Welcome to the Highland Weekender—a new series outlining an adventurous weekend in one of our region’s outstanding outdoor hubs. This is a shout out to the weekend warriors and those who prefer to visit these areas in their seasonal primes.
There’s a place where the grass is white and the beer flows like water. It’s referenced in the lore of mountain bikers who need no sleep, and frequented by Nordic ski gods who fly up the mountain. We speak of the neighboring towns of Davis and Thomas—your hub for adventures in Blackwater Canyon and Canaan Valley. Spend one weekend here and you’ll be checking their local real estate listings when you return home.
Hike & Bike
From snowy evening strolls to full-day epics, plenty of trails cater to those traveling on foot or by wheel. Easy jaunts can be enjoyed in the Davis Riverfront Park or on the Blackwater Canyon rail-trail that extends from Thomas down to Hendricks. For moderate trails that will get the blood pumping (especially if snow shoes are necessary, head to Blackwater Falls State Park or explore the Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area, accessible from Route 32 just south of Davis. The Tucker County CVB on William Street in Davis has free maps available in the office.
Have you rolled a fatty in the snow? Drop by Blackwater Bikes in Davis and outfit your crew with fat tire bikes to hit the trails in Blackwater Falls State Park. Over 20 miles of singletrack beckon those brave enough to see what their fatty can do, and some trails are groomed when the snow piles up.
Ski & Board
Grab your sticks and cruise south on Route 32 into Canaan Valley. With an average annual 180 inches of snow and around 1,000 feet of vertical drop on the Cabin Mountain range that the resorts call home, Canaan is the hot spot for cold adventures. Downhillers should to head to Canaan Valley Resort State Park or Timberline Four Seasons Resort. Both resorts are on the northwest face of the same ridgeline, with Timberline getting the slight vertical edge (850 ft. and 1000 ft., respectively). Canaan is known for its wide, natural meadows and Timberline for its experts-only glades. If cross country skiing is more your speed, head to the Nordic wonderland of the White Grass Ski Touring Center—over 38 miles of curvy trails, 1,200 vertical feet of skiable terrain, and access to the Dolly Sods Wilderness beckon tele masters and skinny skiers alike. Downhill rentals are available from Driftland Ski and Sport in Davis, The Ski Barn in Canaan Valley, or through the resorts. White Grass has a full range of XC, telemark and alpine touring rentals.
Sled & Sleigh
Interested in something different? Itching to enjoy the outdoors without the exertion? If you’d rather let gravity do the work, grab a sled and hit the slope at the Blackwater Falls Sled Park—one of the longest in the east at a ¼-mile long. A conveyor carpet takes you back up to the top and lights provide thrills after dusk. For a romantic and rustic tour through The Valley, hitch a ride on horse drawn sleigh from Mountain Trail Rides.
Eat & Sleep
A myriad of food, drink, entertainment and lodging options is spread through Canaan Valley, Davis and Thomas—enough that you’ll have to make several visits to experience it all. From local restaurants and unique markets to craft breweries and local bars, the locavore scene in Tucker County is not to be missed. A burgeoning arts scene and plenty of live music will keep you going after your legs have tuckered out.
Whether discovering Davis and Thomas for the first time or continuing your exploration, come see why there’s always a reason to come back to Tucker County.