West Virginia in Pictures: 20 Beautiful Places to Photograph
West Virginia has some of the most stunning landscapes in the United States, which is why photographers enjoy capturing images in the state. From the Appalachian Trail that winds through the mountains to the raging rapids of the New River Gorge, the photography opportunities are impressive.
Capture the morning fog lifting out of Blackwater Canyon, or capture a slice of historic America over the National Park town of Harpers Ferry. Settle on the banks near the New River Gorge bridge and catch the action of white water rafting on one of the best rapids systems on the East Coast or find a secluded spot in Dolly Sods Wilderness and become a part of the quiet seclusion in the Monongahela National Forest.
1. New River Gorge Bridge
The 3,000-foot-long New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most beautiful places to photograph in West Virginia. The famous steel arch near Fayetteville bows over the New River Gorge at 1,700 feet in the air. The structural design is artistic and has even more beauty during sunrise.
For the best picture opportunity on the bridge, visit during Bridge Day in October, when approved base jumpers leap off the bridge and parachute to a small landing below. This area is also a popular spot rafting, climbing, and other outdoor adventures in West Virginia.
2. Bear Rocks Preserve
For a rustic wilderness scene, the Bear Rocks Preserve near Petersburg in the northeast part of the state is tops. There are 477 acres of isolated wilderness with a diverse ecosystem, prime for nurturing cranberry bogs at higher elevations and concentrations of wildlife like warblers and salamanders. Catch the scene at Bear Rocks Preserve during an autumn sunrise for unforgettable photos.
3. Potomac River
The Potomac River is a popular place to photograph, and there are so many vantage points. Close-up shots of sections that run through West Virginia are easy to get from the banks, or you can catch a spectacular aerial view of the river's vastness from the elevations at Weverton Cliffs near Harpers Ferry.
4. Seneca Rocks
If you catch a perfect night's sky over Seneca Rocks in northeast West Virginia, you can position the stars or even a super moon through the breaks in the stone formations. The Seneca Rocks stand 900 feet over the valley of the North Fork River in the Monongahela National Forest. On any given day, the scene may have wildlife, colorful rays from the sunrise, or rock climbers testing fate on the ledges.
5. New River
The New River that flows through West Virginia is part of 360 miles of waterways. Close-up shots are great, especially ones that include people white water rafting, which is a popular activity on the river in the summer. Views of the river from higher elevations are spectacular, too. One location to scout is from the Grand View overlook at New River Gorge National Park near Beaver, West Virginia.
6. Harpers Ferry
The historic town of Harpers Ferry is picturesque. It is located on the eastern tip of West Virginia near Maryland and Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. The town has many historic landmarks, including the St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, which is easy to spot on the skyline, and the B&O Railroad Potomac River Crossing; both are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Part of the town is in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which has iconic images of Americana, with early 19th-century architecture and industry.
7. Babcock State Park
The imagery is beautiful at Babcock State Park near Clifftop, with more than 4,100 acres of wooded natural trails and a historic grist mill. The Glade Creek Grist Mill is one of the most photographed places in the state because of the historic and naturally beautiful setting on the water. The old mill sitting alongside the wooded landscape, flowing creek, and large boulders is serene.
8. Potomac Highlands
The Potomac Highlands region in eastern West Virginia is quaint and picturesque. The idyllic farmland and natural scenery is colorful with the depth of the rolling hills and mountain scenery in the background.
9. Blackwater Canyon
It is hard to believe that such colors and beauty exist like those at Blackwater Canyon near the town of Davis. The eight-mile gorge in eastern West Virginia is one of the most scenic places to photograph in the state and in all of the Allegheny Mountains. Lindy Point in Blackwater Falls State Park is a great spot to capture the sunset and fog in Blackwater Canyon.
If you are looking for a weekend escape in this region, consider a stay at one West Virginia's beautiful resorts.
10. Dolly Sods Wilderness
Sunsets at the Dolly Sods Wilderness are so vibrant and colorful that they almost seem computer generated. The wilderness area in the Monongahela National Forest is a rocky high elevation plateau known for its mossy bogs and other unusual landscape characteristics created by environmental factors that are usually seen in Canada. The Dolly Sods Wilderness near the town of Elkins is one of the best locations to photograph in West Virginia.
11. Grave Creek Mound
While mountains, rivers, and sweeping views are prime in West Virginia, the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, outside of Wheeling, is a fascinating and historical place to photograph. The traditional burial mound was built by the Adena people and is a prominent landmark to photograph in West Virginia.
12. Appalachian Farmland
The farming landscape throughout the mountains in West Virginia is picturesque. From the hay fields and soybean crops to the livestock and barns there's nice agricultural imagery on the back roads through the Appalachian mountains. The scenery in the fall, with the pixelated colors on the trees, is lovely.
The railroad industry still thrives in West Virginia, so it is nice to find a shot of an old steam-powered locomotive rolling down the tracks with a scenic backdrop. You can also hop on board several passenger trains in West Virginia for a scenic ride through old mining towns and the Monongahela National Forest.
14. Whitaker Falls
The unassuming power of Whitaker Falls waterfall in Webster County is part of its beauty. The series of cascading waterfalls gently pushing over the flat rocks in the Elk River is tranquil. To add some artistic elegance to the photograph of the waterfall, capture it in the winter with ice encasing the trees on the banks of the river.
15. Rock Lake
A misty morning over the cottage community near Rock Lake in southwest West Virginia does not get more tranquil. The quiet scene over the lake is perfect at sunrise, especially in the fall, when the colors on the trees are muted by the temporary fog lifting off the water.
16. State Capitol
The West Virginia state capitol in Charleston has a grand presence that makes for beautiful images, both in the daytime and at night. Charleston was not the original home of the West Virginia capitol. It was moved several times over a period of decades from Wheeling to Charleston, then back to Wheeling, and finally returning to its current location in Charleston in 1885.
17. Rivers and Streams (Fly Fishing)
It is no wonder the image of a fly fishing enthusiast on West Virginia's quiet back streams is so iconic. The natural landscape in the state's mountains offers prime water for trout fishing. Anglers enjoy the peaceful surroundings as they fish for native brook trout and rainbow trout.
Read More: Best Rivers and Lakes for Trout Fishing in West Virginia
18. Industrial Remnants
Besides an abundance of nature, West Virginia is known for its historic roots in the railroad and mining industries. It is not uncommon to come upon some of the abandoned remnants of these industries, oftentimes with overgrown vegetation that adds a unique visual contrast.
19. West Virginia Park's in Winter
Scenic West Virginia is just as stunning in the winter as it is during other times of the year. The snow and cold weather add an extra element of beauty. From frozen waterfalls to Cardinals settling in for shelter from winter's chill, West Virginia's natural side takes on a new perspective in the winter months.
20. Blackwater Falls
There are so many photo-worthy waterfalls in West Virginia but Blackwater Falls is one of the most impressive, If you can get to Blackwater Falls State Park near Davis in the spring or after a heavy rain, you are likely to find the falls at their prime.