Skip to main content

U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


Scarlet Bee Balm. Scarlet Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). Photo by T.G. Barnes, University of Tennessee Herbarium.

Canada Lily. Canada Lily (Lilium canadense). Photo by T.G. Barnes, University of Tennessee Herbarium.

Trailing White Monkshood. Trailing White Monkshood (Aconitum reclinatum). Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

Highland Scenic Highway

Forest: Monongahela National Forest

District: Gauley and Marlinton Ranger Districts

Description: The Highland Scenic Highway is a beautiful corridor through the National Forest. This National Forest Scenic Byway extends 43 miles from Richwood to US Route 219, seven miles north of Marlinton. The Highway follows State Route 39/55 for 21 miles from Richwood to the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center and passes by Falls of Hills Creek. It then turns onto State Route 150 for the 22 mile Parkway section that passes by the Cranberry Glades and the Cranberry Wilderness. The Highway traverses the mountainous terrain of the Allegheny Highlands and Plateau, and rises from Richwood, elevation 2,325 feet, to over 4,500 feet along the Parkway.

The Scenic Highway traverses high elevation northern hardwood and red spruce forest communities with may opportunities to view flowering shrubs such as serviceberry, mountain laurel, and rhododendron and crosses the Williams River. Along the Williams River and the Highland Scenic Highway, Turk’s cap lilies, Canada lilies and white monkshood, among other wildflowers can bee seen. The Mountains surrounding the eastern end of the Highway have a particularly rich geology and abundant moisture creating perfect conditions for many showy wildflowers and shrubs and a diversity of tree species.

Scenic Overlooks: Four Scenic overlooks located on the Parkway portion of the Highway provide spectacular views of the Allegheny Highlands. On clear days, views of the surrounding ridges and valleys are a special attraction. Spring blossoms, summer wildflowers, and autumn leaves offer color throughout the season. Barrier-free picnic shelters and restrooms are provided at each overlook.

Trails: Over 150 miles of trail are accessible from the Highway. Three barrier-free trails serve the Falls of Hills Creek, the Cranberry Glades, and the Big Spruce Overlook. Many trails are also suitable for cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Mountain biking is permitted on most of the trails outside of the Cranberry Wilderness.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest. For more information contact the Gauley Ranger District, 932 North Fork Cherry Rd., Richwood, WV 26261 (304) 846-2695 or the Marlinton Ranger District, POBox 210, Marlinton WV 24954 (304)799-4334.

Closest Town: Marlinton, West Virginia.