- 136.72 miles (220 km)
- 8 hours to enjoy the Byway
- There is no fee to drive the Byway.
Follow the footsteps of America's first president and Founding Father when you travel the Washington Heritage Trail in West Virginia. So much of George Washington's history is preserved and relived along the Byway that you can almost feel his presence. The Byway offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life. Travel through farms and apple orchards and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area as you explore the history of the people and places that shaped this great nation.
The Washington Heritage Trail is a loop route, so you can begin and end your tour anywhere along the way. Visit the small towns along the Byway and take advantage of the shops, restaurants, and cultural activities that await you. Many of the towns and structures are associated with George Washington's family. From the Byway you can see seven of the family's estates. In Charles Town, which was established by President Washington's brother, you will find a serene city steeped with history. If you're looking for some real excitement, take in a live thoroughbred horse race; it's a popular activity year-round in Charles Town.
For a real treat, plan to spend some time at Berkeley Springs. You'll see why this was one of Washington's favorite retreats. Washington named the town Bath, which is what it is still commonly known as today. He and his friends would often stop by to soak in the mineral springs that flow continuously at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. You can still see the stone structure in the center of town that is jokingly known as "George Washington's Bathtub." Treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the mineral waters that are still so popular today, or enjoy a luxurious massage or heat treatment at the modern-day spa.
For a first-hand look at the history of the area, take part in any of the live enactments that occur along the Byway. See artillery demonstrations and re-enactments of Civil War battles in Harper's Ferry. Many other historic events occurred in this area and are relived and interpreted here. History will come alive for you in the 21 National Register Historic Districts and 126 National Register Historic Sites near the Byway, as volunteers and historical groups preserve the legacies that made America great.