The entire state of West Virginia falls within the Appalachian mountain range. Nicknamed the Mountain State, West Virginia is bordered by Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland. It is the only U.S. state that was formed by division from the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The state split off from Virginia and entered the Union in 1863.
Muggy summers and mild winters make the best time to be outdoors in early fall and late spring. Those times of year are ideal for white-water rafting and skiing in West Virginia, and its rivers and slopes rival those of Colorado.
The New River Gorge National River Recreation Area is considered the best place for white-water rafting in the eastern half of the country. Ski popular Snowshoe Mountain, in the Allegheny portion of the Appalachian range, in the northeastern part of the state. The Alleghenies reach their highest peaks of about 4,800 feet in West Virginia.
For trail trekking by foot, mountain bike or horseback, start at Monongahela National Forest. Canaan Valley Resort and Backwater Falls State Park, to the north, add opportunities for those activities as well as highly reputed cross-country and downhill skiing.
The Appalachian Trail enters the state at Harper’s Ferry, where it has its headquarters, and runs along the state border with Virginia for 15 miles. Also in Harper’s Ferry is the National Historic Park and museum dedicated to the Civil War–era abolitionist John Brown.
West Virginia features two historic resorts. Greenbrier, a world-famous luxury resort, was founded in 1778 in White Sulphur Springs. The city of Bath, also known as Berkeley Springs, was the first spa town in the U.S., famous for its Roman baths. The family of George Washington was among the earliest property owners in the town, which, today, is a haven for artists.
Charleston, the capital and largest city in West Virginia, hosts cultural and arts festivals throughout the year. It boasts 50 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. Locally renowned outdoor attractions and municipal parks include Daniel Boone Park and University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field.