Grant County, located in the Potomac Highlands, is less than three hours from major airports in Washington (DC), Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Settled by pioneers in the 1700s, Grant County only came into being following the Civil War, when Union sympathizers in the western part of Hardy County opted to separate themselves from the Confederate loyalists concentrated in the eastern part of the county.

Grant County is characterized by a series of parallel ridges and valleys pierced by occasional water gaps, and in the part of the county west of the Allegheny Front is a high rolling plateau that is cooler and wetter than the ridge and valley land to the east. Petersburg, the county seat, is the economic and cultural hub of the region.

Grant Memorial Hospital is the only general hospital serving the Potomac Highlands, and the Petersburg Airport is the only general aviation facility with a lighted runway in the region. Grant County offers visitors a wide range of recreational activities: skiing, biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, caving, rock climbing, kayaking, boating and golfing.

= Tourist Attractions
= Parks with Facilities
= Recreation Areas & Landmarks

Fort MulliganLocated on Route 28 South near Grant Memorial Hospital. During the Civil War, both Federal or Confederate troops occupied the hill and surrounding area beginning at least as early as August, 1861. The fort itself was built by Union Colonel James A. Mulligan, from Illinois, along with his 23rd Illinois troops and those from Ohio, Pennsylvania and western Virginia. During an expedition to the area in 1864, Major General Jubal A. Early praised the fortifications and commended the efforts of the men. The fort is still regarded as one of the best preserved fortifications in West Virginia.

Vernon W. Welton Park29 acres located 2 miles northeast of Petersburg along the South Branch Potomac River on Route 220. The animal rock formation know as the Fox & Ox Rocks can be seen from the park. . Facilities include five picnic pavilions, rest-room facilities, playground area, ball fields, two boat ramps and a walking track..

City Park (Petersburg)12 acres along the South Branch Potomac river near the center of town. Facilities include four lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, three picnic pavilions with fireplaces, a lighted baseball field, swimming pool, playground, picnic areas, rest-rooms and a gazebo. City Park is the site of the annual Spring Mountain Festival in April and 4th of July events.

Day Park 20 acres located 6 miles from Petersburg on Patterson Creek Road in Arthur. This is a large wooded picnic area with three pavilions and fireplaces well as a large playground area, baseball and softball fields, volleyball area and rest-rooms.

Echo Park18 acres located 7 miles southwest of Petersburg on Route 28. Five residential cabins, with a shower and rest-room building, dining hall and kitchen. Facilities include two ball fields, a basketball court, volleyball area, playground, campfire area, four pavilions and a large stage. Open May through September.

Mountaintop Park10 acres located on Route 42 in Mount Storm. The park has three picnic pavilions with fireplaces in addition to a playground area, a paved basketball court, ball field and rest-rooms.

Turner Park 6 acres located 12 miles north of Petersburg on Route 42 in Maysville. This park has the county's only public rifle and archery range, pistol range, muzzle loader range, and regulation trap shooting field. Other facilities include two picnic pavilions with fireplaces and a playground area.

South Mill Creek LakeLocated on South Mill Creek Road, 12 miles south of Petersburg. Fishing includes crappie, trout, large-mouth bass, sunfish and catfish. A modern boat ramp along with a fishing pier for the handicapped is available. The park has a small picnic area with barbecue grills and rest-room facilities. There is also a walking trail along the lake.

South Side DepotIn 1884, the Hampshire Southern Railroad completed the 15 mile spur from Green Springs to Romney, and in 1910 continued construction through Moorefield to Petersburg. Mr. W.C. Halterman operated it as a general merchandise store from 1911, until 1940, with the slogan, "It pays to deal at the Hardware Store." In 2003, the City of Petersburg purchased and renovated the historic building,in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Tourism. Renamed The South Side Depot, the store now offers the atmosphere of times past with today's authentic West Virginia Heritage.

Petersburg WaveA unique recreational feature of Grant County is the Petersburg Wave, a rising column of air generated by strong west winds plunging over the Allegheny Front and deflected upward by ridges to the east. Each March finds many glider pilots setting altitude records on the Petersburg Wave.

Smoke Hole CavernsThe history of Smoke Hole Caverns is linked to the Seneca Indians. These Native Americans used the front section of the caverns to smoke and preserve venison and wild game. The slow burning wood fires sent clouds of smoke swirling out into the valley. The scene was so common that early settlers called the place Smoke Hole. The many rooms and secluded nature of the Caverns were also the ideal place for early settlers and immigrants to make corn whisky after the war. It is estimated that perhaps as many as 20 stills operated at one time. One has been preserved for visitors to see. The Caverns opened for commercial tour in 1942

Top Kick's Military MuseumThe museum was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit organization to preserve and restore military equipment on a limited basis to show the gear, supplies and apparatus used by the military..

Dolly Sods The 10,215 acre wilderness area has high wind-swept plains on the Allegheny Plateau. At elevations from 2,600 to over 4,000 feet, the area has extensive flat rocky plains, upland bogs, beaver ponds and sweeping vistas. The plant life and climate on this high plateau resembles northern Canada, and many species found here are near or at their southernmost range. Local farmers burned the plains to create grazing land or "sods." The pioneer Dahle family used the sods for grazing about the turn of the century. Their German name became the present "Dolly" of Dolly Sods. The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is located in the Monongahela National Forest, roughly 15 miles west of Petersburg.

Eagle's Nest OutfittersThey have several scenic river trips for visitors to experience the fresh, clean waters passing between majestic cliffs, mountaineer farms, and vistas that provide spectacular scenery especially in the spring and fall.

Fairfax Stone Fairfax Stone State Park, a 4-acre WV State Park, is located just off of Route 219 north of Thomas. The stone marks the junction of Grant, Preston and Tucker Counties and is one of the oldest markers in the United States. In 1681 Charles II of England granted Lord Hampton 6 million acres in this area. The grant was inherited by Lord Fairfax in 1722. Situated at the source of the north branch of the Potomac River, where three counties converge upon the southern tip of Maryland, the Fairfax Stone is the cornerstone for the state. Many of the earliest surveys in West Virginia started from this point, and some historians believe that the original stone may have been set by George Washington as a surveyor in his youth. The spot marks the boundary between Maryland and West Virginia and the headwaters of the Potomac River.

Greenland Gap Nature PreserveThis is part of the Nature Conservancy's effort to save the wilderness. In the spring season enjoy spectacular rhododendron blossoms. The preserve is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Smoke Hole & Big Bend Recreation AreaThe area is located next to a half-mile nearly vertical, canyon wall, adjacent to the South Branch of the Potomac. Big Bend has 46 campsites and is a favorite of fly fisherman. There are 30 miles of maintained trails nearby to explore the backcountry. A 1-mile hiking loop trail is at the campground. Big Bend is also a favorite river tubing area in the summer.

Mount Storm LakeA 1200-acre lake built to serve the Mount Storm Power Station, it is also a great recreational resource for fishermen and waters skiers. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish and sunfish and is also a favorite for windsurfing and sailing.

Petersburg HatcheryBrook, brown, rainbow and golden rainbow trout are all produced in West Virginia hatcheries. Petersburg is known as the "Home of the Golden Trout," which is a color mutation of the regular rainbow and was developed using selective breeding at the Petersburg hatchery.

Spring Run Waterfall & HatcheryLocated about 6 miles south of Petersburg close to Dorcas, Spring Run Waterfall and Hatchery offer visitors peaceful walks along a moss lined creek with rapidly flowing waterfalls in the springtime. This is is one of two hatcheries in Grant County where one can see the Golden Trout.

The South Branch of the PotomacThis river offers excellent fishing for small-mouth bass, some large-mouth bass, trout (rainbow, brook, brown and golden rainbow), channel catfish, eel and carp. There are over 200 miles of trout streams nearby> Monongahela Forest contains 600 miles of cold water streams and represents 50 percent of all trout water and 90 percent of native trout water in West Virginia. Warm-water anglers will be equally entertained with 350 miles of stream and some of the best small-mouth bass waters in the state. Four state-record catches of small-mouth bass, rainbow trout and large-mouth bass have come from the South Branch

Spruce Knob & Spruce Knob LakeTraveling south on Rt. 28 from Petersburg is the popular Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. It contains 100,000 acres and West Virginia's highest mountain peak, Spruce Knob. It rises 4,863 feet above a dense cover of conifers. Azaleas, mountain laurel, and rhododendron fill these meadows with bright colors early in the summer. Spruce Knob is located in one of the more remote areas of the National Forest.

Seneca RocksOne of West Virginia's best known landmarks, and a favorite of rock climbers who scale its sheer 900-foot Tuscarora quartzite cliffs. Seneca Rocks is rated as an extreme climb and should only be attempted by experienced mountain climbers. The well-marked hiking trails that circumvent its base, however, can be enjoyed by all. The Discovery Center offers interpretative programs and special arts and crafts and mountain music throughout the summer.



 



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