5 Best West Virginia Battlefields to Explore

A view from Tower Trail  in Droop Mountain State Park.
A view from Tower Trail in Droop Mountain State Park. Sonja
Made Possible by
Curated by

When it comes to the Civil War and other historic battles, West Virginia is a historic hotspot.

If you like your outdoor adventures with a side of history, these 5 West Virginia state parks are sure to put a smile on your face as you break a sweat:

1. Tu-Endie-Wei State Park

Tu-Endie-Wei State Park was the site of the Battle of Point Pleasant between Shawnee Native Americans and colonizers Oct. 10, 1774 and lasted an entire day. Look for a monument commemorating the battle when you visit the Mansion House Museum, a historic log home that was originally a tavern.

2. Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

The tower at the conclusion of Tower Trail in Droop Mountain State Park.
    Sonja
The tower at the conclusion of Tower Trail in Droop Mountain State Park. Sonja

This official stop of the Civil War Discovery Trail commemorates the Battle of Droop Mountain on Nov. 6, 1863, the last major battle of the Civil War in West Virginia. Check out 1 of the 8 short trails at Droop Mountain State Park.

For a rigorous hike, take the Minie Ball Trail— it’s only a half-mile one way, but has some seriously steep grades that add up to a roughly 45-minute round trip. If you have less time, try the Horse Heaven Trail or the Tower Trail, which will only take you about 15 minutes.

3. Rich Mountain Battlefield State Park

An historic fence in Harper’s Ferry State Park, one of the 18 West Virginian sites along the Civil War Discovery Trail.
An historic fence in Harper’s Ferry State Park, one of the 18 West Virginian sites along the Civil War Discovery Trail. Doug Kerr

Another official Civil War Discovery Trail stop, Rich Mountain Battlefield State Park was the site of a key win during the Civil War. The Battle of Rich Mountain gave the Union control of most of northwest Virginia, which eventually led to the creation of the state of West Virginia itself.

Covering more than 400 acres of land, Rich Mountain has plenty of outdoor space for exploration.

4. Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

At the battle of Carnifex Ferry, the Confederates failed to win control of the Kanawha Valley, which meant that West Virginia was able to gain its statehood without any hassle from the Confederates. If you visit on an odd year, don’t miss a re-enactment of this big-time battle.

Bring your family along to the park, perched on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon near Summersville, to enjoy the playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and 3 relaxing hiking trails for unbeatable views of the Gauley River Canyon: Old Ferry Road is a .3-mile moderately difficult route, Patterson Trail covers 2 miles and has several access points, and Pierson Hollow Trail is a .6-miler that’s narrow but pretty easy.

5. Prickett’s Fort State Park

A panorama of the inside of one of the cabins in Prickett’s Fort State Park.
A panorama of the inside of one of the cabins in Prickett’s Fort State Park. Jeff Turner

At Prickett’s Fort, meet interpreters in 18th century garb re-enacting the work of blacksmiths and weavers before you have a look around the shop that demonstrates firearm manufacturing of the time. Explore a reconstruction of the original Prickett’s Fort (from 1774), and take in a summer performance at the 400-seat amphitheater.

Once you’re done soaking up 18th-century history, hit the fort’s Nature Trail to learn about West Virginia’s flora and fauna through 25 interpretive stations, or the Marion County (MC) Trail, a low-impact 3-mile rail trail along Prickett’s Creek that’s perfect for everyone from walkers to cyclists.

Discover more historic adventures.

Last Updated:

Next Up

Next

National Parks Too Crowded? Visit These Nearby National Forests Instead