Canaan Valley Loop Through the State's Highest Valley

Thomas, West Virginia 26292

Canaan Valley Loop Through the State's Highest Valley

Canaan Valley Loop: Through the State's Highest Valley Professional Review and Guide

"A 45-mile loop drive in the Monongahela National Forest through the mountains and wetlands of Canaan Valley, the highest valley of its size east of the Rockies. Canaan (pronounced Ka NEEN) Valley is the highest valley of its size east of the Rockies and the largest wetland complex in West Virginia. Surrounded by mountains, its diverse habitats include dense deciduous and conifer forests, swiftly flowing streams and waterfalls, and fragile bogs and wetlands. Within the valley are found almost 300 species of birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians, and about 600 species of plants. Rimmed by mountains, the bowl-like valley receives 150 to 200 inches of snow each year, and with an average elevation of 3,200 feet, its climate is more like parts of New England than most of West Virginia.

Special Attractions: Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and Blackwater Falls State Park. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more."

Canaan Valley Loop: Through the State's Highest Valley Reviews

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We did this loop during what is probably not the most scenic time of year for the area... but it was still beautiful and impressive nonetheless. Warning -- for those with a fear of heights, you will NOT enjoy driving the portion that covers WV72. Talk about a back road! Twists, turns, and the road is really only wide enough for one car -- if someone comes the other direction, you have to pull off the road... but oh my, the scenery is gorgeous! The town of Davis is super cute... if you go, you should stop for a burrito at Hellbender Burritos -- great food (fresh guac), great selection of beer, great music, and just a really neat atmosphere. The wind turbines that line the ridge near Thomas, WV are a sight to see -- if you're interested in more information, stop in at the Purple Fiddle and they'll hook you up plus feed you and if you're there at the right time you'll even hear some good live music.
Canaan Valley is by far one of the most beautiful places in the US. This valley, highest east of the Mississippi, is left over from a much earlier time. With the Blackwater River slowly winding it's way along the valley floor, Canaan Valley find itself home to migratory birds and many animals otherwise rare in the East. There is a National Wildlife Refuge located there, the nations 500th, with boardwalks and hiking trails. Deer can be seen grazing along the road and bear sightings are not uncommon. Rumor has it that mountain lions, thought to be extinct in WV are making a comback and currently reside in the mountains above Canaan Valley. Those who dare may make the trip up the fireroad to Dolly Sods, a part of the Monongahela National Forest which is truly a gem unlike anyplace else in the east. It Canada like terrain is better seen than described, as words only seem to diminish its beauty.

Canaan Valley Loop: Through the State's Highest Valley Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Year-round, although heavy snows in winter can close road temporarily
Monongahela National Forest, Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Local Contacts