West Virginia has an abundance of beautiful nature that is perfect for photographers. There are amazing mountain vistas, beautiful waterfalls, and forests to explore. On this page we’ll mention some of the best places throughout West Virginia for nature and landscape photography. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
New River Gorge
The New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia, southeast of Charleston, is managed by the National Parks Service and was established to protect and maintain the New River Gorge. The NPS-protected area covers more than 70,000 acres, and there are several noteworthy locations within the area.
Fayette Station Road winds throughout the gorge and provides plenty of great views.
New River Gorge Bridge
New River Gorge Bridge is longest steel span bridge in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the United States. It is also a popular subject with photographers.
In the past Grandview was a state park, but since 1990 it has been a part of New River Gorge National River. The overlook 1440 feet above the river provides a stunning view.
Sandstone Falls is a series of falls at a very wide part of the new river. The drop is only about 10-20 feet, but the width of the falls makes it quite unique. The NPS website provides instructions on how to reach Sandstone Falls, which takes you on a scenic route that is noteworthy on its own.
Cathedral Falls is located just outside of the New River Gorge National River, near the town of Cauley Bridge. The 60-foot, picturesque waterfall is easy to reach from Route 60 on the east side of the New River.
Babcock State Park
Babcock State Park is about 30 miles southeast of Cathedral Falls and along the New River Gorge. This state park is home to one of the more popular destinations in the state for photographers, Glade Creek Grist Mill, which is located near the park headquarters. This area is especially beautiful in autumn with fall colors. In addition to the grist mill, Babcock State Park also includes mountain vistas, and trails that will take you to the great views. You can get details of the different hiking trails at the park website.
Dolly Sods Wilderness
The Dolly Sods Wilderness in northeastern West Virginia is part of the Monongahela National Forest. This rocky mountain wilderness area offers amazing views that are perfect for photography. There are more than 40 miles of hiking trails within the wilderness, including a 3-mile trial that leads to Lion’s Head Rock, one of the best views. In May and June wildflowers are often visible.
→ For more details, please see our Guide to Photographing the Dolly Sods Wilderness.
Blackwater Falls State Park
Blackwater Falls State Park is just northwest of the Dolly Sods Wilderness, and is another popular location with photographers. The 60-foot Blackwater Falls provides an excellent subject for photos, and is also easy to reach thanks to a wooden walkway and an overlook. A steep trail to the bottom is also available. Blackwater State Park is also home to Elakala Falls, which is equally beautiful. Also within the park, Lindy Point provides a great view into Blackwater Canyon. There is a nature trail that leads from the park lodge area to Lindy Point.
→ For more details, see our Guide to Photographing Blackwater Falls State Park.
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Just a few miles east of Blackwater Falls State Park is the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which protects a valley and wetlands in the Allegheny Mountains. The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, bobcats, black bears, wild turkey, beavers, ruffed grouse, and others. It includes 31 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of roads that lead to plenty of great views. Information on the different trails is available here.
Coopers Rock State Forest
Coopers Rock State Forest is located in northern West Virginia, near Morgantown. The park includes a few impressive overlooks, including Raven Rock Overlook, which can be reached with a 2-mile hike. There are about 5 miles of trails within the park.
Seneca Rocks is located in eastern West Virginia, not far from the Dolly Sods Wilderness. The peak is popular with rock climbers, and it is also a great subject for photos. They can be seen from West Virginia Route 28 and U.S. Route 33.
Douglas Falls is located just a few miles from Blackwater Falls. The red rocks and cascading falls create a beautiful scene. There is a rough road and a short hike to get the the falls.
Holly River State Park
Holly River State Park is an 8,000-acre park in central West Virginia.It features over 40 miles of hiking trails and Upper Falls (pictured below). At the falls there is an observation deck, as well as stairs that lead to the bottom.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania
- The Best Places to Photograph in Ohio
- The Best Places to Photograph in Kentucky
- The Best Places to Photograph in Virginia
- The Best Places to Photograph in Maryland