Best time to visit West Virginia

Scenic Railroad Trips in West Virginia

Hop aboard a genuine steam locomotive and discover the remote wilderness of West Virginia

Best time: April–December

Scenic Railroad Trips
Scenic Railroad Trips
Scenic Railroad Trips
Cass Senic Railroad
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Monongahela National Forest in the Allegheny Mountains is home to scenic railroads, offering unique vintage train rides. You'll be traveling by a refurbished steam-driven locomotive to the beautiful clangs of the bell and chugs of pistons. And what's also important, these historic mountain railways take you to the remote areas of Almost Heaven, not accessible by automobile.

Mountain Rail Adventures operate from April through December. However, the most popular time is fall foliage season from mid-September through late October. Note that the fares rise during the high season.

Cass Scenic Railroad

The historic Cass Scenic Railroad was built in 1901 and is the most popular choice. A 22 mi (34 km) round-trip from Cass to Bald Knob leads to the second-highest peak in West Virginia, sitting at 4,842 ft (1,476 m). As the train climbs higher, the passengers reveal a completely different world, with amusing flora and fauna. The journey lasts for around 4.5 hours.

Besides the Bald Knob, Cass Scenic Railroad offers a shorter itinerary to Whittaker Station. The 8 mi (13 km) round-trip takes 2 hours and chugs up the lower slopes of Cheat Mountain along the stunning Leatherbark Creek. As the train arrives at Whittaker Station, the riders have a 30-minute layover to soak up picturesque vistas.

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

The Durbin Rocket ride departs from Durbin and winds along the free-flowing Greenbrier River. These trips are particularly appreciated by families with kids. The youngest passengers can safely explore the train's closed cars, while more mature riders take advantage of the open-car views. The 10.5 mi (17 km) round trip to and from Hevener Station continues for 2 hours.

Insider tips

To guarantee seating, we recommend making advanced online reservations. Also, you may want to bring a jacket if you visit during a colder season. And take into account that steam engine trains are rather noisy, so maybe also grab a pair of earplugs if you're sensitive to loud noises.

Practical info

What is the best time to visit West Virginia for scenic railroad trips?

West Virginia is an ideal place for scenic railroad trips, particularly from April to December. The most popular season is fall foliage from mid-September to late October. Since fares are higher during the peak seasons, visiting during shoulder seasons may be a smart choice. The impressive beauty of the landscape attracts hordes of visitors, so travelers may like to plan ahead for fewer crowds. Show more

Where do the scenic railroads in West Virginia take you?

West Virginia's Cass Scenic Railroad and Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad are among the state's scenic railroads. Here, riders get to see the beauty of the mountain wilderness first-hand. The Cass Scenic Railroad offers Bald Knob round-trip rides spanning 22 miles, reaching the state's second-highest peak. Durbin Rocket ride, on the other hand, is a 10-mile ride along the Greenbrier River, renowned for its family-friendly indoor and outdoor coaches. Show more

How long does the Cass Scenic Railroad journey last?

A scenic round-trip route to Bald Knob, West Virginia's second-highest peak, can take around 4.5 hours. The ride is around 22 miles long and provides stunning views of the natural landscape, including lush flora and wildlife. Alternatively, riders can take a shorter journey to Whittaker Station, an 8-mile round trip that lasts roughly 2 hours with just the right amount of stops and sights for a memorable experience. Show more

What is the difference between the Cass Scenic Railroad's trips to Bald Knob and Whittaker Station?

The Cass Scenic Railroad's Bald Knob plan covers more distance with 22 miles round trip. The ride lasts around 4.5 hours, and visitors will be treated with the stunning view along the way. On the other hand, the Whittaker Station journey covers roughly 8 miles with around 2 hours of travel time. Regardless of the trip, the scenic beauty of West Virginia's mountain wilderness on board the train is nothing short of breathtaking. Show more

Are advanced online reservations required for the Durbin Rocket ride?

Families with children will enjoy the Durbin Rocket ride and its indoor and outdoor coaches. To ensure a shortage-free experience, online reservations are recommended. Travelers can expect noise from the steam engine, so they need to bring earplugs. Fall and winter seasons may mean colder weather, so it's a good idea to bring jackets to stay warm and comfortable while enjoying the beautiful landscape views across the Greenbrier River. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych