What is West Virginia Known For? 21+ Things West Virginia is Famous For

From coal mining to “Take me home, country roads”, West Virginia is filled with notable things that make it famous, and if you’re wondering, “what is West Virginia known for?” then you’ve come to the right place!

As an American who has traveled the USA all over, I can tell you that the answer to, “what is West Virginia famous for?” is – quite a lot!

You’ve got the natural beauty, of course, as well as Harpers Ferry, the Blue Ridge Mountains and some popular food items like pepperoni rolls (seriously).

In this guide, we’ll uncover all the cool things West Virginia is known for, including foods West Virginia is famous for and people West Virginia is known for!

1. Natural Beauty

West Virginia’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring.

The state’s landscapes are characterized by the towering peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, lush forests that change color dramatically with the seasons, meandering rivers that cut through valleys, and the tranquil beauty of its countryside.

2. Coal Mining

Coal mining has deep historical and cultural roots in West Virginia.

The state’s coal industry played a crucial role in its economic development and identity, providing jobs and shaping communities.

However, the industry has also brought challenges like environmental concerns and workers’ rights issues.

3. New River Gorge

The New River Gorge is more than just a geological marvel; it’s a hub for adventure and recreation.

The deep, rugged canyon is carved by the New River and offers world-class whitewater rafting, rock climbing on its sandstone cliffs, and hiking along scenic trails.

4. John Denver’s “Country Roads”

John Denver’s iconic song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” has become synonymous with West Virginia.

The song’s heartfelt lyrics and melodic tune celebrate the state’s natural beauty, evoking a sense of nostalgia and a connection to its landscapes.

5. Mountain State

The moniker “Mountain State” is more than just a nickname; it encapsulates West Virginia’s geographical essence.

The state’s rugged terrain is characterized by its rolling hills, deep valleys, and soaring mountain peaks.

The Appalachian Mountains dominate the landscape, shaping the lives of those who call West Virginia home.

6. Statehood and Civil War

West Virginia’s unique path to statehood is a pivotal part of its history.

During the Civil War, the state emerged as a separate entity from Virginia, choosing to remain loyal to the Union.

This decision led to West Virginia’s admission to the United States as the 35th state in 1863.

7. Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains, a prominent subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, add to West Virginia’s scenic allure.

Stretching along the eastern edge of the state, these mountains are known for their mist-covered peaks and vibrant foliage during the fall season.

8. Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry holds a significant place in American history, particularly during the lead-up to the Civil War.

The town’s strategic location at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers made it a crucial transportation and communication hub.

The famous abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the federal armory in 1859 was a pivotal event that highlighted the tensions between the North and the South.

9. Pepperoni Rolls

The pepperoni roll is a culinary creation that has become synonymous with West Virginia.

Originating in the state’s coal mining communities, this simple yet delectable treat consists of soft bread dough wrapped around pepperoni slices.

It was a convenient and portable meal for miners, and it has since become a cherished comfort food for West Virginians.

10. West Virginia University (WVU)

West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, is a major institution of higher education in the state.

With a diverse range of academic programs and a strong emphasis on research and community engagement, WVU plays a vital role in shaping the educational landscape of West Virginia.

11. Bridge Day

Bridge Day is a unique annual event held at the New River Gorge Bridge.

This iconic steel arch bridge is the site of extreme sports and adrenaline-pumping activities during Bridge Day.

People from around the world gather to watch BASE jumpers leap from the bridge, rappellers descend, and rappelling enthusiasts climb back up the gorge wall.

12. Hatfield-McCoy Feud

The Hatfield-McCoy Feud is one of the most infamous family conflicts in American history.

Spanning generations, this feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families originated from a combination of economic, social, and personal disputes.

13. Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks is a striking geological formation that rises dramatically from the surrounding landscape.

Composed of quartzite, these towering cliffs have become a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers seeking both challenge and stunning views.

14. Rural Character

West Virginia’s rural character is a defining aspect of the state’s identity. Small towns and close-knit communities are scattered across its picturesque countryside.

This rural setting fosters a strong sense of community, where neighbors know each other by name and people value their connections with the land.

15. Glass Industry

West Virginia has a history of glass production that dates back to the 19th century.

Companies like Blenko Glass have gained recognition for their craftsmanship and innovation in glassmaking.

The state’s natural resources, such as silica sand, were integral to the growth of the glass industry.

16. Cass Scenic Railroad

The Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers a glimpse into West Virginia’s industrial past while showcasing its natural beauty.

This historic railroad was once used for logging operations in the early 20th century.

Today, visitors can ride vintage steam locomotives up steep grades to Bald Knob, one of the highest points in the state.

17. Outdoor Recreation

West Virginia’s varied landscape makes it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

The state’s abundant natural resources offer a wide range of recreational activities, including fishing in its numerous lakes and rivers, hunting in its forests, hiking along its trails, and camping in its state parks.

18. Ghost Stories and Legends

West Virginia’s rich folklore includes a treasure trove of ghost stories, legends, and myths.

These tales often stem from the state’s history, including its coal mining heritage and its ties to the Civil War.

19. State Parks

West Virginia’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty is evident through its extensive network of state parks.

These parks provide opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and immersion in nature.

From the serene landscapes of Watoga State Park to the rugged beauty of Blackwater Falls State Park, each park offers a unique experience.

20. Music and Heritage

West Virginia’s music heritage is deeply rooted in its Appalachian culture.

Traditional mountain music, including bluegrass, folk, and old-time music, has thrived in the state for generations.

Festivals and gatherings celebrate this musical heritage, where locals and visitors can enjoy live performances, square dances, and jam sessions.

21. Historical Landmarks

West Virginia is home to a wealth of historical landmarks that highlight its role in shaping American history.

Sites like the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston showcase architectural beauty and political significance.

Want to know what things the other US states are known for? Check out our other guides!

Get the All-American Travel Secrets!

Don't miss out on America's hidden gems!

Leave this field blank

Leave a Comment