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Swiss and Cass Ride Preview

 

Route 15, Route 20, and Route 66 are 3 of the best roads in West Virginia. Helvetia is a nice little Swiss village. The Green Bank Observatory and the Cass Scenic Railroad are great stops. The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center in Hillsboro and the Highland Scenic Highway are great ways to end the ride.
 


Ride Map

 

This ride starts by following Route 219 north to Valley Head. Turn left on Route 15 which is the first great riding road of the day. Stay on Route 15 until Webster Springs and then turn right onto Route 20.


Route 15

 

This stretch of Route 20 from Webster Springs north to French Creek may just be my favorite road in West Virginia. This is a 2-lanes idyllic joy to ride with perfect curvy asphalt through a tunnel of trees.


Route 20

 

In French Creek, turn right onto Alexander Road. This is another great ride with terrific asphalt.


Alexander Road

 

Alexander Road becomes County Road 46 and brings you to a high mountain valley and the little Swiss village of Helvetia.


Helvetia

 

The town has been preserved and is fun to walk around in. If you are still here at 11am consider the Swiss Hutte Restaurant (Review) (menu) for lunch.


Helvetia Map

 

Upon leaving Helvetia, Route 46 becomes a great ride as it descends to Route 219 and the town of Mill Creek. There is one especially pretty hairpin that will have you craning your neck.

 

Turn right on Route 219 and ride a short ways south to Huttonsville. Turn left onto Route 250 and ride the great curves east to Bartow.


Route 250

 

 

Turn right on Route 28 and ride to the Green Bank Observatory. Pull in to the entrance on your right and park at the Green Bank Science Center. This is the starting point for guided tours of the Green Bank Observatory telescope ($6) and contains an exhibit hall, a 150-seat auditorium, a gift shop, and a full menu Starlight Café.

Admission to the exhibit hall is free and has interactive, hands-on exhibits exploring the electromagnetic spectrum, radio science, and the site history. Plan about 30 minutes for the exhibits.

The Starlight Cafe serves salads, wraps, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, etc. There is a nice view of the telescopes and surrounding mountains.


Routes 28 and 66

 

The telescope tour features science demonstrations and a short film about the Green Bank Telescope. The tour continues with a bus excursion through the gates into the RFI-restricted Zone for an up-close look at the telescopes.


Green Bank Telescope

 

 

Bear right on Route 66 to the historic town of Cass.


Cass Town Sign

 

Park in the lot by the station for the Cass Scenic Railroad. Walk across the tracks to the Old Company Store and discover more about trains at the park’s Cass Historical Museum. Visit and explore the exhibits for free. While you’re there, take a guided tour of the locomotive shop. See how engineers repair and maintain the historic Shay locomotives. There is a restaurant here called The Last Run Restaurant (review). Lastly, you can also stroll through the historic logging town of Cass.


Cass Scenic Railroad

 

Continue on Route 66 and then turn right into Snowshoe Resort (map). Good food choices are the Foxfire Grill (review) and the Old Spruce Cafe & Tavern (review) which are both in the Rimfire Lodge. Those in need of a java fix can try the Starbucks next door.

 

 

Leave Snowshoe and turn right on Route 66 and then left onto Route 219. This next stretch of 219 has some great curves and fun riding. Gold Wing Riders can consider the obligatory stop at the Dairy Queen. :)

Ride through Marlinton at follow Route 39 to the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center in Hillsboro. The center has some good nature displays, walking paths, and restrooms.

Route 39 & Highland Scenic Highway

 

 Turn Right on Route 150 and enter the Highland Scenic Highway (map). Route 150 and Route 39 to Fenwick make up the Highland Scenic Highway and offers great views and nice riding.


Highlands Scenic Highway

 

There are 4 scenic overlooks on Route 150. From the south the first one is the Williams River Valley Overlook.

Highlands Scenic Overlook #3 - Williams River Valley

 


Next is the Big Spuce Overlook.


Highlands Scenic Overlook #2 - Big Spruce

 

Then the Big Little Laurel Overlook.


Highlands Scenic Overlook #1 - Little Laurel

 

The last overlook on Route 150 is the Red Lick Overlook.

Descend down to Route 219. Turn left and follow Route 219 north to the hotel.