Travel through a wild and undeveloped portion of the Monongahela National Forest on the Highland Scenic Highway in West Virginia. When you stop at any of the four scenic overlooks along the Byway, you will encounter a stunning view of the Allegheny Highlands. See rolling, mountainous terrain covered by hardwood forests and capped by dark spruce at higher elevations. This view is one you won't want to miss, especially during the fall season when the mountains are ablaze with color. Hidden within this panoramic view, you'll find plenty of places to visit and things to do.
As you travel the Highland Scenic Highway, you will encounter some interesting wetlands known as bogs. Visit the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area for a close up view of life in the bogs. Watch for some unusual life forms in these acidic wetlands, including carnivorous plants. Don't worry, they won't come after you; their diet consists mostly of insects.
If you're looking for some outdoor adventure, look no further. Along the Highway, you will find trout-filled waters, great camping spots, and hundreds of hiking trails. One of the most rewarding hikes is the three-quarter mile trail into the Byway's hidden treasure known as Falls of Hills Creek. Here you will find three beautiful waterfalls cascading over rock layers of sandstone and shale. You can mountain bike or ride horses on the trails as well. If you visit the Byway during the winter and find the trails covered with snow, you may want to set out on a cross-country ski trip.
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- Come winter, trade your four wheels for a pair of skinny skis at the Elk River Touring Center (www.ertc.com). The center offers ski and snowshoe rentals, plus three miles of on-property trails and access to 22 miles of trails that traverse the unploughed Highland Scenic Highway, which can get buried under several feet of snow each winter.
- Lose yourself in the Cranberry backcountry at the end of this scenic drive, a 62,000-acre oasis of bogs, hemlock and spruce forestland, and some 1,500 miles of hiking trails. These include the 300-mile north-south Allegheny Trail and Cow Pasture Trail, which cuts a scenic line through the Cranberry Glades.
c/o Marlinton Ranger District, PO Box 210, Monongahela National Forest
Marlinton, West Virginia 24954-0210
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