The rugged and wild landscapes that surround this peaceful mining town are perfect for recreation activities.
The small settlement of Summersville lies on the banks of Summersville Lake, West Virginia’s largest lake. Go swimming, fishing, boating and scuba diving on the scenic expanse of water, hike around the surrounding countryside and learn about the Civil War history associated with the region.
Summersville is a traditional mountain town in the heart of Appalachia. Like much of West Virginia, it relies heavily on the coal industry. In the process of extracting coal, mining companies have performed “mountaintop removals,” which involves blasting parts of the mountain peaks. As you travel outside the town, look for evidence of this mining process on the mountaintops.
Enjoy the area’s many outdoor opportunities. Head to the Summersville Dam for swimming in summer. The dam also marks the start of the upper Gauley River whitewater route. Enjoy the excitement of these explosive rapids, some of which are Class V. Lower Gauley River has a more manageable, scenic course that is suited to less experienced rafters.
Go hiking or boating in the Summersville Lake Retreat and stop at the lighthouse. In 2012, this 104-foot-tall (32-meter) tower was erected overlooking the lake. Climb the 122 steps to reach a viewing gallery, where you can gaze out at the lake and mountains. The panorama is particularly pretty in autumn when the foliage changes color.
Delve into local history at the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, the site of an 1861 battle during which Union troops forced a Confederate retreat. Browse the exhibits at the Patterson Museum, open on weekends and holidays, to learn more about the history of the park site.
Sample fruit wine and corn-based spirits in a quiet rural winery settings. Other interesting activities within reach of Summersville include the Mystery Hole, a family-friendly roadside attraction with gravity-defying displays.
The Mountain Transit Authority bus service operates routes between Summersville and Lewisburg, Webster Springs and several other destinations in the area. Rent a car for the freedom to explore all the great wilderness the region offers.