Highland Scenic Highway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (1996)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
- Length43 miles
Travel through a wild and undeveloped portion of the Monongahela National Forest. Hardwood forests cover rolling, mountainous terrain capped by dark spruce at high elevations. Traverse a narrow and steep-walled valley with views of clear mountain streams. Sights include Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Summit Lake, and Falls of Hills Creek.
Story of the Byway
In the 1990s, population growth and the wish to conserve some of the forested foothills of the Cascades provided the impetus for the conservation of a large swath of land by the public —resulting in a vision for the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
Between Richwood, West Virginia, and US 219 north of Marlinton, WV the route includes WV 55, 39, and 150. The byway starts at the city of Richwood on SR 55. Take SR 55 east until the Highway become SR 150. Take SR 150 east until the route ends at the edge of the Monogahela National Forest, at the junction of SR 150 and US 219.
Points of Interest
Falls of Hills Creek
Tucked away in a narrow gorge just off the Highland Scenic Highway is a hidden treasure known as the Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area. This popular 114 acre area contains three waterfalls - 25 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet. The lower falls, at 63 feet is the second highest waterfall in West Virginia.
Monongahela National Forest
Monongahela National Forest provides visitors with scenic vistas, country roads, flowing streams and abundant plant and animal life. It was established in 1920 and encompasses one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the United States. Elevations range from just under 1,000 feet to 4,863 feet above sea level. Monongahela National Forest is a working forest providing timber, water, grazing, minerals and recreational opportunities.
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area protects the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. Bogs are acidic wetlands more commonly found in the northern areas of this country and in Canada. The ground in a bog is spongy and consists largely of partially-decayed plant material known as peat. Because of its unique conditions, some unusual plants grow in bogs, including carnivorous or insect-eating plants. The Botanical Area encompasses 750 acres.
Over the River and Through the Woods
Starting in Fenwick, head east along route 39 and take in the natural beauty of the Highland Scenic Highway and the Monongahela National Forest. You will immediately pass by the town of Richwood which you can stop by to take in the local culture, but up ahead on the road is where the real possibilities are.
Soon after Richwood, you will come across Summit Lake and its campground. This Lake’s pristine waters are gorgeous with the Monongahela National Forest as a wonderful background. If you like, you can set up camp here during the middle of the day, travel along the Byway, and then come back at night to spend the night.
After there, as you continue along the Byway you will eventually hit the Cranberry Wilderness. This is for true nature lovers, as there are hiking trails galore to see some of the most beautiful wildlife in the entire area. If you want a spot to take in the views, the Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area is located right off of the road. Close by is the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area that preserves the most beautiful plant life and is a real treat to visit.
As you follow signs for route 50, you can take in all of the beauty of the area from your car, or on one of the many trails along the way. You will cut through forest, travel over running rivers, and see wildlife in their natural habitat at the end of this Byway at the intersection of routes 150 and 219.
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