Urbex Underground

12 Ghost Towns In West Virginia [MAP]

Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by Urbex Underground

If you’re searching for ghost towns in West Virginia, we’ve got you covered! Below are 12 different ghost towns you can explore across Illinois along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

We rate ghost towns in West Virginia based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

  • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers .
  • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone .
  • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
  • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families .
  • Semi-Abandoned : Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
  • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.

1. Nuttallburg

2. brooklyn, 5. rutherford, 6. stotesbury, 7. virginius island, 8. blue sulphur springs, 10. thurmond, the anarchist’s guide to exploration.

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the world of urban exploration, this book is for you. Learn how to uncover more abandoned places and the techniques used to capture their beauty.

38.05053, -81.04255 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

Located in south-central West Virginia, Nuttallburg was once a thriving coal mining town.It was named after a coal prospector named John Nuttall, who planned to build a railroad hub near the town to sell coal. The town of Nuttallburg became the second mining town in the area. The C&O railroad was built in 1873, making it the second coal-shipping center in the region. The town thrived from the 1870s until 1958, when the mines closed.

What’s Left?

Today, the town is owned by the National Park Service, but hiking is not a bad idea. Visitors can explore abandoned mine buildings and hike through a green river gorge, as well as view looming tipples and railroad tracks.

Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, this is in my top three. When visiting the roads can get rocky and narrow so make sure you visit during good weather.

38.00119, -81.0329 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

Brooklyn is one of many old abandoned mining towns located along the New River. The town was supported by the Finlow mine, which produced coal from 1894 to 1895. Another mine was opened nearby but ran dry around 1904. Before becoming abandoned, the town supported a little under 200 people.

There are tons of old foundations, ruins, and concrete structures scattered across the woods, many covered in a thick layer of moss and foliage. You can easily access this ghost town via the Cunard River Access road located along the Southside Trail. If you’re interested in camping, this is one of the best ghost towns in West Virginia to camp at for the night.

37.99694, -81.01891 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

Sewell was another coal town located along the New River. The town helped transform coal mined in the area into coke with the aid of coke ovens. This coke was used in blast furnaces for smelting iron which was in high demand at the time.

During peak operation, Sewell had over 200 coke ovens working non-stop. With demand falling, the coke oven was finally shut down in 1956, with the last resident leaving in 1973.

 There are plenty of ruins left behind for urban explorers and photographers to see. You can still see many of the stones used in the coke ovens as well as the walls of the engine houses and rusting mining equipment. Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, Sewell is among the best preserved.

37.89691, -80.96859 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

The town’s past is rooted in the coal mining industry. There were nine mines in operation by 1919, but most of them closed by the 1950s. However, some continued operating until the 1980s. In 1915 a mining explosion killed 112 people, making this one of the worst mining disasters in the area.

One of the best-preserved parts of this ghost town is the coal houses, just north of the coordinates marked below. These houses are where the workers used to live while mining. Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, Layland is my personal favorite.

39.15063, -81.17066 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

Rutherford started as a lumber camp in 1881 along the Cairo and Kanawha Valley Railroad. The town never grew larger than 90 people. Despite the small number of residents, the town had a church, post office, school, and general store.

Today, the store, and four collapsing houses is all that remains of Rutherford.

37.68166, -81.28861 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

This abandoned coal mining community is now surrounded by woods. Built almost a century ago, the Stotesbury coal camp was home to a small African-American community. Once a thriving community, the town was home to more than 20,000 people.

The community thrived during the 1930s. The town was founded in 1885 and named for a pioneer settler, Stephen Sewell. The Mann’s Creek Railroad operated between 1886 and 1955. The community is now an unincorporated neighborhood in Raleigh County.

Today, the town is a quaint and charming ghost town. Its name comes from a pioneer settler named Edward T. Stotesbury. A tour of the town will take you back to the old days of coal mining. The cemetery was constructed behind the camp’s “affluent” side, which is still visible today along with a few abandoned homes and a church.

39.3221, -77.73978 Status: Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

The town was once an independent settlement with several businesses. Water mills were the primary industry, and the town was eventually abandoned by 1936 after a flood pushed the remaining families out.

Today little remains other than some scattered ruins and old foundations. Since part of the town was located on an island, this is one of the most inaccessible ghost towns in West Virginia.

37.84744, -80.62634 Status: Barren

best ghost towns in west virginia

The original resort consisted of a three-story hotel with 200 rooms and a bathhouse. The resort closed during the Civil War, but the building’s name lives on.  The pavilion survived the fire that destroyed the resort, and the Greenbrier Historical Society is currently looking at preserving the remains.

The only thing left standing is the 33-square foot “temple”. The building is an example of Greek Revival architecture that once sprawled across the entire property. While this isn’t the most exciting ghost town in West Virginia, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby.

39.23277, -81.28472 Status: Barren

best ghost towns in west virginia

If you want to see a real ghost town, then look no further than Volcano, West Virginia. This old town was a petroleum boomtown that burned down in 1879. The skyline was dotted with gas flares at night, making it look like a real volcano.

Other sites that were destroyed include Hizer’s meat market, the post office, Kennedy’s restaurant, the Nicholi hotel, and Pontious and Hardy’s office. There were also the remains of several businesses, including Whitman’s store and his dwelling. A pumping station for the Transportation Co. was also a significant ruin. There was also a barrel house, the Volcano enginehouse, and Smith’s boiler works.

 Routes 5 and 28 pass through this town-site. There is a museum and gift shop at the town site, as well as a history lesson about this abandoned town. While there are little no surviving remnants, it’s still one of the most unique sounding ghost towns in West Virginia.

37.9615, -81.08232 Status: Historic

best ghost towns in west virginia

When you arrive in Thurmond, West Virginia, you may not believe you are actually visiting a ghost town. The town was once a thriving railroad town that was once plagued with gunfights and violence.  In the 1950 census, Thurmond had more coal running through it than there are people. The town was once thriving, with businesses and facilities for the C&O Railway. 

Today, the town is just a ghost town, with only a few original buildings. Many of those buildings are well preserved along the railroad. Explorers who venture away from those buildings can even find abandoned homes up on the hill.

38.04667, -80.99205 Status: Semi-Abandoned

best ghost towns in west virginia

While Winona is still a town, it’s barely inhabited today. The town was settled in 1870 and named after Winona Gwinn, who was the daughter of Willian Gwinn who operated the hotel in town.

Outside of the few residents who live in the area, explorers can find abandoned rail bridges, stone foundations, homes, and vacant general store.

Go out and explore!

That concludes our list of ghost towns in West Virginia but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places , or explore other ghost towns across the country .

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Scenic States

Boom to Bust: Exploring West Virginia Ghost Towns

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What were once thriving, booming towns years ago are now abandoned and have become West Virginia ghost towns today.

Whether you love the architecture of old buildings and structures of these old towns, or you’re after the curious – sometimes crazy or unbelievable – ghost stories ( which I absolutely love ), it’s fun both facts and fiction about a place.

For this post, I’ve found out everything I could about West Virginia’s ghost towns.

6 Abandoned West Virginia Ghost Towns

Many towns sprouted along the New River Gorge years ago because of the expansion of railroads and the coal industry. Here are just six examples of these once-booming towns…

1. Nuttallburg West Virginia

West Virginia ghost towns

  • Location : New River in Fayette County, West Virginia 25840
  • Is it safe to visit? Yes

Nuttallburg, West Virginia used to be a coal mining town established by entrepreneur John Nuttall.

  • Established : John Nuttall opened mining businesses in western Pennsylvania. Starting in 1870, he began acquiring land along the New River to get first dibs once the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) was completed.
  • Boom : By the time C&O started operations in 1873, Nuttall’s coal mining business became one of the leading companies in the town’s “smokeless” coal industry. The town’s popularity doubled when Henry Ford acquired mining rights from the Nuttall family in the 1920s.
  • Downfall : Unfortunately, when the mines closed in 1958, the few people residing in the area found greener pastures somewhere else as well.

Nuttallburg West Virginia Today

In 1998, the Nuttall family transferred ownership to the National Park Service (NPS) and it was included in the New River Gorge National River.

By 2005, Nuttallburg’s remaining structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After the NPS conducted a multi-year program that stabilized all mining structures that were left behind, Nuttallburg is now open to the public and serves as one of the most intact examples of West Virginia’s traditional coal mining businesses of the past.

You can still see ruins of railroad tracks, and traces of the mines from old brick ovens to coal-processing sites. Visitors can also take hikes in the woods and find mining ruins. Because the town was preserved, many of the areas are marked with signs as well.

2. Thurmond

abandoned West Virginia cities

  • Location : West Virginia 25901
  • Is it safe to visit? Yes, but not along the train tracks

If you love exploring abandoned buildings and houses, you’ll love everything about Thurmond, West Virginia.

  • Established : The town of Thurmond was established in the 1880s by Captain William D. Thurmond and incorporated three decades later. Thurmond’s 73-acre land was perfectly bordering the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) line, which meant it served miners working in the area and living with their families nearby.
  • Boom : During its heyday, Thurmond was a business center, a flourishing town and ‘the’ party place in West Virginia. In the 1920s, the town’s rail was significantly busy passing coal from one town to the next with 15 trains carrying about 95,000 passengers each day. It was also a famous stop among river rafters.
  • Downfall : Several reasons caused the “bust” of Thurmond from 1921 onward. One reason is the development of cars and increase in railroad stations stopp at other stops. But two major events led to many people abandoning the town – first was a fire that closed down the popular Dun Glen hotel, and the Great Depression from 1929–1941. By the start of 1950s, Thurmond was already a ghost town.

Thurmond ghost town West Virginia

Thurmond West Virginia Today

Technically speaking, Thurmond isn’t totally abandoned. There are about 5 people who still live there today.

The National Park Service owns about 80% of Thurmond. The entire town is designated a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places. This is a good thing – since these organizations have ensured that the remaining structures (a bank, hotels, the train stations, town hall, and other mine ruins) are well-preserved.

Thurmond WV ghost town

How Can You Visit Thurmond, West Virginia

If you can only visit just one ghost town in West Virginia, Thurmond should be it.

Not only does the town have the most spots of things to see (here’s an awesome guide on the Thurmond Walking Tour ), you can also join river rafting tours ( like this ).

3. Prince, West Virginia

  • Location : West Virginia 25813

best ghost towns in west virginia

  • Established : Brothers James and William Prince purchased 300 acres of land from General Alfred Beckley in 1870. It was perfect timing, since the the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad began operations in 1873.
  • Boom : Unlike other West Virginia ghost towns that used to be thriving mining towns, Prince town didn’t follow that path. Instead, Prince was a place of commerce for nearby mining towns on Laurel and Piney Creek. At the time, it served as a travel hub for passengers of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

abandoned Prince town in West Virginia

  • Downfall : The first Prince Station was built in 1880 and rebuilt in 1917 after being damaged from a fire. The current station was completed in 1946, but it didn’t operate as it was originally intended (from Washington to Cincinnati Ohio). Although not as busy as before, Prince Station is still operational with schedules several times a week.

Today, Prince town is eerily quiet and abandoned, but it offers a good daytrip destination if you plan to visit waterfalls, hot springs, or explore New River Gorge.

4. Stotesbury, West Virginia

Stotesbury West Virginia

  • Location : West Virginia 25915

Named after Edward T. Stotesbury, who was then the president of Beaver Coal Company, Stotesbury used to be a coal town in Raleigh County.

The mining operates in Stotebury changed hands several times:

  • E.E. White Coal Co. originally operated the Stoesbury mining camp. From the late 1930s until 1958, the Koppers Coal Company took over the coal mining operations in town.
  • The mining business was rebuilt and reopened by Eastern Associated Coal in the 1960s and operated the mine until mid-80s.
  • The latest company to run the mines was White Mountain LLC, which operated from 2001 to 2002.

Today, you can still find ruins of abandoned company houses, mining structures, and Stotebury’s St. John Baptist Church, which has been listed as an Endangered Building by the “National Trust for Historic Preservation.”

Kaymoor

  • Location : New River Gorge, West Virginia 25840, USA
  • Is it safe to visit? Yes, but requires hiking

Kaymoor is another coal-mining town along the New River Gorge.

  • Established : Kaymoor town was established in 1899 when the Low Moor Coal Company was opened. The town itself was named after James Kay and Low Moor. The people who worked here ( around 800 of them ) at the time came from other states and European countries like Poland.
  • Boom : From 1900 to 1962, Kaymoor produced over 16 million tons of coal. It was one of the most productive coal-mining towns at the time.
  • Downfall : In 1960, a fire destroyed much of Kaymoor. The mine shut down a few years later.

Kaymoor Trail Bridge

Kaymoor West Virginia Today

Today, the National Park Service owns most of Kaymoor.

The town is only accessible by hiking. You also need to take about 820 stairs down to reach the old mining town, where you can still see the main mining complex, the railroad, and the old coal camp, but embraced by overgrown trees and bushes.

The best thing I like about the town are the historic signs, which you can still see hanging to this day.

After touring the town, save some energy on the way back up. You’re going to climb those stairs up on your way back to your car.

6. Quinnimont

abandoned Quinnimont West Virginia

  • Location : New River Gorge, West Virginia 25976, USA

Even during its heyday, Quinnimont already felt like one of the West Virginia ghost towns of today.

  • Established : Named after the five mountains that surround the town, Quinnimont was established when Jacob Smith settled here in 1827. His plan was to develop the rich fertile land for farming.
  • Boom : Quinnimont became industrialized in 1870 when Quinnimont Charter Oak and Iron Company built an iron furnace and operated it for 3 years. By 1880, over 100 coke ovens were running in town. When the C&O Rail was completed in 1873, Quinnimont became a major shipping point for the New River Coal Fields as well.
  • Downfall : Like other mines nearby, Quinnimont’s downfall began after 1953 when mining companies in town and those located in other towns but pass by via railroad in transporting coal closed one after the next. Its 500 residents moved out as well.

Today, you can still have a glimpse of a pair of churches, the town’s cemeteries, and remnants of the iron furnace. There is also a tall granite monument erected by his fellow “Coal Barons” to honor Col. Joseph Beury as the first mining operator to ship coal from the New River fields.

Beyond West Virginia Ghost Towns

If you’re traveling around West Virginia and want to maximize your adventures, check out these attractions nearby and add them to your itinerary:

  • West Virginia caves
  • West Virginia waterfalls
  • West Virginia water parks

I’ve also written a guide about the 20 best things to do in West Virginia for all ages.

For other ghost towns across the country, I’ve shared about abandoned towns in Indiana , North Carolina , Pennsylvania , Missouri , Tennessee , and Ohio .

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This Place Feels Off

Ghost Towns In West Virginia

Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey back in time? Brace yourself as we delve into the mysterious world of ghost towns in West Virginia. These forgotten places hold the secrets of a bygone era, where bustling communities once thrived and now lie eerily abandoned.

Imagine stepping into the shoes of the past, where the echoes of long-lost voices still linger. As you explore these ghost towns, you’ll be transported to a time when coal mining town and railroad structures hubs shaped the landscape of West Virginia.

From the once-bustling railroad town of Thurmond to the industrial ruins of Kaymoor, each ghost towns of West Virginia has its own captivating story to tell.

In this article, we will take you on a captivating journey through nine or more ghost towns of West Virginia, where you will witness the remnants of once-vibrant communities frozen in time. You’ll discover the fascinating history of Nuttallburg and its significance in the coal mining era, as well as the haunting beauty of Elkins, a town in west Virginia that experienced both booms and busts.

Prepare to be captivated by the historic Civil War site of Droop Mountain and the tragic tale of Rush Run, a community lost to the sands of time.

So, grab your sense of adventure and get ready to journey back in time as we uncover the secrets and stories hidden within the ghost towns of West Virginia. It’s a journey that will satisfy your thirst for history and provide a sense of safety as you explore the remnants of a once-thriving past.

Let’s begin our exploration and unlock the mysteries of these ghost towns together.

1. Thurmond: A Once-Bustling Railroad Town Of West Virginia

towns in west virginians - beaver coal company

As you walk through the quiet streets of Thurmond , you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the once-thriving railroad town of west Virginia. The dilapidated buildings and overgrown tracks serve as a haunting reminder of the bustling activity that once filled this place.

The echoes of train whistles and the laughter of people long gone seem to linger in the air, creating an eerie yet captivating atmosphere. It’s as if time has stood still in Thurmond, frozen in a moment of history.

Despite its ghostly appearance, there’s an undeniable charm to this forgotten thriving town. It’s a place where you can escape the chaos of the modern world and immerse yourself in the simplicity of the past. There’s a subconscious desire for safety that draws you in, a longing for a time when life was slower and more predictable.

As you explore the remnants of Thurmond, you can’t help but feel a sense of comfort in the familiarity of the past, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment.

2. Nuttallburg West Virginia: A Window into the Coal Mining Era

towns in west virginians - chesapeake and ohio railroad

Nuttallburg offers a fascinating glimpse into the coal mining era, transporting you to a bygone era of industry and hard work. As you step into this ghost town of West Virginia, you can almost hear the echoes of pickaxes and the rumble of coal production carts.

The crumbling ruins of the coal production tipple stand as a testament to the laborious days of the town’s mines, who risked their lives every day to extract the black gold from the earth. You can’t help but feel a sense of awe and respect for their bravery and determination.

As you explore the town, the remains of the coke ovens and the company store tell stories of a tight-knit community that relied on each other for support and survival. Walking through the empty streets, you can almost imagine the hustle and bustle that once filled this place.

But amidst the nostalgia, there is a subconscious desire for safety. The crumbling structures and abandoned mine shafts serve as a reminder of the dangers that these miners face on a daily basis.

Nuttallburg is not just a ghost towns; it is a window into a time when hard work and sacrifice were the norm. So take a step back in time, but remember to appreciate the safety and security of the present day.

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3. Kaymoor: Exploring the Industrial Ruins

towns in west virginians - industrial cities, river gorge national park

Kaymoor invites you to step into a world of industrial ruins, where the remnants of a once-thriving coal mining operation stand like a haunting melody.

As you explore this ghost town, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the sheer size and scale of the abandoned structures.

The towering coal tipple, rusted machinery, and decaying buildings serve as a powerful reminder of the industry that once fueled the region’s economy.

But amidst the beauty and history, there is also a subconscious desire for safety.

The dilapidated structures and crumbling foundations remind you to tread carefully, to be aware of your surroundings.

It’s a bittersweet experience, being able to witness the past while also recognizing the potential dangers that come with exploring these ruins.

But Kaymoor is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the people who once worked here, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of safety in any industrial setting.

4. Elkins: From Boom to Bust

towns in west virginians - old mining equipment

Elkins , once a thriving industrial city, now stands as a testament to the rise and fall of industry in the heart of Appalachia.

As you walk through the streets, you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the bustling days of the past.

The abandoned factories and empty storefronts serve as a reminder of the boom that once was.

It’s a haunting sight, but there’s also a strange comfort in knowing that this mining town, frozen in time, is a place where you can explore and learn without any real danger.

It’s like stepping into a time capsule, where the ghosts of the past whisper their stories to those who are willing to listen.

So, wander through the empty buildings, imagining the workers who once filled them with life.

Take a moment to appreciate the quiet beauty that now envelopes the city, and let yourself be transported back to a time when Elkins was at its peak.

5. Droop Mountain: A Historic Civil War Site

west virginia ghost towns - mining equipment, river gorge national park

As you explore the historic Droop Mountain , you can’t help but feel a sense of awe as you imagine the soldiers who once traversed these hallowed grounds during the War.

It’s as if their presence lingers in the air, reminding you of the sacrifices and bravery that took place here.

The rolling hills and dense forests create a serene backdrop, but underneath the tranquility lies a story of turmoil and conflict.

You can almost hear the sounds of marching boots and the echoes of cannons in the distance.

While the thought of war may be unsettling, being in this place allows you to appreciate the safety and peace that you have today.

It’s a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the strength that can be found in unity.

So take a moment to soak in the history and pay tribute to the soldiers who fought for what they believed in.

6. Harpers Ferry: Where History and Haunting Converge

west virginia ghost towns - first mining operation

Immerse yourself in the rich history and ethereal atmosphere of Harpers Ferry , where the convergence of past events and mysterious encounters will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

As you wander through the cobblestone streets and historic buildings of West Virginia, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder.

The echoes of the past seem to linger in every corner, whispering tales of the town’s role in the Civil War and the abolitionist movement.

But it’s not just history that haunts Harpers Ferry.

There have been countless reports of ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena, adding an extra layer of intrigue to this already captivating destination.

As you explore the battlefields and visit the old armory, keep an eye out for any signs of the supernatural.

But fear not, for the town’s friendly locals are always willing to share their stories and ensure your safety.

So, embrace the history and embrace the mystery, as Harpers Ferry beckons you to uncover its secrets and experience a journey like no other.

7. Coalwood: The Inspiration Behind “Rocket Boys”

best ghost towns in west virginia

Located in McDowell County, Coalwood is a small mining town that served as the inspiration for the beloved memoir-turned film, ‘Rocket Boys.

Nestled in the heart of West Virginia, this charming town takes you on a journey back in time, where the spirit of community and the pursuit of dreams were at the forefront.

As you explore the remnants of the provide coal mines and the rustic houses, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and admiration for the resilience of the people who once called this place home.

The story of ‘Rocket Boys’ is a testament to the power of dreams and the determination to overcome obstacles.

Walking through the streets of Coalwood, you can almost hear the echoes of laughter and the whispers of inspiration that once filled the air.

It’s a place that reminds us of the importance of chasing our passions and never giving up, even in the face of adversity.

So come, step into the shoes of the ‘Rocket Boys’ and let Coalwood ignite your imagination and fuel your own dreams.

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8. Bramwell: The Millionaires’ Ghost Town

best ghost towns in west virginia

Step into Bramwell , where the echoes of opulence can still be heard in the grand mansions that line the streets, like whispers of a bygone era.

As you walk through this ghost town, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the extravagant homes that once belonged to the wealthy coal barons of the early 1900s.

The town’s decline may have left it deserted, but the remnants of its glory days still remain.

You can almost imagine the sound of laughter and music emanating from the ballrooms, and picture the elegant parties that were once held in these now-empty halls.

It’s a hauntingly beautiful place, frozen in time, where you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for a time long past.

So step into Bramwell, and let yourself be transported back to a time of opulence and grandeur, where the whispers of the past still linger in the air.

9. Malden: A Tragic Flood and Forgotten History

west virginia coal mining - small town

Tragically swept away by a devastating flood, Malden ‘s forgotten history tells a heartbreaking tale of loss and resilience. As you wander through the remnants of this once-vibrant town, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and sadness.

The floodwaters may have taken away the physical structures, but the spirit of the people lives on. Imagining the bustling streets and the sound of laughter echoing through the air, you can’t help but appreciate the safety and security of your own world.

Malden serves as a powerful reminder of the unpredictable nature of life and the importance of cherishing the present.

10. Cass: A Locomotive Graveyard

west virginia coal mining

Amidst the wilderness lies Cass , a hauntingly beautiful graveyard of abandoned locomotives. As you wander through this eerie landscape, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and curiosity.

The decaying trains stand as silent witnesses to a bygone era, a reminder of the once-thriving industry that brought life to this remote corner of West Virginia. The rusted metal and crumbling wood tell a story of hard work and perseverance, but also of the passage of time and the inevitable decay of all things.

As you explore this ghostly place, you can’t help but feel a mixture of fascination and melancholy. The trains that once roared with power now rest in eternal slumber, a solemn reminder of the fragility of human endeavors. Yet, amidst the sadness, there is also a certain beauty in the decay.

The peeling paint and weathered surfaces create a hauntingly captivating sight, drawing you further into the history of this forgotten place. It’s a journey back in time, a chance to reflect on the past and the transient nature of our own existence.

So as you walk among the remnants of these locomotives, take a moment to appreciate the safety and comfort of the present, for in this ghost town, time stands still, and the echoes of the past are forever preserved.

11. Glen Ferris: The Forgotten Hydroelectric Town

west virginia coal mining

Now that you’ve explored the eerie locomotive graveyard in Cass, it’s time to journey further into the forgotten history of West Virginia.

Brace yourself for a captivating tale that will transport you to Glen Ferris , a once-thriving hydroelectric town that now lies silently in the shadows of time.

As you wander through the remnants of this ghostly town, you can almost hear the whispers of its past glory.

The rushing waters of the Kanawha River, which once powered the town’s hydroelectric plant, now serve as a haunting reminder of the energy and life that once flowed through Glen Ferris.

It’s a place where the echo of forgotten dreams mingles with the gentle rustling of the trees, beckoning you to explore its hidden secrets.

But be warned, as you delve deeper into the history of this forgotten town of west Virginia, you may find yourself yearning for the safety and comfort of the present.

12. Rush Run: A Community Lost to Time

west virginia coal mining

As you venture further into the forgotten history of West Virginia, prepare to be captivated by the tale of Rush Run , a lost community that has been swallowed by the relentless passage of time. Once a thriving hub of activity, Rush Run now lies abandoned, its buildings crumbling and nature reclaiming the land.

As you walk through the deserted streets, you can almost hear the echoes of laughter and the hustle and bustle of daily life that once filled this place. It’s a haunting reminder of the transient nature of human existence and the impermanence of our creations.

While exploring this ghost town, you can’t help but feel a sense of both fascination and sadness, as you realize that Rush Run is a testament to the fleeting nature of life. The safety of the present is a comforting thought as you reflect on the lives that were once lived here, and you can’t help but appreciate the stability and security that come with the passage of time.

15 Ghost Towns In Louisiana – Echoes Of Abandonment

13. Hinton: A Once-Bustling Railroad Hub

west virginia coal mining

Once a thriving railroad structures hub, Hinton now stands as a testament to the bustling history of transportation in the region. As you stroll through the streets of this once-bustling town, you can’t help but be transported back in time to an era of locomotives and bustling activity.

The remnants of the train depot and tracks serve as a reminder of the importance of this town in connecting communities and transporting goods. While the town may have lost its vibrancy, there is a certain charm in the quiet streets and abandoned buildings that harken back to a simpler time.

As you explore Hinton, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and respect for the people who built this town and the countless journeys that were embarked upon from here. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place that ignites a subconscious desire for safety and security, reminding us of the importance of our past and the need to preserve it for future generations.

14. Wheeling: A Ghost Town with a Vibrant Past

west virginia coal mining

Wheeling , with its rich and vibrant history, breathes life into the memories of a bygone era. As you wander through the eerie streets of this ghost town, you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and wonder.

Once a bustling city with a thriving industrial economy, Wheeling now stands as a testament to the passage of time. The deserted buildings and abandoned storefronts tell stories of a vibrant past, where the echoes of laughter and the hustle and bustle of daily life filled the air.

But don’t be fooled by its ghostly appearance, for Wheeling still holds the spirit of its past. As you explore the remnants of this once-vibrant town, you can almost hear the clinking of glasses in the taverns, the sound of carriages rolling by, and the laughter of children playing in the streets.

While it may be a ghost town now, the memories and rich history of Wheeling will forever be alive, beckoning you to take a journey back in time.

Exploring the ghost towns in West Virginia is like stepping into a time capsule. As you wander through the remnants of Thurmond, Nuttallburg, Kaymoor, Elkins, Droop Mountain, Rush Run, Hinton, and Wheeling, you can’t help but be transported back to a bygone era.

The once-bustling railroad towns in West Virginia and coal mining communities are now silent witnesses to the passage of time. Each ghost town has its own unique story to tell, from the rise and fall of industries to the impact of historic events like the Civil War.

Walking through these abandoned streets, you can almost hear the echoes of the past, the whispers of the people who once called these places home. It’s a haunting experience that leaves you with a profound sense of awe and contemplation.

As the adage goes, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”These ghost towns in West Virginia serve as a reminder that history is not confined to textbooks or museums. It lives on in the forgotten corners of our world, waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

So, if you’re ever in West Virginia, take the time to journey back in time and immerse yourself in the rich and fascinating history of these ghost towns in west Virginia. You won’t be disappointed.

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Thurmond Ghost Town

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Thurmond Ghost Town - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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Thurmond Ghost Town Information

Ghost Towns of West Virginia

Best Ghost Towns in West Virginia

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One of the best reasons to move to West Virginia is to explore the ghost towns of West Virginia. With more than 65 ghost towns, it has become the best appealing haunted destination for tourists and locals. And do you know the exciting part? A few of them have disappeared, and a few have structures, limited accessibility, and take you to history. 

Table of Contents

So, would you like to explore West Virginia ghost towns with us in this blog? If nodding “Yes,” read the entire article and meet with them. 

Best Ghost Towns in West Virginia

Are there any abandoned towns in West Virginia?

Yes, you will meet with a lot of abandoned towns available in West Virginia. Kayford is one of the most famous abandoned towns in West Virginia. It was a coal mining society, which has been left, and this is why people are scared to visit here. Also, the National Park is the place of weird abandoned mining towns, history, and much more. Also, other towns in West Virginia are famous as abandoned towns. To be precise, you can explore more than 60 abandoned towns in West Virginia at the New Gorge River only. 

Why are there so many abandoned towns in West Virginia?

Southern West Virginia has an appealing history of abandoned towns. And the past is pointing toward coal mining. Coal production increased following the Civil War. Thus, the railroads were created to transfer coal to the Ohio Valley from the mills. 

Coalfields are spread throughout the mountains, and then the small towns established where the miners lived. However, when the coal mines were exhausted, the place became abandoned. As a result, the ghost towns were made, including Kaymoor. Furthermore, Kaymoor also has the best hiking trails in West Virginia with waterfalls .

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8 Ghost Towns of West Virginia

With the presence of abandoned coal mining communities, West Virginia was the coal mining hub in the past. But, when the mines winded up, the locals left and the towns became abandoned. So, when you are roaming in West Virginia, don’t forget to explore ghost towns of West Virginia because most of them are located near a dozen-mile of the New River Gorge. 

The Kaymoor name was made by combining the Kay from company personnel Low Moor and James Kay in 1899. 

Kaymoor

It was a coal-mining town based on the New River Gorge. Many people lived here from 1899 to 1962. However, you can see the beautiful leftovers of the structures that can take you back in time when the coal mining was at its height. 

According to the National Park Service, the miners were collected from the other states and European countries like Poland to work in the mines. Around 800 workers were employed during the best time of the production. 

Previously, Kaymoor was one of the best coal mines in West Virginia. Low Moor Coal Company was the first one that started coal mining in the late 1890s, and it was famous for its production and most giant coal operation mines. Sixteen million nine hundred four thousand three hundred twenty-one tons of coal were collected from Kaymoor from 1900 to 1962. 

Things to do in Kaymoor involve thrilling hiking trails in Kaymoor with waterfalls and exploring old mines by going down 821 stairs. In addition to that, you can start walking down 400 steps more to see the exciting railroad. 

Furthermore, the Kaymoor is situated in the New River Gorge, West Virginia 25840, USA.

Why is Kaymoor West Virginia abandoned? 

Kaymoor had a massive fire incident that destroyed almost every structure of the coal mine camp. As a result, it was shut down, and now only hiking trails on Kaymoor are accessible. 

2. Dun Glen Boat Launch

Dun Glen Boat Launch is a thrilling and exciting place to visit with a rich forest appearance. 

Dun Glen Boat Launch

When it comes to Dun Glen Boat Launch, no wonder that it is located in the beautiful surrounding rivers with clean waters. Also, there is no doubt that reaching and experiencing the boat rides is next-level fun here.

Dun Glen Boat Launch welcomes all tourists and offers curved water trails for boating. That’s what boating lovers love to explore. And that’s the reason they visit here over and over.  

This famous destination offers clean water boating and is rich with forest views. This place is as far as your eyes go. 

Nothing can make you happier than boating in an exciting place like Dun Glen Boat Launch. And that’s what attracts us to include this exciting place on this list. 

You can visit this exciting place at McKendree Road, Oak Hill, West Virginia 25901, USA.

3. Nuttallburg West Virginia

This place is named after John Nuttall, an English Colonizer, and Nuttallburg is also famous as Brown. 

Nuttallburg West Virginia

In 1870, John Nuttall, a British entrepreneur named Nuttallburg, was once considered the coal mine in the New River Gorge section. The most exciting fact is that it comes with a scenic drive into the gorge. After that, you can roam around the buildings, which all are marked with informative signs. 

When it comes to Nuttallburg, one can say that it is the most famous ghost town, which is hidden by the woods. It comes with greenery and other scary parts.

It became famous when Henry Ford took it on lease and received national attention. Also, 100 were present in Nuttallburg. 

So, once you visit here, be sure to explore things like old brick ovens, railroad tracks, green river gorge, walk on the hillside, the mine exploration, coal processing sites, and homes situated in the whole town. Thus, it is full of vital things to do.  

When the New River coal declined in 1958, Nuttlalburg became abandoned. As a result, it is included in Virginia ghost towns to explore. It is presently part of the National Park Service. It is a complete coal site in the US and is accessible by car. 

Furthermore, Nuttallburg is situated in West Virginia 255840, USA. 

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4. Thurmond

Thurmond has a glorious history of businesses, especially since the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad came into existence. 

Thurmond

At the start of the 1900s, it was one of the best and most booming towns and famous among the river rafters. It has rich coal deposits, which increased due to Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad.

The National Park Service said Thurmond had a lot of coal barons, which made this the wealthiest state. In the past decades, fifteen passenger trains were visited and served around 95k passengers every day.

This town is also one of the best reasons of Relocating to West Virginia to explore famous historic places. Thurmond is famous on the National Register of Historic Places and the renowned business Dunglen Hotel and Casino. Apart from that, in previous days, it was known as the party’s life in West Virginia. 

You can explore many things in Thurmond. These include river rafting on the New River, exploring old riverside towns, dun glen hotel rooms, abandoned Thurmond town hall, and other structures. These are enough to make you fall in love with Thurmond. 

Thurmond is located in West Virginia, 25901, USA.

Why is Thurmond West Virginia abandoned?

Thurmond was famous as the old coal mine town and known for the grand hotel. It was unfortunately burnt, and the city turned abandoned. However, five to six residents live there at present.   

Can you live in Thurmond, West Virginia? 

No! Thurmond is a famous company town in Fayette County, north of West Virginia’s Beckley. When Thurmond was at its peak, it was one of the most prosperous and active in the nation. But, presently, only the five residents live here. 

This is another self-governing community situated in rural West Virginia. People may have forgotten about this place, but once Royalty Smokeless Coal Company was established here. 

Sewell

In the 1900s, it was identified as one of the coking operations hubs. The cocking was a process of heating coal in massive amounts with more than 600 degrees Celsius temperatures without using oxygen. 

Sewell was one of the towns having 100 years of coal production. Today, the forest has covered the old town, which leans back between the Babcock State Park. Also, you can meet with the stunning ruins here. 

Sewell was once famous as Bowyer’s Ferry. He was the one who founded the ferry across New River in 1798 and was known as the first white seller in the Gorge. 

It would be better not to miss exploring Babcock State Park, New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, and the ruins of the more than 59 coke ovens. You can also go hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and fishing. Also, there are many things to do in West Virginia with kids in this National Park Preserve. 

During its peak, almost 200 ovens were operated at Sewell. It was going on till the ovens finally shut down in 1956. This was when Sewell slowly died, and the last resident was left here in 1973. 

Furthermore, the Sewell is situated on the New River Gorge, southeast of Fayetteville, West Virginia 25831, USA.

6. Prince, West Verginia

“Census-Designated Place!” This word is often used for the Prince, a Fayette County, West Virginia town. 

Prince, West Verginia

Willian and James Prince purchased 300 acres with New River Gorge in 1870, and that’s how the Prince was formed. This was not a mining town but also a commerce place for mining towns on Laurel and Piney Creek. 

Prince, the ghost town of West Virginia, had a population of only 235 people in 1910. Also, 78 coke ovens were erected there in 1890, and now it is serving as an Amtrak Station. 

Nowadays, Prince offers highly decorative locations with a clean and green atmosphere. You can also explore the spring waterfalls, wildflowers, bird migration, and many famous things in Prince. 

A lot of things are available to do near Prince town in Virginia. Fayetteville is the most desirable place to explore, starting from the Prince Retro Railway Station, Grandview State Park Resort at Glade Springs, Mad Hatter Club, and New River Gorge. 

Today, prince town is abandoned because it was once considered an active mining society, but now only a few stone ruins are left there. 

Prince, a stunning place, is situated in West Virginia 24740, USA. 

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7. Stotesbury West Virginia

E. E, White Coal Company was the first to run a mining camp located at Winding Gulf Creek over tams. After that, it was named Stotesbury.

Stotesbury West Virginia

Stotesbury was an exciting town in West Virginia. It was named after the president of Beaver Coal Company, Edward Stotesbury. It was home to late eight-term Robert C Byrd. Today, only a few houses are available in this Stotesbury town. 

Stotesbury was a coal mine town situated in Raleigh County, and today it is a self-governing community. The coal mine works closed down in 2002, and however, it became the first longwall mine in the section in 1980. 

Stotesbury is famous for starting the World’s Biggest High School Regatta. In mid-May, for two days, it is organized yearly. 

The various things to explore include the churches for black and white miners, abandoned company houses, and mining tools in Stotesbury town. 

The mine was in proper working conditions till the end of the century, and the town of Stotesbury itself turned into an abandoned town when the actual mine was closed down in 1958. 

Furthermore, Stotesbury is located in West Virginia 25915, USA.

8. Quinnimont

It was named for the five mountains covering it and the home of Quinnimont Charter Oak and Iron Company. 

Quinnimont

The last best ghost town to explore on the New River Gorge National Park. It was a famous destination and had 500 residents as its population when it was at its peak. Also, the railroads were the transport options with daily trains to Leyland and Beckley.

It was also famous for having separate schools, cemeteries, and churches, for Black and White locals. In addition to that, Quinnimont had a post office working from 1874 to 1997. 

Along with that, it has many things to offer to visitors. It starts from Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Thurmond, Sandstone Visitor Center, Grandview, etc. These places are exciting to explore. 

In 1880, more than 100 coke ovens were running at Quinnimont, with 20 under construction. After that, it became the core of local railroad operations. And the society was declining in 1920 when the coal mines were exhausted. So, during 1944, it became the M.E. Crisp Lumber Company’s timber harvesting point until 1953. When it was all over, the Quinninmont became abandoned. 

Quinninmont is situated at the New River Gorge, West Virginia 25976, USA. 

West Virginia is a beautiful place to visit in the USA. Even the West Virginia cost of living calculator says the overall cost is less than the US average. However, tourists can explore the ghost towns of West Virginia because these are enchanting and exciting places to visit and are accessible. 

The ghost houses or abandoned places are primarily located in the New River Gorge. Therefore, you will see more than 50 ghost towns here. We have covered a few in this article, including Kaymoor, Thurmond, Sewell, Prince, Quinnimond, and the rest. You can see why they are abandoned and whether they are accessible or not. 

So, we hope this article will help you find a ghost town in West Virginia. Please let us know if you want any further information in the comment section. Our team will reach you and provide information. 

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Why Some Say This Is The Most Haunted Town In America

best ghost towns in west virginia

  • Destinations
  • United States
  • West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is older than our country, that’s why it has a reputation as the “Most Haunted Town In America.” Initially settled by Native Americans, the first European settler was Thomas Shepherd. He received the land grant parcel located on the south bank of the Potomac River in 1734, an early river crossing in those days. In 1762, the town was chartered as Mecklenburg in honor of King George III’s wife Charlotte. It would return to the name Shepherd’s Town in 1798 to honor founder Thomas Shepherd. 

Being older than the United States, Shepherdstown has seen its fair share of American history. One cemetery in town has the headstones of Revolutionary War soldiers. And, during the Civil War, both Union and Confederate troops occupied the village. The Civil War’s bloodiest battle, the Battle of Antietam, took place a few miles away. After the fighting ended, residents cared for countless wounded in their homes; and buried hundreds more in their fields. 

Shepherdstown is worth a visit. The downtown brims with charming shops and restaurants, with many housed in historically significant buildings. It’s an exciting city to explore, especially if you enjoy history. If you are curious about ghostly appearances or hauntings, that’s an added bonus.

The city is 4 miles southwest of Sharpsburg, Maryland, the site of Antietam National Battlefield, and 10 miles north of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Both sit in the Eastern Panhandle Region in eastern West Virginia. You can spend the day or stay overnight. When you do, sign-up for an evening ghost tour to meet some of those intriguing spirits in person.

Monument at Antietam Battlefield, Shepherdstown, West Virginia

It’s In The Shadow Of The Civil War’s Bloodiest Battle

The nearby Antietam Battlefield is a national battlefield where 23,000 soldiers died, were wounded, or missing after 12 hours of fighting on September 17, 1862. It’s considered hallowed and haunted ground. Many wounded soldiers were transported to homes and businesses in nearby Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown which were converted to makeshift hospitals. Those who didn’t survive were buried in nearby fields. While neither side won the battle, the North claimed victory as General Lee’s army retreated from Maryland across the Potomac to Virginia. Five days after the war, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Stop here on your way to Shepherdstown, to drive the 8 ½ mile tour around the battlefield by car. The tour has 11 stops and begins at Dunker Church. The website details ways to experience the park or, if you prefer, a private tour . You’ll have a better understanding of the devastating events of that terrible day in history, and if your tour takes you near the Burnside Bridge at dusk, you’ll hear the sound of a phantom drum that beats out a cadence and then fades away.

The Ghost Of McMurran Hall

Shepherd University opened in 1871 in Shepherdstown and since then there have been over 200 reports of ghost sightings and poltergeist activity. At McMurran Hall, which was originally built as the city hall for the town, an older man haunts the clock tower at the top of the building. He appears at night and looks through the shutters at the students walking around campus. Since the city hall was also a Confederate hospital after the battle of Antietam, it makes sense that he might be one of the soldiers. So many died from their wounds and allegedly left their tortured souls behind. 

Main floor of the Shepherdstown Museum, Shepherdstown, West Virginia

William Peyton’s Cries Ring Out At The Shepherdstown Museum

The Historic Shepherdstown Museum is in the old Entler Hotel. The Museum opened in 1983 to house and display artifacts, furniture, and historical documents regarding Shepherdstown’s past. The first floor looks arranged for a formal dinner. The invitation reads that the dinner is in honor of Colonel John Francis Hamtramck in 1847. There are also historical books for sale. On the next floor is the resident ghost, William Peyton Smith’s bedroom. The furnished bedroom is where Smith, killed in a duel in 1809, spent his final hours moaning in pain. It’s said his ghost can be heard crying out for his mother as Smith did the night he died. Other floors have Sheetz rifles, Native American tools, a mail wagon from 1905, and Civil War artifacts. It’s a fascinating stop.

Shops in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Reach Out To Your Spirit Guides

As you walk along German Street, independently owned boutiques enchant shoppers with unique goods. There are galleries, a record store, a bookseller, and On The Wings of Dreams . This shop offers crystals, Native American and sterling silver jewelry, ceremonial herbs, essential oils, tarot, and so much more. Simply put, the store has “Gifts and tools for Spiritual Journeyers.” A complete list of Shepherdstown stores is here .

An “Unseen” Pair Of Hands Helps At The Bakery

Shepherdstown Sweet Shop & Bakery has a fabulous selection of treats, hot coffee or teas, and seating outdoors. The bakery also has an “extra pair of hands” that the proprietors call the “Colonel.” Shop employees reported feeling someone occasionally brush past them. They also said they heard conversations in hushed tones when no one was there. It makes sense, as the bakery was also a makeshift hospital after the battle at Antietam. Some believe the Colonel is walking around and checking on his soldiers. 

You Can Walk Among The Unliving

Shepherdstown Mystery Walks , owned and operated by Janet Hughes, leads crowds around historic Shepherdstown in full-period costume. Hughes discusses ghostly sightings and mentions the many mysterious happenings in town. She’s been a paranormal researcher and investigator for years and is currently appearing on a new television show, American Mysteries , filming in the West Virginia panhandle. 

Even though the town has a ghostly reputation due to a brutal battle, in recent history, there were events that promoted peace and community. Shepherdstown is known as the site of the Israeli-Syrian Peace Talks in 2000 under the Clinton Administration and for establishing one of the top theater festivals in the world, the Contemporary American Theater Festival . Either way, it’s an old, interesting place.

If all of this ghostly activity makes you hungry, The Mecklenburg Inn B&B is an excellent English-style pub and bed and breakfast circa 1793 with a fantastic patio (if the weather permits). There are several delicious dining choices, check here for more options.

Many areas have reported being haunted:

  • 9 Most Haunted Places To Visit In The Midwest
  • 7 Places To Find Ghosts On New York’s Haunted History Trail
  • 8 Haunted Houses In The U.S. That You Can Actually Stay In

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Jeanine Consoli is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and foodie based in Washington Crossing, PA. A retired elementary school teacher, she used her summers to feed her passion for travel and kept journals of all the destinations she explored. Today, Jeanine is working as a writer full-time. She loves uncovering the history and understanding the culture of each location, including the local flavors of each unique place. She has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe and is excited to keep adding to the list, finding special places that are off the beaten path both at home and abroad. Follow along with her travels on Jeanine Consoli Travels .

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5 of the most haunted locations in West Virginia

With as much history as West Virginia has, there is no surprise that there is no shortage of hauntings. For years, West Virginia residents have reported the paranormal all across the state. Some locations are more notable than others though. Many of them have developed quite the reputation over the years.

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

best ghost towns in west virginia

22 Mine Road, Logan County

In 1932, a prominent Logan County woman named Mamie Thurman was found murdered near the top of Trace Mountain in Logan County. She had been shot, stabbed, and left for dead on top of the mountain, but no one knew for sure who killed her. Speculation went on for years, and ultimately Clarence Stephenson was charged with her murder and sent to Moundsville to what is now the West Virginia State Penitentiary . Many believe Stephenson’s employer, Harry Robertson, was the real culprit, but there was never any evidence to prove it. Rumor has it that Mamie’s ghost haunts the mountain road that she was found on over 80 years ago. Some say she can be seen on top of the mountain, but legend has it that if you park your car in neutral at the bottom of 22 Mine Road, it will roll uphill. It is believed that this is the ghost of Mamie Thurman. Make your way to Logan County and see for yourself!  

Lewisburg was a prominent location in West Virginia during the Civil War. The Lewisburg Historic District is home to the Old Stone Church , which served as a hospital during the Civil War. Some say you can hear the screams of its patients if you listen close on a quiet night. There are also several spirits that have been reported at the General Lewis Inn . Lewisburg is home to one of the most famous spirits in American history, though! In 1897, Zona Heaster Shue was mysteriously murdered with no sign of who the killer was. Shue’s mother claims that Zona came to her at night several weeks after the funeral and revealed who the killer was and how he murdered her. Shue’s mother was able to convince local authorities to have another medical examination conducted, which revealed that Shue’s neck had been broken and she had been strangled. Shue’s husband was convicted of murder and sent to the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville . Zona’s appearance and ability to convince her mother to pursue another investigation has led her to be called the Greenbrier Ghost. A state historical marker was placed near the cemetery where Zona is buried in Greenbrier County . This is the only known case in which evidence provided by a spirit helped to convict the murderer!  

West Virginia State Penitentiary

The West Virginia State Penitentiary was opened in 1875, and many believe it to be one of the most haunted prisons in the United States. During its years of operation, the penitentiary was known to be one of the most violent in the country. There were many riots, fires, and around 100 executions while it was in use. Several diseases made their rounds as well, spreading like wildfire and killing many of the inmates. Visitors of the penitentiary have reported seeing figures of possible inmates and what most regard as the “shadow man” that stalks the halls. If you’re up for the scares, the penitentiary offers tours as well as overnight stays to ghost hunt! Every October, the prison holds a haunted house that is sure to give you your fill of frights as well!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

best ghost towns in west virginia

Are you brave enough to visit one of these frightening West Virginia locations? Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, we are sure you will walk away with a story to tell.

So, what are you waiting for?

This post was last updated on December 4, 2023

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best ghost towns in west virginia

West Virginia’s most charming mountain towns

Amy C. Balfour

Mar 28, 2022 • 10 min read

Harpers Ferry West Virginia mountain towns

West Virginia's mountain communities (and small cities) are amazing spots for arts and culture, local history, nature and food © Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Tourism

Sponsored by

West Virginia ’s mountain towns are more than just launchpads for Appalachian adventures. From the charming towns of Fayetteville and Lewisburg to historic Harpers Ferry, the state’s favorite mountain communities (and small cities) are also amazing spots for immersing in arts and culture, studying local history, relaxing in nature, and digging into delicious local fare.

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Best West Virginia towns for outdoor fun

Fayetteville.

Adjacent to  New River Gorge National Park and Preserve , Fayetteville is easy to love. The courthouse and its tidy square anchor the downtown area, which buzzes spring through fall with whitewater paddlers tackling the New and Gauley Rivers. Hikers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers use the town as a base camp year-round. 

Sunlight filters through stained-glass windows at  Cathedral Cafe , setting a pretty scene for coffee and pastries. Handle Bar & Kitchen is the sudsy heart of  Arrowhead Bike Farm , where mountain bikers converge for group rides, rentals, camping, burritos, and beer near the stacked-loop Arrowhead Trails. Pop into  Water Stone Outdoors  to upgrade your outdoor gear.  Adventures on the Gorge  and  ACE Adventure Resort  are full-service adventure centers that guide rafting and outdoor trips and offer camping, cabins, and dining.

Davis & Thomas

Sitting side-by-side in Tucker County in the Highlands, Davis and Thomas are twin beacons for fun. New businesses are revitalizing these former mining towns, where mountain bikers gather post-ride. Trails hurtle past waterfalls and natural features in  Blackwater Falls State Park  while the 8-mile  Plantation Trail  unfurls across  Canaan Mountain  in  Monongahela National Forest . 

And hikers? Those in the know explore the windswept terrain of the remote  Dolly Sods Wilderness  atop the Allegheny Plateau. Trails also meander through the boggy  Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge . Hikers and bikers alike kick back with hearty burritos from  Hellbender Burritos  and craft beers at  Stumptown Ales  in Davis. In Thomas,  Mountain State Brewing  serves generous flights while mocha lattes and fresh pastries warm up crowds at  Tip Top Coffee  – which serves cocktails too. Overnight options include the  Purple Fiddle  hostel, the revamped  Billy Motel . Visitors can also take advantage of West Virginia’s nearby state park accommodations, too; Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park both offer lodge rooms, cabins, and camping. 

Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains at the confluence of three rivers, Hinton is a low-key basecamp for family-friendly adventures. A former railroad hub, downtown Hinton today is a bastion of small-town friendliness. Red-brick streets, colorful murals, the 1929  Ritz Theatre , and the  Market on Courthouse Square , known for its sandwiches and pizzas, are the highlights of the 16-block Historic District. The southern gateway to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve , Hinton is eight scenic miles from the park’s pretty  Sandstone Falls . 

Pipestem Resort State Park  lies a mere 20 minutes south of Hinton. Here, inflatable trampolines bounce kids into the water at the Adventure Lake & Splash Park while ziplines hurtle riders through the adjacent forest. And rumors of ax throwing? They’re true. Just head to the Adventure Zone. The park also arranges whitewater rafting trips. For calmer float trips, explore the 2040-acre lake at  Bluestone State Park , located in between Hinton and Pipestem, which offers kayaks, canoes, and boats for rent. Both parks have campgrounds and cabins, or stay at one of the lodges at Pipestem, which over looks Bluestone Gorge.

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Best West Virginia towns for food

Anchored by the state capitol building and its striking gold leaf dome, Charleston is an epicenter of politics, art, and cuisine tucked beside the Kanawha River in the foothills of the Appalachians. Perennial dining favorites in the Capitol Street area include  Black Sheep Burritos , home of the tasty Flock of Tacos, and  Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream , where scoops of Espresso Oreo bring families downtown year-round.  Capitol Market  is an indoor-outdoor market selling locally made and sourced products – an excellent pitstop for souvenirs!

In South Hills, innovative spins on Appalachian fare warms crowds at Chef Paul Smith’s  1010 Bridge , showcasing local and seasonal ingredients. Artisan pies at  Lola’s Pizza  also embrace locally sourced ingredients, from the bread to the greens to the sausage.

Students and alumni belt out John Denver’s Country Roads after football games at West Virginia University in Morgantown, a city infused with Mountaineer spirit. Students swarm downtown on weekends during the school year while hikers and sightseers arrive after exploring  Coopers Rock State Forest  and other state parks in warmer months.

Downtown, the multi-use  Caperton Trail  runs along the Monongahela River (“the Mon”), linking a slew of top-notch restaurants with riverfront patios in the Wharf District. One of these patios belongs to  Table9 , a gastropub serving comfort food elevated by fresh local ingredients. Another belongs to Flour and Feed , which features a menu of all-American staples with a twist. Beyond downtown, sushi, steaks, and cocktails collide for a delicious night out at  Bartini Prime  at the Suncrest Towne Centre.

West Virginia university main campus entrance

Coal-carrying locomotives chugged into Fairmont for much of the 20th-century, creating livelihoods for generations of coal miners and railroad workers. Restaurants serving quick and hearty fare to workers were mainstays, and a handful of old-school eateries survive today. The city is the birthplace of the pepperoni roll, a soft roll stuffed with cured meat that was created specifically for miners, many of them Italian immigrants. It’s filling, easy to hold, blessed with a long shelf life, and (most importantly) it’s delicious.  Country Club Bakery  created this West Virginia specialty in 1927. Authentic Italian dishes fill the menu at  Muriale’s Italian Kitchen , a Fairmont institution for more than 50 years. 

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Best West Virginia towns for relaxation

Berkeley springs.

Tucked in the foothills of the eastern Panhandle, Berkeley Springs is known for its warm mineral waters, which remain at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees. By the terms of the 1776 decree that established the town, the mineral waters must remain free for public consumption – and visitors fill up by the jug full at  Berkeley Springs State Park  in the center of town. Spa services are available at the park’s newly renovated Old Roman bathhouse, which dates from 1815, as well as the Main Bathhouse. Private spas are scattered across town, and  Cacapon Resort State Park  opened a new spa in 2021. Berkeley Springs celebrates the arts with gallery exhibitions, summer concerts, and numerous shows and performances at the  Ice House Theater . 

With a robust selection of spa services, The Greenbrier  – also famed for its mineral springs – is a relaxation oasis unto itself. But nearby Lewisburg rivals the resort as a center of stress-melting bliss. Antique shops, galleries, and boutiques line Washington Street downtown, and the city’s restaurants draw visitors all year.

Inside a sturdy cabin,  Hill & Holler  evokes the best of Appalachia through live music, cold beer, and fantastic pizzas. The comfort fare at  Food & Friends  is a fulfilling reward after cycling the nearby  Greenbrier River Trail . White-linen style and locally sourced fare combine for an unforgettable meal at the intimate  Stardust Cafe  and the dapper  French Goat , which indeed gets French with its Croque Madame and truffle fries. Chopped wood beside the fire pits at  Hawk Knob Cider & Mead  is ready for a summer evening bonfire.

Sprawled across 17,000 acres on the outskirts of Wheeling,  Oglebay  is a public park with private park amenities – including a zoo! Burn off some steam on the two championship golf courses, stroll the gardens, admire the glassworks in the Glass Museum, and explore the historic Mansion Museum – once the home of industrialist Earl W. Oglebay. For true pampering, make an appointment for a warm stone massage at the West Spa at Oglebay Lodge.

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Best West Virginia towns for history

Harpers ferry.

Overlooking the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains,  Harpers Ferry  played a role in America’s early industrial endeavors and in the conflict over slavery – in 1859, John Brown tried to spark a slave uprising here. The town is also home to Storer College, which grew from a one-room schoolhouse for formerly enslaved people to a respected college before closing in 1955. The 19th-century buildings in Lower Town, which is the focal point of  Harpers Ferry National Historical Park , are a photographic time capsule, and their museums and exhibits share the town’s complex history

Cafes and B&Bs are scattered along High Street and across Upper Town. Close to the Appalachian Trail and the C&O bike path in Maryland, the entire town has an outdoorsy vibe, with hikers and cyclists stopping for coffee and food.  

Parkersburg

Parkersburg, which sits at the confluence of the Little Kanawha and Ohio Rivers in the Ohio Valley, saw explosive growth after an oil-and-gas boom in the late 1800s. With its prominent tower and eye-catching turrets, the  Blennerhassett Hotel  – a product of the boom – exudes a grand sense of beauty and charm. Guided tours spotlight the history of the hotel, which was completed in 1889. The  Oil & Gas Museum  explores the story of oil and gas production in the region. May through October, sternwheel boats carry passengers across the Ohio River to  Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park . Stroll the manicured grounds, tour the Palladian mansion, and clip-clop across the island in a horse-drawn carriage. 

Victorian- and Tudor-style mansions – the former residences of coal barons – line the streets of tiny Bramwell in the mountainous southern fringes of the state. Established during a late-1800s coal boom, the town once had more millionaires per capita than any other town in the country. Costumed guides lead tours of several houses – furnished with antiques and period furniture – in June and early December. The  Coal Heritage Trail Interpretive Center at the Bramwell Depot  delves into the region’s coal mining history and offers walking tours. ATV enthusiasts roll onto the scenic Hatfield-McCoy Trails near downtown – and guided ATV tours are a thing!

Huntington, West Virginia

Best West Virginia towns for art & culture 

A vibrant and diverse arts scene flourishes in West Virginia’s second-largest city. A welcoming place, Huntington feels like three separate cities rolled into one: a thriving college town thanks to Marshall University, a creative arts colony due to its burgeoning downtown arts scene, and a classic all-American city across the board. 

The Decorative Arts Gallery in the  Huntington Museum of Art  showcases West Virginia’s glass-making heritage, with 1000 pieces of glass on display. The  Heritage Farm Museum and Village  is a Smithsonian-affiliated institution that explores 19th-century pioneer life in the Appalachians.  The Loud  is the go-to spot for up-and-coming bands and regional favorites, while the  Foundry Theater , which recently moved into old City Hall, is gearing up to be the region’s destination performance hall for live music, comedy, and visual artists.

On the border of the Monongahela National Forest in the Potomac Highlands, Elkins is an outdoorsy town with an artsy side.  Artists at Work  is a cooperative art gallery selling arts, crafts, and jewelry by more than 20 artists, while the  Downtown Heritage Quilt Trail  follows a series of 8-by-8-ft quilting blocks. Most nights of the week, live music drifts from restaurants and bars downtown. 

An educational hub for Appalachian culture, the  Augusta Heritage Center  at Davis & Elkins College shares the best of the region’s heritage through workshops, dances, and concerts. Its festival and block party is held in Elkins City Park in July. Seven miles south in Beverly, the  Beverly Heritage Center  regularly hosts contra dances, a group folk dance once popular in the Appalachians. 

Wardensville

Dotted with white-clapboard houses, Wardensville is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it outpost of art and culture hugging the Cacapon River. Busy US 48, one of the main roads connecting Washington, DC with Lost River State Park and Seneca Rocks, is the town’s main drag.

Fronted by a statue of a red cow, the  Lost River Trading Post  is the hamlet’s commercial and artistic heart. Antiques, art, and locally produced jams and soap jostle for attention inside this 5000sq-ft former feed store, anchored by a cafe and coffee shop. Glass-blown art and eclectic greeting cards fill the store’s compact Grasshopper Gallery. Downtown, books about the Mountain State greet travelers walking into  Wordplay , the local indie bookstore. After browsing, fuel back up at  Wardensville Garden Market , which offers cookies, pepperoni rolls, granola, and organic greens.

Sponsored by West Virginia Division of Tourism

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What You'll Discover In These 7 Tiny West Virginia Mining Towns Is Incredible

best ghost towns in west virginia

More by this Author

Like most of West Virginia, the New River Gorge area has a rich history of coal mining. In fact, during the Industrial Period, more than 50 coal towns sprung up there, attracting thousands of people to the gorge with promises of a new life. These coal mining towns in West Virginia disappeared just as quickly as they appeared, though, leaving the ruins of numerous old ghost towns to be reclaimed by nature. Here are a few of those ghost towns in WV worthy of exploration:

best ghost towns in west virginia

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best ghost towns in west virginia

How many of these old, abandoned coal mining towns in West Virginia have you been to? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know!

If you can’t get enough of beautiful abandoned places in West Virginia, you might want to check out these amazing abandoned buildings in West Virginia that nature is reclaiming.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Coal mining towns in west virginia.

  • Are there any still-living coal mining towns in West Virginia?  

There are some still-living coal mining towns in West Virginia, though not a lot. Many of the old coal towns are long gone now, leaving only memories, but some of the West Virginia coal towns that still have folks living there include:  

  • Welch (population 3,600)    
  • Cedar Grove (population 710)  
  • Monongah (population 970)    
  • Grant Town (population 690)  

2. How many ghost towns are there in West Virginia?  

West Virginia is home to numerous ghost towns – no less than 65 to be more precise. Some of the most amazing ghost towns in West Virginia are:  

  • Kaymoor    
  • Kayford    

3. Which coal towns in West Virginia should I visit?  

There are plenty of ghost towns and coal towns in West Virginia that were definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a lover of all things abandoned. Some additional coal towns in WV you should visit include gems like:  

  • Spruce , filled with ruins  
  • Nuttallburg    

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ncesc-geographic-faq

Is there a ghost town in West Virginia?

geographic-faq

Yes, there are many ghost towns in West Virginia. Some of these towns were created and abandoned as part of the “boom and bust” economy of the coal mining industry.

What is the most famous ghost town?

The most famous ghost towns are Pripyat, Ukraine; Oradour-sur-Glane, France; Hashima Island, Japan; Varosha, Cyprus; Bodie, California; and Fordlandia, Brazil.

What is the creepiest hike in West Virginia that takes you through the ruins of an abandoned town?

The creepiest hike in West Virginia that takes you through the ruins of an abandoned town is the Kaymoor Miners Trail. It is located in the New River Gorge National Park and leads to the abandoned coal mines in West Virginia.

What is the abandoned coal town in West Virginia?

The abandoned coal town in West Virginia is Thurmond. Most of what remains in Thurmond shows what has become of most ghost towns in West Virginia: coal mining has all but died out. Thurmond is located in Fayette County and rests along the New River in the New River Gorge National Park.

Can you live in Thurmond West Virginia?

Thurmond, WV is home to a population of 4 people, all of whom are citizens.

The Ghost Town of THURMOND, WV – A Good Town Gone Bad

Does anyone live in thurmond.

Thurmond is not technically a ghost town, as four people apparently still live there. However, most of the buildings along the still-active railroad tracks are empty, giving a sad hint at the bustling activity that once took place in this coal-driven train town.

Is West Virginia a low crime state?

West Virginia has a crime rate of 3.64 per 1,000 residents for violent crimes and 18.04 per 1,000 residents for property crimes.

Is there a Silent Hill in West Virginia?

No, Silent Hill is not based in West Virginia. The real town that it was based on is actually located in the deserted town of Centralia, Pennsylvania.

Why are there so many ghost towns in West Virginia?

There are many ghost towns in West Virginia, some of which were created and abandoned as part of the “boom and bust” economy of the coal mining industry.

What is the underwater ghost town in Virginia?

Although there is no hard evidence of the rumored town of Monroe beneath Virginia’s beloved Smith Mountain Lake, many still believe that the truth lies beneath the water. When hydroelectric power was of top priority about 50 years ago, the damming process began on the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers.

What is the scariest hike in West Virginia?

The scariest hikes in West Virginia that lead to spooky ruins are Nuttallburg Trails, Clay Run Trails, Darkish Knob, Narrow Gauge Trail, Royal Ghost Town, The Grave Creek Mound, Jefferson Rock, and more.

How scary is Delicate Arch trail?

The Delicate Arch trail can be scary for those with a fear of heights, as there is a 4 or 5-foot wide ledge with a significant drop-off near the Arch. Care must be taken when navigating this part of the hike.

Why is it called the Ghost Town Trail?

The Ghost Town Trail gets its name from the numerous mining towns that once existed along the railroad corridor. One of the largest former towns, Wehrum, had 230 houses, a hotel, company store, jail, and bank. The town was developed by Warren Delano, the uncle of President Franklin Roosevelt.

What is the most remote town in West Virginia?

The most remote town in West Virginia is Helvetia. It is a secluded town that has preserved traditional dance, music, food, and holidays.

What is the coldest town in West Virginia?

Lewisburg is officially the coldest place in West Virginia. Temperatures can dip well below freezing during winter.

Which US state has the most ghost towns?

According to a study conducted by Geotab, Texas has the most ghost towns of any state, with over 500.

Is the Wrong Turn movie based on a true story?

No, the Wrong Turn movie franchise is not based on a true story. However, it was loosely based on a real figure from Scotland who was rumored to be a cannibal during the 16th century.

Where was Wrong Turn filmed?

The Wrong Turn movie franchise was primarily filmed in various locations throughout Ontario, Canada, including Uxbridge, Hamilton, Webster Falls, and Dundas. The story is set in West Virginia’s backcountry.

Is Silent Hill based on a true story?

The Silent Hill town in the 2006 psychological horror film is fictitious. However, it was

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Aerial view of Morgantown, West Virginia.

  • 8 Best Small Towns In West Virginia For Outdoor Enthusiasts

West Virginia is a MidAtlantic state where outdoor buffs and vacationers will likely rethink about leaving once their visit is over. The state charms every visitor, especially outdoor enthusiasts, with sensational natural attractions. Striking hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, forests, and waterfalls harmonize to describe the landscape of West Virginia. Much of these natural enticements are welcome gifts for those who look beyond the cities and into the small towns of this charming state. From the lovely riverside towns of Barboursville to the unforgettable grandeur of mountain towns like Elkins, the outdoors are full of treats for enthusiasts. Find them all in these eight small towns in West Virginia.

Tourists ready to board Tygart Flyer ready for trip into mountains of West Virginia

Elkins is a small mountain town in Randolph County at the intersection of Tygart Valley River and Leading Creek. Both rivers are exciting outdoor playgrounds for taking the first steps into the thrilling outdoor haven of Elkins. Visitors can engage in water rafting on these rivers while slugging it out with rapids. For those who love to hike and watch birds, Elkins is the headquarters of the Monongahela National Forest, which covers an area of 921,000 acres within the Allegheny Mountains. The forest is also a destination for fishing and canoeing on the Monongahela River. An alternative area to explore is the Fox Forest Wildlife Management Area of 120 acres, with four miles of hiking trails and a fishing pier. 

White Sulphur Springs

Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV

White Sulphur Springs is renowned for hosting the iconic Greenbrier - a five-star luxury hotel and resort on 11,000 acres of land. It is also home to the Greenbrier State Forest, where outdoor lovers can immerse in a world of mind-blowing adventures. The forest is bordered by a tributary of Howard Creek, setting the stage for fishing. If that sounds like a big deal, there are other ways to explore the park. Hikers can explore the 13 miles of trails in the forest, while laid-back outdoor explorers can relax at picnic shelters or immerse in a heated pool. In addition, the forest houses Kate Mountain, an imposing peak for mountain biking, camping, and hiking. Top off the experience with a slice of fascinating history by visiting the Greenbrier Bunker, built to serve as an emergency hideout for  the US Congress  during the Cold War . 

Barboursville

A very old log cabin, the Toll House, in Barboursville, West Virginia.

Barboursville flaunts the title "Best Little Village In The State," and for outdoor enthusiasts, no description could be more apt. A visit to the over 750-acre Barboursville Community Park is enough to see why this town also merits the slogan from an outdoor lover's perspective. This park is an outdoor paradise featuring walking and equestrian trails, basketball and tennis courts, baseball and football fields, fishing ponds, and a 17-acre lake for fishing and picnics. Another haven for outdoor buffs in Barboursville is the Beech Fork State Park, just 12 miles from downtown. This 3,144-acre scenic recreational area is home to the majestic Beech Fork Lake, spotting 31 miles of shoreline and abundant fishing, boating, swimming, and paddling experiences. 

Aerial view of Morgantown, West Virginia.

Morgantown is home to the University of West Virginia and lies along the Monongahela River. This university town is a bit large population-wise at approximately 30,350 but deserves a mention because of its outdoor drawcards. One of them is the Dorsey Knob, a mountain summit where panoramic views of the  Appalachian Mountains  and Monongahela River are stunning. For nature enthusiasts, visit the Core Arboretum, managed by West Virginia University, to spot an enthralling diversity of old plants while exploring its 3.5 miles of wooded trails. Afterward, check out the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park, perched on the shores of Monongahela River, adjacent to Westover Bridge. This scenic park is a destination for kayaking, outdoor relaxation, and picnics on the picnic grove under Westover Bridge. It is also home to an amphitheater that hosts the Ruby Summer Concert Series every Friday in Summer. 

Point Pleasant

Sternwheeler Queen of the Mississippi docked on Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Point Pleasant combines sensational outdoor encounters and West Virginian folklore in one destination to thrill diehard outdoor fans. The town is famed for its lore about Mothman - a humanoid monster reportedly seen in the town around 1966. The McClinitic Wildlife Management Area is the site where the paranormal creature was spotted. However, the wildlife preserve is also a perfect destination for fishing across its 29 ponds and the Ohio River . Away from myths and legends, Point Pleasant sits at the meeting point of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, where visitors can embark on fishing, boating, paddling, and canoeing expeditions. More outdoorsy moments are relished at Krodel Park, the largest outdoor park in the town. Here, there is a one-mile walking trail to explore, picnic shelters, a quarter-mile nature trail, and a 22-acre stocked lake for fishing and kayaking. 

Berkeley Springs

Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs  offers an eccentric way of exploring the great outdoors with its natural springs. The town is lavish with warm mineral springs that have continued to attract tourists for centuries. Thus, it earned the title of "America's First Spa." Visitors can immerse in one of the springs as a staple wellness activity and head off to the Berkeley Springs State Park for swimming, camping, and short hikes. If the park is too small, supplement the exploration with a visit to Cacapon Resort State Park, lodged at the backdrop of a mountain ridge 10 miles south of the town. Once here, embark on mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing activities at the park's two stocked lakes.

Spectacular nature around Davis, West Virginia.

Davis is a small town by the Blackwater River, dipped in the Canaan Valley, which invites outdoor lovers with some enticing natural attractions. The Blackwater River is typically the first port of call but comes in the full package of the Blackwater River State Park. While the river is as scenic and inviting as it comes, the showpiece attraction of the park is the 62-foot Blackwater Falls, one of the most photographed attractions in the state. The park is also home to Pendleton Lake for fishing, sightseeing, and relaxation. For mountain bikers, Davis is the destination, and trails like Hoo Doo Hustle, Red Spruce, and Plantation make this sport sensational. Elsewhere, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge is for nature and animal lovers. This refuge is home to endangered bird species such as American Woodcock, Cooper's Hawk, and Spotted Sandpiper while also protecting a vast expanse of wetlands. 

New River flowing by Hinton, West Virginia.

Hinton is a small town that sits pretty by the New River, close to its confluence with the Greenbrier and Bluestone Rivers. The New River is the main draw to the town for outdoor buffs, alongside its gorge, bridge, and waterfall. Hinton is also the southern gateway to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which is home to one of the most scenic and enthralling gorges in the state, where whitewater rafting, fishing, and base jumping at the New River Gorge Bridge can be done. More exploration of the park via driving reveals the magnificent Sandstone Falls, and a camera will be needed to capture its beauty. In addition, the town is home to the charming Bluestone State Lake, which is large enough for fishing and boating. 

West Virginia flaunts the slogan "Almost Heaven" and truly lives up to that name. It's one destination to savor the beauty of nature via so many outdoor recreational pursuits. From hikes to water-based activities and just strolling around picturesque landscapes, this midwest state offers an ideal backdrop for it. While the cities boast of their charms, they are nothing compared to the hospitality, tranquil aura, and unspoiled natural endowments in the small towns. These towns are lovely outdoor havens where memories are created and cherished. 

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Protect Your Trip »

America's 15 coolest ghost towns to visit.

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Ghost towns

(Courtesy of Travel South Dakota) |

Take a step back in time while visiting these historic – and slightly spooky – ghost towns.

Ghost towns

(Courtesy of Scott Peterson) |

St. Elmo, Colorado

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(Courtesy of Visit Montana) |

Nevada City, Montana

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Spokane, South Dakota

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Sydney Martinez | Courtesy of Travel Nevada

Goodsprings, Nevada

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(Getty Images) |

Goldfield, Arizona

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Blue Heron, Kentucky

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South Pass City, Wyoming

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Independence, Colorado

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Calico, California

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(Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism) |

Frisco, Utah

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White Oaks, New Mexico

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Ashcroft, Colorado

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Ruby, Arizona

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Grafton, Utah

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TheTravel

10 Most Beautiful Towns In West Virginia You Should Visit

Posted: January 24, 2023 | Last updated: September 2, 2023

Welcome to the beautiful state of West Virginia ! This mountainous region contains breathtaking landscapes, friendly people, and quaint towns. From small rural hamlets to larger cities, there’s something for everyone in the Mountain State.

If looking for a trip that will offer a real taste of what life in West Virginia is like, tourists will want to check out these 10 most beautiful towns. From historic downtowns and idyllic nature spots to hip restaurants and trendy shops, each of these places offers something unique that will make tourists visit one-of-a-kind.

Nestled in the heart of West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains and along the banks of the mighty New River, Hinton is a small town with considerable charm. This picture-perfect spot has been listed as one of America’s “Distinctive Destinations,” thanks to its quaint downtown district that houses unique shops, eateries, and more.

The town Was established in 1873 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic downtown district has been carefully preserved for all to enjoy, and visitors can explore the area’s rich history at attractions like the C&O Railroad Depot and Hinton Gap Tunnel. The civil war battle of Meadow Bluff was fought just outside of Hinton as well.

White Sulphur Springs

The charming town of White Sulphur Springs can be found in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. This picturesque spot is known for its stunning natural beauty, which includes the Greenbrier River and The Greenbrier Resort.

The town's long history dates back to 1778 when pioneers first settled it. Since then, White Sulphur Springs has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts to take in the majestic views and explore its stunning landscape. The town is also home to several notable attractions and sites, such as the Greenbrier State Forest and the historic West Virginia State Capitol building.

Sometimes referred to as the “Little City with a Big Heart,” Elkins is a charming small town located in the heart of West Virginia. This historic spot dates back to 1889 and has been lovingly preserved. Downtown Elkins is lined with stunning Victorian-style buildings that house unique shops and restaurants.

The town is also home to several notable attractions, such as the Historical Landmark Museum and the American Legion Hall. The nearby Monongahela National Forest offers plenty of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, camping, and more. Elkins is sure to delight guests with its old-world charm and modern amenities.

New Martinsville

Those looking for a unique place to visit in West Virginia should check out the small town of New Martinsville. This quaint spot is located along the banks of the Ohio River and offers plenty to do and see. Downtown New Martinsville features charming Victorian-style buildings that house shops, restaurants, and more.

The area is also home to several notable attractions, such as the Wetzel County Courthouse, the historic New Martinsville Bridge, and the nearby West Virginia Oil & Gas Museum. The town is also surrounded by stunning nature spots where visitors can enjoy fishing, kayaking, and more.

Related: Least Populated West Virginia Towns & Their Best Attractions

Wheeling is a historic town located in West Virginia’s northern panhandle. It is home to some of the state’s oldest and most iconic sites, including the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which has been standing since 1849. The town also features one of the nation’s first suspension bridges, built in 1830.

This charming destination is home to various attractions, from the town’s historic downtown district and many museums to nearby outdoor recreation spots like Oglebay Park. Wheeling is sure to delight visitors with its unique offerings and friendly atmosphere.

Harpers Ferry

The small Harpers Ferry, a historic town, is located at the junction of West Virginia's Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. This vibrant spot dates back to 1763 and has been lovingly preserved. Today, visitors can explore its charming cobblestone streets with unique shops, galleries, restaurants, and more.

Harpers Ferry houses multiple vibrant sites, including the John Brown Wax Museum and the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park . The nearby Appalachian Trail offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors, while its breathtaking views make it the perfect spot for a picnic or an evening stroll.

Shepherdstown

Located along the Potomac River in West Virginia , Shepherdstown is a charming small town with a rich history. This historic spot is home to several unique attractions, such as the Shepherdstown Museum and the Entler Hotel. The surrounding area offers plenty of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking trails to kayaking and fishing spots.

Shepherdstown also boasts a lively arts and culture scene, with several galleries and art shows held throughout the year. Visitors can sample delicious local cuisine at the town's many restaurants or explore its vibrant downtown filled with unique shops, eateries, and more.

Dating back to 1782, Lewisburg is a charming small town in West Virginia. This vibrant spot has been lovingly preserved over the years and features various attractions, including Carnegie Hall and its historic downtown district. The surrounding area offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors, from hiking in the nearby state parks to canoeing on the Greenbrier River.

Lewisburg is also home to several unique eateries, galleries, and boutiques where visitors can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. The town's annual festivals, such as the Chocolate Festival and the State Fair of West Virginia, further add to its vibrancy.

Pristine views and a laid-back atmosphere await visitors in Thomas, West Virginia. This small town is located in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest and offers plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers. Visitors can explore nearby trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding or cast their lines into the local streams for some fishing.

Thomas also boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with several galleries and theatre performances held throughout the year. The town's downtown district is home to unique boutiques and eateries where visitors can find delicious local cuisine.

Related: This West Virginia Via Ferrata Is Longer (And Higher) Than Climbers Realize

Located in the heart of West Virginia, Buckhannon is a historic small town filled with charm. This vibrant spot dates back to 1770 and features various attractions, including the West Virginia Wesleyan College and its historic downtown district. The surrounding area offers plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers, from hiking in nearby state parks to swimming at local lakes.

Buckhannon is also home to several unique eateries and boutiques where visitors can sample delicious local cuisine or find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. The town's annual festivals, such as Oktoberfest and the Strawberry Festival, add to its lively atmosphere.

10 Most Beautiful Towns In West Virginia You Should Visit

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COMMENTS

  1. 12 Ghost Towns In West Virginia [MAP]

    10. Thurmond 11.

  2. 5 near-forgotten ghost towns to explore in WV

    Which ghost towns have you explored? Discover more WV history > This post was last updated on March 15, 2022 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Head to the National Park to explore surreal abandoned mining towns, full of rich history and rusted, towering equipment reclaimed by the forest. If you

  3. Eight ghost towns in southern West Virginia worth visiting

    Kaymoor Located along the New River Gorge, the Kaymoor No. 1 mine was one of the most productive coal mines in the gorge. Between 1900 and 1962, miners brought 16,904,321 tons of coal out of Kaymoor. Advertisement Kaymoor is now part of the National Park Service's New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

  4. 13 spooky places that'll make your spine tingle

    Is the land cursed? You be the judge. Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is open for paranormal tours and the park also hosts a Dark Carnival in October. 2. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

  5. THE BEST West Virginia Ghost Towns (Updated 2024)

    THE BEST West Virginia Ghost Towns Ghost Towns in West Virginia Enter dates Attractions Filters • 2 Sort All things to do Points of Interest & Landmarks Historic Sites Churches & Cathedrals Arenas & Stadiums Ghost Towns 1 place sorted by traveler favorites Clear all filters 2023 1. Thurmond Ghost Town 104 Ghost Towns By O6751XHlisas

  6. 11 Deserted and Forgotten Towns in West Virginia

    Winona Carter G. Woodson, a leader in the Black History Movement, taught in the Winona school around 1900. ©David from Washington, DC / CC BY 2.0 - License A small town along Keeney's Creek, and still slightly populated, Winona, West Virginia virtually exists as a ghost town.

  7. Boom to Bust: Exploring West Virginia Ghost Towns

    Yes Nuttallburg, West Virginia used to be a coal mining town established by entrepreneur John Nuttall. Established: John Nuttall opened mining businesses in western Pennsylvania. Starting in 1870, he began acquiring land along the New River to get first dibs once the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) was completed.

  8. 9+ Ghost Towns In West Virginia

    You'll discover the fascinating history of Nuttallburg and its significance in the coal mining era, as well as the haunting beauty of Elkins, a town in west Virginia that experienced both booms and busts. Prepare to be captivated by the historic Civil War site of Droop Mountain and the tragic tale of Rush Run, a community lost to the sands of time.

  9. 7 WV ghost towns to visit

    Nuttallburg Named after the coal prospector John Nuttall, Nuttallburg was a coal-shipping powerhouse. Nowadays, visitors can look through abandoned mine buildings, tipples and railroad tracks. Despite rocky and narrow roads, a hike through the river gorge is a good idea when the weather is good.

  10. List of ghost towns in West Virginia

    (March 2022) Algoma, in McDowell County. Ames, in Fayette County. Bachman, in Fayette County. Bartley, in McDowell County. Beartown, in McDowell County. Beury, in Fayette County. Big Sandy, in McDowell County. Black Wolf, in McDowell County. Blue Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier County. Boone, in Fayette County. Brink, in Greenbrier County.

  11. Spruce Is An Abandoned Town In West Virginia

    Ghost towns are fascinating places. Once teeming with life, they now lie abandoned and forgotten by a world that has moved callously on without them. Such is the story of many an overgrown West Virginia settlement, including the long-abandoned town of Spruce, West Virginia, whose ruins are perched high in a mountain meadow in Pocahontas County.

  12. Thurmond Ghost Town

    Thurmond is a ghost town from West Virginia's better days. Nov 2021 • Friends. Thurmond was once a booming town, but it is now a ghost town. The Amtrak station still is in use, but it was rather quiet. All of the old shops and the train depot were closed, but it was nice to browse through the outdoor grounds.

  13. 8 Ghost Towns of West Virginia You Should Explore!

    Move Size One of the best reasons to move to West Virginia is to explore the ghost towns of West Virginia. With more than 65 ghost towns, it has become the best appealing haunted destination for tourists and locals. And do you know the exciting part?

  14. Category:Ghost towns in West Virginia

    Category:Ghost towns in West Virginia - Wikipedia Jump to content Main menu Main menu move to sidebarhide Navigation Main page Contents Current events Random article About Wikipedia Contact us Donate Contribute Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file Languages

  15. Why Some Say This Is The Most Haunted Town In America

    United States. West Virginia. Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is older than our country, that's why it has a reputation as the "Most Haunted Town In America.". Initially settled by Native Americans, the first European settler was Thomas Shepherd. He received the land grant parcel located on the south bank of the Potomac River in 1734, an ...

  16. There's A Ghost Town Hidden In The Woods At West Virginia's New River

    Nuttallburg, West Virginia, was founded by John Nuttall, the English pioneer who first discovered coal in this area, in 1870. By 1873, when the railroad arrived to the area, there were already 100 houses, 80 coke ovens, a coal tipple, and other mine structures. By 1920, Ford Motor Company had acquired the Nuttallburg mines to supply coal to its ...

  17. The Spooky Ghost Town In West Virginia With Fewer Than 10 Residents

    The Spooky (Almost) Ghost Town In West Virginia With Fewer Than 10 Residents. West Virginia is riddled with ghost towns that will either give you the creeps or fill you with intrigue. Perhaps the tiny (almost) ghost town of Thurmond does a little of both for most people. First settled in 1844 by W.D. Thurmond, a surveyor who eventually served ...

  18. 5 of the most haunted locations in West Virginia

    In the late 1700s, the Clay family moved into western Virginia (present day Mercer County, West Virginia). Mitchell Clay and his wife settled on an 800 acre farm and raised 14 children, but in 1783 tragedy struck.

  19. Website launches interactive map of W.Va. ghost stories

    Ghost hunters who are exploring West Virginia will have an easier time sharing and investigating experiences thanks to a new interactive map of hauntings being published by WVGhosts.com . Available at haunts.WVGhosts.com, the map locates the sites of more than 200 reported encounters with ghosts and other supernatural phenomena across the ...

  20. 18 Spookiest Ghost Towns In the USA You Can Visit

    Visiting this creepy town is one of the best things to do in Nevada, and the town is easily accessible. You can still see the weathered remains of the train depot, general store, and bank, which is excellent for holiday photo ops. 2. Thurmond, West Virginia. Thurmond is one of the best US ghost towns in West Virginia.

  21. West Virginia's most charming Appalachian towns

    USA West Virginia West Virginia's most charming mountain towns Amy C. Balfour Mar 28, 2022 • 10 min read West Virginia's mountain communities (and small cities) are amazing spots for arts and culture, local history, nature and food © Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Tourism Sponsored by

  22. 7 Eerie And Fascinating Coal Mining Towns in West Virginia

    Nuttallburg Nuttallburg, WV 25840, USA Rana Xavier/Flickr According to the National Park Service, English-born entrepreneur John Nuttall established the town of Nuttallburg in the 1870s. The town shipped coal to industrial cities hundreds of miles away. Even after Nuttall's death in 1897, the town was bustling.

  23. Is there a ghost town in West Virginia?

    Thurmond, WV is home to a population of 4 people, all of whom are citizens. The Ghost Town of THURMOND, WV - A Good Town Gone Bad Does anyone live in Thurmond? Thurmond is not technically a ghost town, as four people apparently still live there.

  24. 8 Best Small Towns In West Virginia For Outdoor Enthusiasts

    New River flowing by Hinton, West Virginia. Hinton is a small town that sits pretty by the New River, close to its confluence with the Greenbrier and Bluestone Rivers. The New River is the main draw to the town for outdoor buffs, alongside its gorge, bridge, and waterfall. Hinton is also the southern gateway to the New River Gorge National Park ...

  25. America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

    Nevada City, Montana While enjoying Montana's blue skies and breathtaking scenery, make a pit stop in Nevada City, a ghost town situated roughly 90 miles northwest of Yellowstone National Park....

  26. 10 Most Beautiful Towns In West Virginia You Should Visit

    The small Harpers Ferry, a historic town, is located at the junction of West Virginia's Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. This vibrant spot dates back to 1763 and has been lovingly preserved.