Are you in search of an off-the-beaten-path destination with a unique blend of history, outdoor activities, culinary experiences, and cozy accommodation options? Look no further than Hinton, West Virginia! This hidden gem nestled amid the Appalachian Mountains boasts a fascinating past, breathtaking natural beauty, and warm hospitality. Whether you're a history buff, an adventure seeker, or a traveler looking for an authentic Appalachian getaway, Hinton has something to offer you. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and join me on a journey to discover the charm of Hinton, West Virginia!
Let's start our Hinton adventure with a glimpse into its rich history. Also known as the "Gateway to the New River Gorge," Hinton was a thriving railroad town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to its strategic location on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Today, visitors can explore the town's colorful past at the Hinton Railroad Museum, housed in the former C&O Railway Passenger Depot. Here, you can see antique locomotives, railcars, and other artifacts that tell the story of Hinton's role in the development of the American railroad industry. There are also guided tours, train rides, and special events throughout the year, so check the museum's website for details.
Just outside the Hinton area, near Talcott WV is the John Henry Monument and Historical Park. You all remember the story about John Henry? If not let me tell you a little bit. Legend has it that the "Steel Driving Man" out worked a steam powered drill, but unfortunately lost his life due to all his hard work. There is a monument and tunnel located there, also if you look closely at the tunnel, you can see chisel marks from men trying to dig out this tunnel. Supposedly there is a graveyard located near the river. It is a mass graveyard for all the men that worked on this tunnel, but none of the graves are marked, so who knows if John Henry was a true "Steel Driving Man", or a Legend to compete with the steam drill.
It's time to enjoy some outdoor fun in Hinton's breathtaking natural surroundings. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a casual nature lover, you'll find plenty of trails, parks, and rivers to explore in the area. One must-visit spot is the Summers County Hike and Bike Trail, a 10-mile paved trail that winds through Hinton and beyond, offering stunning views and opportunities to spot wildlife. For water sports enthusiasts, the New River offers world-class white-water rafting, kayaking, and fishing, while the Greenbrier River State Park offers canoeing, swimming, and picnicking. Don't forget to bring your camera and capture the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains in autumn when the foliage explodes in a riot of colors. There are plenty of tour groups to take you down the river. Like Waterdawg Outdoors, and Cantrell Ultimate Rafting.
Plus, in case you were not aware, this area is part of the New River Gorge National Park. It Became a national park back in 2020, so now the rest of the United States is becoming aware of the wonders of West Virginia. The wonders that West Virginias have known about forever. The national park is huge, one day I will do a blog just on it.
Other attractions include:
Sandstone Falls and Boardwalk- Small in height, but extra-long in width. Check out the falls area and walk the boardwalk. Part of the New River Gorge National Park (the south part of National Park)
Bluestone Lake and Dam- a functioning dam which is a nice place to stop and take a photo.
Three Rivers Avian Center- Get up close to the birds that have been rescued in the area and learn about them.
Fall Branch Trailhead for Hiking- Great hiking trail for those experienced hikers.
Hinton Historic District- in downtown Hinton
Veterans Memorial Museum- In downtown Hinton
Richmond Hamilton Farm- Part of the New River Gorge National Park. An old farmhouse that still stand you can take a look at.
Bluestone State Park-Beautiful Park you can hike, and camp at, close to Bluestone Lake
Pipestem Resort State Park- State Park with a lookout tower you can climb, a pool, and a tram that take you down to a beach on the river and a wonderful restaurant.
......and many places to stop to take a picture for a scenic overlook.
After working up an appetite in the great outdoors, it's time to sample Hinton's delicious local cuisine. Of course, there are some fast-food options, but these are my favorites in the city.
For a more casual vibe, head to the Market on Courthouse Square, a farmer's market and cafe that serves delicious sandwiches, coffee, and baked goods made with locally sourced ingredients.
River City Pub and Grill has some all-American Favorites with an amazing view of the river.
One of my favorites in Hinton is the Dairy Queen, sitting and watching the river go by as you eat your yummy hot dog. They have the best hot dogs, just as good as my favorite Dairy Queen Hot Dogs in Bluefield WV.
Kirks is also a wonderful place for affordable food. They serve American Food and have a place where you can sit outside and enjoy looking a the New River while you eat.
To complete your Hinton experience, you need to choose your ideal accommodation. Whether you prefer a cozy bed-and-breakfast, a rustic cabin, or a luxury resort, Hinton has a range of options that cater to every taste and budget.
For a historic charm, stay at The Guest House Inn on Courthouse Square, a restored Victorian mansion that features spacious rooms, period decor, and a charming garden.
If you're looking for a peaceful getaway surrounded by nature, book a cabin at Pipestem Resort State Park, located just a short drive from Hinton. The park offers well-appointed cabins and cottages with modern amenities and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
For a luxurious stay, check in at the Resort at Glade Springs, a four-season resort with indulgent spa treatments, outdoor adventures, golf courses, and gourmet dining. This Resort is wonderful but located about 30 minutes away in Daniels West Virginia.
Other places to lay your head,
Princeton WV located about 30 minutes away has plenty of chain hotels to stay at
Check out Airbnb and VRBO, tons of cabins for rent too.
As you can see, Hinton, West Virginia, a hidden gem nestled amid the Appalachian Mountains, offers a perfect blend of history, outdoor activities, culinary experiences, and cozy accommodation options. This off-the-beaten-path destination has something to offer everyone, from history buffs to adventure seekers to foodies. So, if you're looking for an authentic Appalachian getaway that's sure to charm you with its warmth and beauty, pack your bags and head to Hinton!