Encompassing the Allegheny Mountains and the Monongahela National Forest, Randolph County is surrounded by some of the best-known natural attractions iconic to West Virginia. From roaring waterfalls, highest peaks, unique ecosystems, and looming rock formations, these natural wonders are waiting to be explored by you and your family. Visiting our piece of paradise any time of year will provide you with some of the best adventures the region and state can offer. Excitement is calling your name and we highly suggest adding these 6 natural attractions to your bucket list:
Bickle Knob Observation Tower: Bickle Knob is a mountain summit (elevation 4,003′) located near Elkins. Bickle Knob Observation Tower, built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, offers 360-degree panoramic views of Randolph County. It is one of the few remaining observation towers in the Monongahela National Forest, making it an icon to Randolph County. Visitors can catch spectacular sunsets, sunrises, and beautiful views of the surrounding forest below. On a clear day, you will be able to see miles and miles of mountains.
Blackwater Falls: The most famous waterfall in the state of West Virginia is located next-door in Tucker County which is only about 18 miles from the county line. Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River, whose amber-colored waters plunge six stories into a natural pool 62 feet below. The “black” water is a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. This area is one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia. Blackwater Falls State Park has much to offer outside of Blackwater Falls. A true four-season destination, Blackwater Falls State Park has something to offer for everyone. You can also experience many other cascading waterfalls in the state park like Elakala Falls and Pendleton Falls.
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area: Cranberry Wilderness (47,815 acres) and Cranberry Backcountry (14,000 acres) make up one of the largest backpacking areas east of the Mississippi River. Together there are 135 miles of hiking trails that provide a great opportunity of numerous outdoor recreation activities. The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is lies within the Cranberry Wilderness Area of the Monongahela National Forest in Pocahontas County. It is located about 30 miles from the Randolph County line. The Cranberry Glades protects the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. The Cranberry Glades consists of four bogs whose plant and animal life is similar to that found in the bogs or “muskegs” of the north. Several species ended their migration here, and the Cranberry Glades are now the southern-most point in North America where some of these life forms are found. There is a half-mile boardwalk that has been constructed through two of the bogs so you and your family can enjoy the area without disturbing this fragile community.
Dolly Sods Wilderness: Dolly Sods Wilderness, the most popular wilderness area in West Virginia, is located in Randolph, Tucker, and Grant Counties. This crown jewel of the Monongahela National Forest offers 17,631 acres and nearly 50 miles of rugged trails available to hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders. Stunning mountain vistas, a variety of unique ecosystems, and the majority of Red Creek drainage give nature enthusiasts the ecological immersion and solitude that only wilderness can provide. Most of these bog and heath eco-types are similar to the ones found in southern Canada. Elevations in this wilderness area range from 2,500 to over 4,700 feet making this area susceptible to drastic weather changes. With that being said, plan ahead before making your trip and prepare for all weather during your adventure.
Seneca Rocks: Located in the Monongahela National Forest in Pendleton County, Seneca Rocks is one of the best-known landmarks in West Virginia and has long been noted as a scenic attraction. Seneca Rocks is only 12 miles from the Randolph County line. The rocks are a magnificent formation rising nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River. It is every bit as imposing as it sounds. During the spring through fall, you can spot rock-climbers that look like tiny ants on the wall using the observation binoculars located at the discovery center at the base of the rocks. The Seneca Rocks Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked up and back trail featuring a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers the non-climber a way to reach the loft heights of the rocks and a view of the scenic valley below.
Spruce Knob: Soaring at 4,863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is West Virginia’s highest peak located in Pendleton County and only 8.5 miles from Randolph County. In fact, Spruce Knob Lake and Spruce Knob Campground are located in Randolph County, but just a hop, skip and a jump away is the summit of Spruce Knob Mountain. This area offers backpacking and day hiking opportunities for visitors looking to get a spectacular view of the gorgeous natural scenery surrounding the area. From this rugged alpine peak, you can view grassy openings and pastures or look down on the forested ridges of Randolph County as far as the eye can see.
All of these natural attractions are iconic to Randolph County, the surrounding region, and the state of West Virginia. They are all fairly easy to get to and all located within 30 minutes of the Randolph County line making Randolph County the best place to sleep, explore, unwind, and dine.