- 97.56 miles (157 km)
- Three hours to drive this Byway.
- There are no fees for driving the Byway.
Experience life in the coal camps on the Coal Heritage Trail in West Virginia. As you wind through the mountains and valleys of the Byway, you will see many physical remnants of the coal boom that furthered the industrialization of America, such as the historic town of Bramwell, or venture deep into the earth to see the coal mines themselves.
Visit coal miners' homes, company stores, company offices, railroad yards and other structures that defined life in the "smokeless coal fields." To get the full effect of what coal mining must have been like, you've got to go beneath the surface, and see what it took to mine this economical fuel that transformed rural America into an industrial land. Brave the dark corridors of the authentic Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. As you ride through the mine in vintage "man cars" 500 feet below the ground, you will see working equipment and displays demonstrating old mining techniques. The guides at the mine are veteran miners, so they can tell you exactly what went on down in those dark passages.
Once you've explored the history surrounding the Coal Heritage Trail, take some time to enjoy the present-day activities that are available on the Byway, such as setting up your gear on the shores of Bluestone Lake, an excellent place to catch a variety of fish. There are also many opportunities for camping and hiking in the area, and the Twin Falls State Park offers sweeping views while you prepare yourself for a day of camping or hiking. Pinnacle Rocks State Park will give you the opportunity to set up your picnic basket in an unusual scenic setting. If you really want a challenge with hiking and have the time to do it, then set your feet on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The Byway will take you from one adventure to another. So set out early, and take in all the sights and activities waiting for you on the Coal Heritage Trail.