Route 60 West Virginia – Something for Everyone
One of the most beautiful road trips in West Virginia (and popular with motorcyclists) is Rt 60 in the New River Gorge area. This is a trip that we try to make each year. Starting from Charleston we head East on Rt. 60 toward the town of Gauley Bridge. As you leave the Charleston area you will ride enjoy the ride through several small towns.
Our first stop is usually Kanawha Falls which is a wide falls that spans the river with a drop of about 15 feet. There are opportunities for fishing, boating, or just skipping rocks and this is a scenic stop with lots of parking.
Just past Kanawha Falls on Rt. 60 you will find the Glenn Ferris Inn. Having been built in the early 1800’s the Inn today serves as a hotel and restaurant. The Inn offers a dining room overlooking the falls and we usually try to arrive before 10:30am if we want to have breakfast at the Inn.
After Glenn Ferris, we continue on Rt 60 east bound. Riders should pay close attention to the speed limits posted in the small town of Gauley Bridge as it is strictly enforced. After passing through town note that small cabin built on a rock in the middle of the river? Actually, it is a school bus. Many years ago a local resident moved the bus onto the rock and used it as a personal camp. Today you can’t see the bus much but it’s still a WV novelty to be aware of.
Our next scenic stop might include Cathedral Falls located just past Gauley Bridge but still on Rt. 60. Cathedral falls parking area is usually pretty full on a summer day if the falls are running (they can run slow during dry periods) but it is definitely a photo opp.
Back in the car or on the bikes we continue east bound and here is where the road gets fun. Offering some nice twisty turns, Rt 60 ascends towards our next destination in a series of turns and switchbacks with passing lanes in numerous areas. We stay left on 60 when Rt 16 could have taken us right to Fayetteville, a story for another day, and before long we encounter another tourist stop that may draw you in and definitely will if you have children in tow. The Mystery Hole is a sight like none other and can’t be missed as it consists of a building with a Volkswagen Beetle jutting from the side.
The Mystery Hole is a gravity defying place of wonders to hear the spill provided by their tour guide and can be a great place for a few laughs and a stretch of your legs.
Next we are back on the road for a short dash up to Hawks Nest State Park and a beautiful overlook of the New River Gorge area. There is a lodge, restaurant, souvenir shop, and picnic area here and it is a popular destination for tourists and day trippers alike. Take a few minutes to visit the overlook or take the tram to the bottom of the gorge. You will enjoy this scenic stop.
Beyond Hawks Nest on Rt 60 you will travel through the small town of Hico. Here you will also find (surprise) one of West Virginia’s Harley Davidson dealerships. New River Gorge Harley Davidson offers a large show room, friendly staff, and service center. Stop in and you might finish the ride on a new bike.
As you continue east on Rt 60, a number of other great stops can be found and we will write all about them another day. But, for this post we will end our trip as we come to the cross roads of Rt. 19 which crosses the New River Bridge. This bridge is one of the worlds longest arch span bridges and once each year ruin October is home to a legal bridge jump known as Bridge Day. On Bridge Day thousands of visitors crowd the bridge to watch BASE jumpers parachute from the bridge to the river area below. But, whether you are here for Bridge Day or just a summer vacation, stop at the visitors center or travel to the base of the mountain for a beautiful view if the bridge from below and we are sure you’ll enjoy yourself.
A great campground to use as your base camp for exploring the Rt 60 area is Babcock State Park located in Clifftop, WV.
Babcock State Park offers its guests 4,127 acres of serene, yet rugged beauty, a fast flowing trout stream in a boulder-strewn canyon and mountainous vistas to be viewed from several scenic overlooks. All of this variety is located adjacent to the New River Gorge National ‘River and the heart of the whitewater rafting industry of West Virginia.
Also located within the park is the Glade Creek Grist Mill. The mill is a new one that was completed in 1976 at Babcock. Fully operable, this mill was built as a re-creation of one which once ground grain on Glade Creek long before Babcock became a state park. Known as Cooper’s Mill, it stood on the present location of the park’s administration building parking lot.
For more exciting things to see and do in the area, visit –