CASS, W.Va. (WFXR) — Imagine yourself in the mountains. It’s a picture-perfect summer afternoon and you’re relaxing outside. Now, imagine all of that onboard a scenic train, enjoying the sights and sounds of wild and wonderful West Virginia.
That’s exactly what you can do up at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Pocahontas County. It’s a small town with a big history that started with a tree — a red spruce to be more specific.
This type of tree was an important aspect of forestry for eastern West Virginia and western Virginia.
It’s because of this tree that a railroad was built back in the year 1900 that led down the mountain to Covington in Alleghany County and what is now known as the Westrock Paper Mill.
At the Covington mill, the trees were processed to make paper.
Trees were logged from Cass until 1960.
Fast-forward several decades and the current big draw at Cass is a scenic railroad that carries guests up the mountain.
Cass has several different train rides to enjoy.
“We have around 50,000 visitors that come and just ride the train every year. We have two different train rides. The most-popular is the Bald Knob ride which is four-and-a-half hours long. It travels 11 miles up the track to an overlook. We have another ride which is to Whittaker Station. That’s a two-and-a-half hour ride that goes halfway up the mountain and comes back.”Marshall Markley, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park Superintendent
Guests enjoy these train rides, too. Many of them say it’s an opportunity you can’t miss.
“I love the history and what they do with these things. It’s really great to keep the history alive, not only for us but for memories and for the younger generation to learn.”Kermit Orndorff, visitor
Yes, the Cass Scenic Railroad isn’t just for sightseeing, there’s plenty of history to learn. However, you can’t leave without grabbing a souvenir.
That’s why the Cass Company Store is a place to visit. It’s full of merchandise and fun items to purchase. Inside, it has a restaurant and a soda fountain as well as a newly installed model train set that was just constructed last year during the pandemic.
There’s plenty of other things to do while up at Cass.
The Greenbrier River Trail goes 79 miles from Cass down to Caldwell which offers plenty of room for biking, hiking, walking and horseback riding. You can also kayak and canoe down the Greenbrier River which is also great for fishing.
Back up at the railroad — next to The Company Store — you’ll find a historical museum that’s full of history. A Timber Timbre display, done by WVU students will be on-site until October.
Next to that, is the Cass Historical Theater which is home to a 20-minute movie about the history of Cass as well as a scaled-down replica of the town.
This year, another big draw coming to the area is the Greenbrier River Trail Marathon and Inaugural Half-Marathon which takes place on Oct. 3. The Greenbrier River Trail Marathon runs between Cass to Marlinton on a 1.5-percent decline during the 26.2-mile run. The half-marathon is a 13.1-mile out-and-back course – both of which take place on the Greenbrier River Trail. Registration is open for this event by clicking here.
This destination has a wide range of fun things to do in the small town of Cass, West Virginia. They really do have something for the whole family!
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