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WV VIPP Canaan Valley, Blackwater Falls
& Cass Scenic RxR State Parks, WV

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On Wednesday, July 8, 2020 I did a 400 mile plus driving loop in West Virginia for my

WV VIPP Program.

I hit 3 different state parks, got my card stamped
and made it back to Manassas, VA in 1 day. Here's how it went:

Three more to go! I left early Wednesday morning, July 8, 2020. I drove west on I66->I81->US48->WV32 to Canaan Valley Resort and State Park. The drive, though long, was wonderful to observe. The Mountain State truly is wild and wonderful. This resort looked rather new. It was definitely first class. I got my card stamped, then backtracked up WV32 to Blackwater Falls State Park.

These two state parks are only about 15 miles apart. I didn't get a chance to check out the falls but I went to the lodge and got my card stamped again.

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Even though this backpacking trip was in VA, we had to drive through West Virginia to get the the Laurel Fork Area, VA in 2000.

This lodge looked a bit older than the last one. There seemed to be more outdoor enthusiasts hanging around here. Mostly bikers and kayakers. I got my card stamped again and took off for my third and final stop of the day.

This was the most interesting part of the drive. I got a nice image of the area around Black Water Falls while leaving the park. I then took WV32 south to Harmon, WV, then US33 east. I stopped at Yokum's store/restaurant and motel to use the facilities. I took a picture of Seneca Rocks across the street. It seemed darker than the last image I took of this rock. I think the best time to capture Seneca Rocks is in late afternoon as the rock has a golden hue to it then. I also thought about a nice camp & hike that I did with the Rag Tag Rangers here years ago.

Then I proceeded east on US33, then went south on WV28. I passed Laurel Fork, another neat place that we backpacked years ago. I then went by the HUGE dish that is part on the NARO in Greenbank, WV. They listen for ET here. I then turned onto WV66 west for the final few miles to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. I had been hitting numerous construction zones along the highways today. A few of them had alternating traffic on them. This one was the worst! They had us sitting in ninety plus degree weather for what seemed like 15 minutes or more. When they finally let us through it looked like they caused a rock slide on the road and had to clean it up. The guard rail on the left side of the road was all jagged and the temporary Jersey Barriers on the right side were all crumpled. And there were rocks piled at least 50 feet high right next to the Jersey Barriers that had an earth mover precariously balanced at the top of that pile. The whole scene looked scarry.

I finally made it to Cass Scenic Railroad. I had to ask where to get my card stamped for this place. They directed me to a small box hanging on the wall of the adjacent Cass, WV postoffice. I stamped my card there. I had backpacked the section of the Allegheny Trail between Durban and Cass, WV with the late Bill Isham and his wife Chris about 15 years ago. I then had a leisurely lunch at the on site restaurant, then started the four hour trek home.

I passed the Ramseys Draft trailhead on the way back. Memories of two great backpacking trips there. West Virginia is a wonderful place to explore. But be advised that if you take US250 from WV28 north of Cass to get back to Virginia, you will be

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treated to a very winding and mountain hugging road. US33 to the north is not much better. I would try to take US48/WV55 or I64 back to VA and avoid US250 or US33 at all costs unless you intend to hike/run/backpack the trails off of 250 and 33.

It took me over four hours to get back home. I got caught in the their rush hour. So the last 4 hours of this trip were not fun.

Now I only have 3 more parks to visit until I get my $25 gift card, a patch and officially become a West Virginia Very Important Parks Person. It was a great day today!

Mike C

Canaan Valley Resort, WV sign
  Canaan Valley Resort, WV sign.
  By Mike Calabrese
Black Water Falls Lodge, WV
  Black Water Falls Lodge, WV.
  By Mike Calabrese

View near Black Water Falls, WV
  View near Black Water Falls, WV.
  By Mike Calabrese
Seneca Rocks, WV
  Seneca Rocks, WV.
  By Mike Calabrese
Cass Scenic RxR SP, WV sign
  Cass Scenic RxR SP, WV sign.
  By Mike Calabrese
Cass Company Store, WV?
  Cass Company Store, WV.
  By Mike Calabrese

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