Nestled in the mountains of West Virginia, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers excursions that transport you back in time to relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. Trips to Cass are filled with rich histories of the past, unparalleled views of a vast wilderness area, and close-up encounters with the sights and sounds of original steam-driven locomotives. The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged. The restored company houses now rented as vacation cottages, add to the charm and atmosphere of the town. From the company store and museum to the train depot, you'll find an abundance of things to do prior to your departure on the historic Cass Railroad. The Cass Scenic Railroad is the same line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the same Shay locomotives used in Cass, and in the rainforests of British Columbia for more than a half-century. Many of the passenger cars are old logging flat-cars that have been refurbished. Once you board the train, the real excitement begins! The great pistons of the carefully restored Shay locomotive will start pulsing, driven by hundreds of pounds of steam pressure. The shaft begins turning, the wheels find traction, and the locomotive begins to move. With thick, black smoke belching from its stack, the train pulls away from the station, passing the water tower from which the locomotive tanks are filled. As the train rounds the curve up Leatherbark Creek, you'll pass the Cass Shop, where the locomotives are serviced and repaired, and a graveyard of antiquated but fascinating equipment on sidetracks. As the pressure builds, the locomotive is driven at full steam, and the laborious journey up the mountain toward the two switchbacks begin. The loud huff of the stack, the clanking of gears and pistons, the furious scream of the whistle at the crossings, and the ever present clackety-clack of the rails will indeed make you feel as if you have been transported back in time. The train soon passes through the first switchback, reverses up a steep grade, and ascends to the second switchback where the process is repeated, and then finally into open fields and Whittaker Station. The switchback process allows the train to gain quick altitude, and in this instance, the train is traversing a grade of up to 11 percent, or 11 feet in altitude for each 100 feet of track. A 2 percent grade on conventional railroads is considered steep!
Great for beginners. Snowshoe is probably the best ski resort in the Southeast. I usually go to Silver Creek for night skiing. The trails are moderate in difficulty overall with all levels generally open. Snowshoe, the main resort is amazing. They have green, easy trails that are quite scenic and fun for beginners and some sick blacks. The Western Territory is reminiscent of Utah and Colorado in its difficulty. They are very strict on advanced skiers only on the West side for good reason.
Eli W. on Snowshoe - Silver Creek Ski Resort
Snowshoe was my first ski trip and It's safe to say I'm hooked for life. All of the runs were open with 50 inches of snow on the ground. The lodgings were nice and located at the top of the mountain making access to the slopes nothing but a step out of the door. Being a nature lover at heart I enjoyed the begginer slopes which allow you to take in all the beauty that a West Virginia pine forest has to offer during a white winter.