Scenic train rides in West Virginia
As spring comes to the West Virginia mountains, winter-weary eyes can enjoy the wildflowers, waterfalls and sweeping vistas on steam train excursions.
The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad uses classic steam engines and vintage diesels for its Mountain Rail Adventures. Many of these trips go to areas unreachable by cars because there are no roads.
Leaving from Elkins, Durbi and Cass in east-central West Virginia, the line offers a variety of trips. Full-day excursions go deep into the Monongahela National Forest, while shorter sightseeing trips roll along the Greenbrier and Shaver’s Fork Rivers.
The season opens on Saturday, April 4, with the kid-centered “Cottontail Express.” The Easter Bunny and his friends are on board the 90-minute ride with games and treats. The two trips that day usually sell out.
April 11 and 18 are set aside for the Mountain Cascades Excursion. The four-hour run climbs steep mountain grades with spectacular views along the cascading waters of Shavers Fork. The train stops at the High Falls of Cheat River where spring snow run-off tumbles down the mountain and wildflowers bloom on the hillside.
Starting Memorial Day Weekend, there’s an overnight trip, “Wild Heart of West Virginia.” It’s a combined ride on two trains, with a run up either Cheat Mountain or Bald Knob (one of the highest mountains in the state). Passengers have the option of staying in an authentic “company” house at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park (reservations required).
The full schedule for the season includes special trains to a folk craft fair; wine tasting trips; trips to bluegrass, gospel and mountain music festivals; murder mystery dinner trains; a viewing of the full lunar eclipse in September; and even an overnight camping trip to a SPAMTRAK festival.
For details of these scenic trips, prices and packages, visit www.mtn-rail.com or call 877-686-7245.
Read more travel advice at www.insightguides.com.