and 31-room lodge with restaurant.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Starting September 8 and continuing for 60 days, paddlers can find wild rapids and extreme thrills on the six mile section of the New River, known as “The Dries”, that flows from Hawks Nest Dam Gauley Bridge.
The quirky Mystery Hole is a popular roadside attraction and a “best-kept secret.” Stop by and experience the laws of gravity being defied! For history buffs, Ansted has a few other points of interest, including the Ansted Culture & Heritage Museum, Contentment Museum and Antioch Baptist Church Museum.
Hico/Lookout – Route 19/New River Gorge Bridge – Route 11/Babcock
This is also where you can hop onto Route 19 to see a man-made marvel, the New River Gorge Bridge, and explore more areas of the Gorge, including Fayetteville and Oak Hill.
Another option is to take Route 11 around Lookout to Babcock State Park, home of the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill and one of the most photographed spots in the state.
No matter the direction you travel, there’s always something to discover in the Gorge. For more trip planning ideas, check out our other blogs.