The weather finally looks to be in our favor for a trip to West Virginia! The plan is to allow 3 days, leaving Saturday morning and returning Monday evening. Putting together a detailed plan can be the difference between a mediocre and a great trip. I spent many hours looking up info about the area we would be visiting, planning our stops for fuel, dining, lodging and activities. After looking over the bike for any obvious safety issues, it’s time to load everything. This is also very important, but we’ll save that for another time.
Saturday was finally here after a long night! I was like a kid on Christmas morning. The alarm went off and I was out of bed immediately. With the temperature in the mid 40’s we decided to eat a warm breakfast, hoping it would aid us in the attempt to stay warm. After running through a quick mental checklist, we began to put on our layers of clothing and gear. All that gear can add up to quite a bit of weight and believe me, my wife actually found her gear for a cold day to weigh 27 lbs! Maybe it’s time to invest in heated gear.
There’s something special about the beginning of a motorcycle trip and being able to share that with my wife makes it even more amazing! We ride with a rider to passenger intercom system made by Sena and that helps us to pass the time during those long boring stretches of road. Being able to communicate with each other can add a closeness between you and your passenger, plus allows her/him to feel more involved in the ride.
Shortly after lunch we arrive at our first scheduled stop, Kanawha Falls. Located on US 60, 36 miles east of Charleston, WV. A small roadside park on the right allows a better look of the falls, but be watching because the entrance can sneak up on you. If you make it to Glen Ferris, you just missed the park by .02 mile. While we were there, we see two bikes go past and a moment later turned around stopping at the roadside park. They were locals, father and son out for a Saturday ride. The two were very friendly, but they stopped for a reason. The son had a FJR and wanted to chat about ours for a few minutes.
With the sun peeking through the thinning clouds we should be able to remove some of the many layers of clothes we are wearing. I’ll happily ride bundled up, but it definitely feels better with less layers.
Continuing east on US 60 for 3 miles, we pass a waterfall on the left. “Honey, did you see that? Let’s find a place to turn around.” No matter how well things are planned, there may be surprises worth checking out and this was one of them. A beautiful 60’ waterfall (Cathedral Falls) right next to the road! This trip is a great example of the beauty that West Virginia has to offer.
The falls were beautiful but had a light flow do to the time of year. What makes this such a great find, is the convenient location as mentioned earlier. Stopping to view Cathedral Falls will only take a few minutes and a couple picnic tables are available for anyone who would like to spend a little more time eating a packed lunch.
Our next stop along US 60 was Hawks Nest. I’ve seen many photos posted of people visiting Hawks Nest. I didn't really know what to expect here because almost all of the pictures you see online are very similar. The reason for that is, there's not much there, at least from what I could tell. I will say, we didn't take in the entire park, but it didn't seem necessary.
When we arrived at Hawks Nest, there were people everywhere. We soon found out that a wedding had just taken place in the park. We decided our first adventure here would be a welcomed restroom break, which was directly across from the parking lot. Let me add, for such a small park, the restrooms were very nice. Not the typical outhouse style like in many parks. Heading back across the street, we proceeded to the very short trail that leads to a couple overlooks. The park is very well kept and the fact that everything is easily accessible is an added bonus.
Planning an enjoyable motorcycle route can be a challenge and that definition won’t be the same for everyone. Planning stops strategically can allow you to cover more miles without tiring others in the group. The great thing about this route, it allowed us to see many different sites in a short period of time.
I had high hopes of seeing some of West Virginia’s beautiful fall foliage, but since it was only mid October I thought we may be too early. The stops so far were only showing a hint of color. Even though the color hasn’t been what I hoped for, the trip so far was awesome!
Taking US 60 for 8 miles then heading south on US 19 to New River Gorge. This is another highly photographed place in West Virginia and rightfully so. The New River Gorge Bridge was at one time, the world’s longest single-
After viewing the bridge, we still had a little daylight, so we decided to take Fayette Station Road which snakes below this massive steel structure. This road is a little narrow but wasn’t difficult for a motorcycle, but a few spots were tight for the full size crew cab directly in front of us. If you have limited time, you may want to rethink taking this road. 10-
Fortunately our lodging was only a couple miles south of Fayette Station Road at Quality Inn in Fayetteville. The location of this hotel worked out great for our weekend trip. After checking into our room, we headed a few blocks over the Pies and Pints for dinner. We didn’t take advantage of it but right next to the hotel is a dairy queen.
Sunday morning we were up and going fairly early and after enjoying the continental breakfast we were on our way. Babcock State Park was our first stop for the day. Having never been here before, we didn't really know what to expect. The Internet has a wealth of information on almost anything or any place one would want to research and I usually take full advantage of that. After my “thorough” investigation on each stop, I will usually have a pretty good idea of what we are in for, but this place was different. Maybe it was perfect timing or just the fact that this was our first taste of fall color for the trip but I really enjoyed Babcock State Park! If you’re ever in this area during the fall, I highly recommend planning a short stop to take in the view of the grist mill.
After taking a short ride through the park, we made our way back up to US 60 heading east for 15 miles to the town of Charmco, where we picked up WV 20 N for 27 miles. Reaching WV 39 we turned right heading into Monongahela National Forest. The scenery really start picking up here. Riding WV 39 for 20 miles lead us to our next stop, Falls of Hills Creek.
If you don’t mind short hikes, this is worth the walk. They say it’s a ¾ mile trail, but I believe that is one way. There are three falls that can be seen from this trail. The first falls is 25’ and you can only see the very top of the falls. The middle falls is 45’ and the lower falls is 60’. The trail is probably considered to be moderate due to some steps that need to be taken but was worth the walk.
At this point we were very thirsty and starting to get quite hungry. I have to admit that I didn’t plan this part very well. I should have brought some snacks and drinks with us, because there isn’t any stores/gas stations nearby. Keep that in mind for those with small fuel tanks.
Continuing on WV 39 for a short 5 miles then turning left onto Highland Scenic Highway/WV150. This road isn’t what a lot of motorcyclists would consider a perfect motorcycle road but If you enjoy scenery, you will love this road, especially if it’s autumn. I was in awe of the beautiful colors, and heading north the views just kept getting better! The traffic was almost nonexistent which adds to the enjoyment of the ride. Highland Scenic Highway ended at
Turning left onto US 219, we traveled an approximate 14 miles to WV 66. Keep in mind, we haven’t eaten anything since early this morning. We filled up the bike at the gas station on the corner and fortunately there was a Subway right next to it. Having to eat gluten free makes it a little difficult to find places I can eat. After filling all tanks we followed 66 over to Snowshoe. It was like a Ghost town this time of year. There really wasn’t anything to do there but since we had never been, we figured we would check it out while in the area.
After heading back down the mountain, we jumped back on US 219, taking it up to WV 15. Reading about how great a road WV 15 is, I just had to see for myself. Unfortunately the sun was getting pretty low by now and I didn’t want to be out on these mountain roads after dark. I have to be totally honest here, I wasn’t that excited about WV 15. To be fair, maybe we didn’t take it far enough but due to the setting sun and lack of interest in the current road, we decided to start heading back to the hotel. We decided cutting over to US 19, taking it back to Fayetteville was our best option.
Monday morning was here before we knew it and it was time to head home. We had a little fog to deal with but it lifted quickly leaving fair skies. I knew from looking at the radar earlier that day, we were heading toward some rain. Closer to home the wind started picking up and the clouds were growing darker. Pulling into the driveway around 6:30pm and still dry. After unloading the bike, I pulled it into the garage and about 5 minute later the sky let loose! It was pouring! We made it home just in time.
Well, after looking back on the entire trip, I must say, we had an awesome time! As always, I can’t wait till next time.