Lifetime Fitness

The Ultimate Fall Getaway to West Virginia

This article was produced in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Tourism.

There are few things better than rounding up your pals for a good old-fashioned guys’ getaway. Whether it’s a bachelor party, spontaneous road trip, or simply a long-overdue reunion, West Virginia offers plenty of ways to explore the great outdoors, and there’s no time like the present to start planning an unforgettable trip with the boys.

While there’s never a bad time to visit the Mountain State, the natural beauty of Almost Heaven is arguably best in the fall. As temperatures drop, the leaves start to change, and the state becomes blanketed in a brilliant sepia-toned glow. Autumnal adventure opportunities run the gamut, from golfing and moonshine tasting to rock climbing and whitewater rafting. Plus, West Virginia is super accessible, located within a day’s drive from two thirds of the United States.

To get the wheels turning for your next guys’ getaway, we’re covering some of the top experiences worth checking out this fall. You can also find additional autumn-themed travel inspiration here, including a fall color map, road trip ideas, restaurant recommendations, and more. Don’t forget to order a hard copy or download a free vacation guide before packing your bags and hitting the road.

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Epic Adventures the Guys Are Going to Love

1. Embark on an Off-Road Excursion

Looking to let loose and tear it up on the trails? Area outfitters are happy to help with ATV rentals and West Virginia easily tops the list of America’s best off-roading destinations, thanks to its world-famous Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. Named after a family feud that unfolded over 150 years ago in the Tug River Valley, it’s the largest contiguous trail system in the U.S. and one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world. More than 1,000 miles of well-maintained trails cut through Almost Heaven’s rolling hills, dense forests, and mountainous terrain.

It’s like an off-the-beaten path natural obstacle course that ranges from laidback, leisurely rides to heart-racing, rip-roaring routes. Each of the 10 trails has its own distinct personality, but favorites include Bearwallow (one of the three original trails), Rock House (perfect for daredevils), and Cabwaylingo (the first trail located within a state forest). Just don’t forget to purchase a permit (either online or in-person at select locations) before hitting the throttle. From ATVs, UTVs, OTVs, dirt bikes, and more, there really is a one-of-a-kind off-road adventure for everyone.

Whitewater rafting in West Virginia

2. Go Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting isn’t just a heart-pounding pastime in West Virginia—it’s more like a way of life. In fact, the state is home to the highest density of whitewater runs in the entire country. Get the guys to join in on this time-honored tradition by experiencing the rushing rapids firsthand. Ancient rivers carve their way all across West Virginia, so no matter where you hang your hat, you’re sure to find epic rafting experiences and helpful outfitters nearby.

The crisp autumn air ushers in “Gauley Season” each September through mid-October. Scheduled water releases from the Summersville Dam transform the Gauley River into a paradise of Class V rapids that lures rafters from around the world. Exhilarating examples include Lost Paddle Rapid, Iron Ring, and Sweet’s Falls. The New River, which winds through New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, America’s newest national park, is another fan favorite. Divided into two sections, rafters of all skill levels can find rapids suited to their needs. Less experienced visitors should set out to explore the Upper New, while the Lower New offers more challenging rides. And beginners can set their sights on Morgantown and rafting on the Cheat River, as well as the milder Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, known for Class I, II, and III rapids. They still provide adrenaline-fueled adventures along with jaw-dropping autumnal scenes of the Eastern Panhandle.

Hiking in West Virginia
Courtesy Image

3. Hit the Hiking Trails

Nothing beats going off the grid and reconnecting with your buds in nature. Luckily, West Virginia is blessed with countless outdoor wonders and breathtaking vistas around every turn. Plunging valleys, soaring mountain peaks, glistening lakes, and expansive forests are all commonplace here. Experience it up close and personal by lacing up your hiking boots and taking to the trails. There are hundreds of miles of crisscrossing routes that cover all corners of West Virginia—from easy loops and accessible hikes to backcountry trails and white-knuckle climbs.

Coopers Rock State Forest in Bruceton Mills serves up some of the state’s best fall vistas. It boasts nearly 50 miles of trails that include striking overlooks and unparalleled views of the Cheat River Gorge.

Endless Wall Trail—roughly two and a half hours from Coopers Rock State Forest by car—is another scenic escape popular with hikers. The 2.7-mile moderate trail snakes along the rock cliffs that line the New River Gorge. Nearby Long Point Trail is the perfect day hike, stretching 1.6 miles that rewards hikers with a head-on view of the iconic New River Gorge Bridge.

Meanwhile, history buffs can head to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The quaint Harpers Ferry community effortlessly embraces the fall spirit and features museums, battlefields, and nearly 20 miles of relaxed hiking trails, including part of the famous Appalachian Trail. Don’t miss out on Dolly Sods, a U.S. Wilderness Area in the Allegheny Mountains, boasting high-altitude plateaus and 47 miles of rugged trails.

The Greenbrier Resort in the fall

The Greenbrier Resort in the fall
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4. Grab the Guys and Your Golf Clubs

Golfing may not be the first sport that springs to mind when thinking about the Mountain State, but West Virginia attracts golfers from all over the globe looking to elevate their game. The rolling courses make for an experience that’s as challenging as it is enjoyable. Plus, these picturesque courses are surprisingly affordable, so it’s a real win-win.

For a forgiving introduction to Mountain State golfing, head to the Stonewall Resort Golf Course. This well-groomed, 18-hole course features rolling fairways and glorious greens with panoramic mountaintop views. Raven Golf Club is regarded as one of West Virginia’s top public courses, tucked away at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. This signature Gary Player-designed course blends into its Appalachian Mountain surroundings, marked by scenic ravines, multiple outcroppings, and babbling streams. Glade Springs is a true hidden gem. The 18-hole course sprawls across the 4,100-acre property, right along the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The historic Greenbrier Resort also offers an array of handsome courses to put your skills to the test.

Rock climbing New River Gorge

Rock climbing New River Gorge
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5. Plan a Rock Climbing Outing

Want to take your friendships to new heights? Do it (literally) on a rock climbing expedition through Almost Heaven. With its rocky ridges, vertical hillsides, and staggering bluffs, the destination has long been a beloved base for the rock climbing set. Whether you’re a well-seasoned expert or thrill-seeking newbie looking to dip your toes into the sport, West Virginia offers some of the top climbs on the East Coast.

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is known for its extensive sport climbing that grants adventurers sweeping autumnal outlooks across America’s newest national park. There are 1,400 established rock climbs on offer throughout. Monongahela National Forest is another hot spot for climbers, thanks to Seneca Rocks. These magnificent formations soar nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River and provide unforgettable views. For challenging bouldering excursions, venture into Cheat Canyon, renowned for its stiff grades and protruding boulders. Coopers Rock State Forest and Kanawha State Forest also boast impressive bouldering. Feeling extra competitive? See who can clock the fastest time during a speed climbing race in North Bend State Park.

6. Get a Taste of West Virginia

The Appalachian Region has a long and fascinating moonshine-making history, but the modern-day distilling scene in West Virginia is just as enthralling. Whether you’re looking for a tasty way to wrap up your guys’ getaway—or you want it to be the focal point of your trip—you won’t be disappointed by the refreshing mountain spirits being crafted here today. Highlighting quality ingredients, like local grains and fresh mountain water, here are some of the state’s top distilleries worth adding to your list.

Smooth Ambler is a grain-to-glass craft distillery located in Greenbrier County that offers a range of different whiskies. They offer complimentary tastings every 30 minutes and public tours on weekends starting at just $10 per person. Family-owned Appalachian Distillery handles all its fermentation, distillation, and bottling on-site and is known for having creative moonshine concoctions. Sip on flavors like blackberry, apple pie, mountain mud coffee, and more. Tour the 10,000-square-foot distillery and sample handcrafted spirits. Mountain State Distillery is the first of its kind to open in the capital city of Charleston. Stop by this boutique micro-distillery and try its award-winning White Lightning moonshine. And if you’re more of a beer guy, you can always make your way along the ultimate West Virginia beer road trip, making pit-stops at favorites like Weathered Ground Brewery, Abolitionist Ale Works, and Morgantown Brewing Company.

Stonewall Resort State Park

Stonewall Resort State Park
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Where to Stay

Stonewall Resort State Park

Where: Roanoke

Surrounded by 1,900 acres of pristine park lands and located just three miles from I-79, Stonewall Resort State Park is easy to reach, but feels worlds away from it all. This Adirondack-style lakeside lodge offers a collection of rustic cottages, providing the perfect basecamp for your fall getaway (no matter the size of your crew). Guests can fill their days with outdoor pursuits, like hiking, boating, or playing a few rounds on the resort’s incredible Arnold Palmer Signature Course. Plus, you can bring your pooch along to this pet-friendly property. You’ll leave fully understanding why people tend to claim that “life is better at the lake.”

Buffalo Trail Cabins

Where: Bluefield

Don’t be fooled by its peaceful wooded setting—Buffalo Trail Cabins was built with serious ATV fanatics in mind. Situated less than four miles from the Pocahontas Trailhead of the aforementioned Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, this property is considered the unofficial headquarters for off-roading enthusiasts. The compound features cabins, cottages, ultimate treehouses, and full hook-up RV sites for daredevils of all ages. Bring your own or borrow a ride from nearby rental companies like Trailhead Adventures or West Virginia ATV Rentals. And don’t miss its on-site restaurant, which plates up local delicacies like juicy bison burgers, pizza, and steak, along with more than 30 different beers on tap.

Carnifex Ferry Cabins

Where: Summersville

Searching for a truly serene escape? Look no further than Carnifex Ferry Cabins, tucked away in the breathtaking New River Gorge. Situated on 38 acres of West Virginia woodlands, the property offers a dozen cabins to choose from. These range from private one-bedrooms to a spacious six-bedroom crash pad for the entire bunch. Wake up on the doorstep of Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, just minutes from the region’s most popular draws, including the Gauley River, Summersville Lake, Hawks Nest State Park, and more. It’s an idyllic outpost anytime of year—but it’ll really impress the boys when it bursts to life in blazing fall foliage.

Resort at Glade Springs

Where: Daniels

Another awesome New River Gorge getaway, the Resort at Glade Springs is a 4,100-acre, family-friendly property with an almost dizzying array of recreational activities. From tennis and pickleball to archery, bubble soccer, and fishing on Mallard Lake, a stay here feels more like a throwback to the summer camp days of yesteryear. They also have an impressive lineup of indoor experiences to keep the group busy, like bowling, laser tag, a movie theater, and an escape room. The resort offers a variety of accommodations to choose from, ranging some simple hotel rooms and upgraded suites to multi-bedroom vacation rentals.

Country Road Cabins

Where: Hico

Deep in the rolling hills of southern West Virginia, Country Road Cabins has been welcoming guests to its rustic, family-run enclave for over 25 years. Best known for its unique assortment of woodsy cabins (23 in all), the homey digs here come equipped with all essential amenities—including satellite TV, WiFi, fully-equipped kitchens, private hot tubs, and decks with barbecues. Fan favorites include the aptly-named Almost Heaven log cabin, the Tuscany Tree House (anchored 20 feet up in the air), and the brand-new Safari Sun luxury glamping tent.

ACE Adventure Resort

Where: Oak Hill

Thrill seekers will feel right at home at ACE Adventure Resort. This 1,500-acre megaplex in the New River Gorge offers virtually every outdoor exploit imaginable—including whitewater kayak clinics, stand up paddle tours, climbing and rappelling day trips, guided float fishing ventures, and even mud obstacle courses. The property’s new Aerial Adventure Park features three levels that vary in height and difficulty, and don’t miss the spring-fed mountain lake water park. Over fifty cabins here run the gamut—from decked-out deluxe cottages and lakefront chalets to RV sites and primitive camping options. They even offer group bunkhouses for a more communal experience.

The Greenbrier

Where: White Sulphur Springs

If budget doesn’t really factor into the equation, make it The Greenbrier. Dubbed “America’s Resort” the stately property has welcomed more than half the nation’s U.S. presidents since opening its doors in, no joke, 1778. Situated on 11,000 acres and dwarfed only by the spectacular surrounding Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier offers 55 activities (at last count)—including trail riding, skeet and trap shooting, and all-important falconry lessons. Book one of the Signature Resort Rooms or splash some cash by renting one of their lavish Greenbrier Estate Homes.

The Light Horse Inn

Where: Harpers Ferry

For a historic, charming small-town feel, The Light Horse Inn is one of the most hallowed homes in Harpers Ferry. Built during the Revolutionary War, the Americana influences are palpable throughout this award-winning bed and breakfast. The property includes seven private suites with plenty of common spaces to hang with the boys. Enjoy a nightcap at their on-site bar or walk across the street to The Barn of Harpers Ferry to throw back craft brews over live music. The inn is minutes from the area’s top attractions, ranging from celebrated local wineries to famed battlefields and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.

Tentrr Campsites

Outdoor enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the natural wonders of Almost Heaven by booking one of the Tentrr campsites dispersed through four of the state’s most stunning state parks: Blackwater Falls, Hawks Nest, Cacapon, Lost River, and Coopers Rock State Forest. The platform canvas tents are equipped with modern camping luxuries like queen memory foam mattresses and propane tent heaters for kicking back in the wild—without really roughing it.

Feeling Inspired? Start Planning Your Trip

No matter what you’re looking for, you’re bound to discover your own version of heaven in West Virginia. From laid-back bonding trips to incredible itineraries packed with heart-racing adventures, there are no limits to your next guys’ getaway. You can find even more autumn-themed travel inspiration here, including a fall color map, road trip ideas, restaurant recommendations, and more. Now grab your phone and hit up your buddies—you’ve got an epic adventure to plan.


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