Kris Maria Wanders
Perfect Weekend Getaway From Washington DC- Lost River, West Virginia
Updated: Mar 15
Looking for the perfect weekend getaway from Washington DC (and the surrounding area)? Look no further than Lost River Valley in West Virginia! Whether you’re looking for non-stop adventure, a peaceful place to relax, or a mix of both, THIS is the place.
Most people don’t realize it, but West Virginia is an outdoor adventurer's DREAM. With 1.5 million acres of parks and public land, 1,500 miles of hiking trail and countless lakes, streams and rivers, the natural beauty of the mountain state is endless. WV’s world-class outdoor recreation includes whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and more!
What’s better? West Virginia is within a day’s drive for nearly 2/3 of the U.S. population.
Just 2 hours from Washington, DC, the Lost River Valley caters to every type of traveler. It’s perfectly situated to experience WV’s welcoming mountain towns, rich Appalachian culture, scenic byways and incredible (uncrowded!) hiking trails. I’m so excited to team up with the West Virginia Department of Tourism and the Lost River Vacations to show you why Lost River is the perfect weekend getaway year-round.
Get ready to pack your bags, crank up John Denver’s famous tune, and let those country roads take you on a West Virginia adventure you’ll never forget!
For the best WV experience, stay in a luxury tiny cabin with Lost River Vacations. Secluded in the mountains of the Lost River Valley, Lost River Vacation rentals provide the coziest home base for enjoying all the nearby outdoor recreation.
During our stay, we fell in love with the Black Oak tiny cabin! It had everything we needed to relax and unwind after a day of adventuring. Cabin features include:
Two bedrooms (A California King downstairs and Queen bed upstairs)
A spacious kitchen, fully stocked with an espresso machine
An enormous deck with loads of outdoor seating
A private upstairs balcony perfect for reading
A custom hot tub (felt so good after hiking)
Hiking trails just 5 minutes away!
Even though it’s a tiny cabin, the Black Oak felt so spacious inside and out. No TV or cell service on the property made it easy to unplug and enjoy nature. Don’t worry, you can still connect to Wi-Fi (if you so choose). Keep in mind, a short trail walk is required to reach the Black Oak cabin. The isolated mountain views make it very worth it!
Visit https://lostrivervacations.com/ to check availability and book your stay!
While we packed in the adventure, we still felt like we had time to relax. It was the perfect balance for a weekend trip. The itinerary below is what worked best for us, but you can rearrange it however you wish!
Make your way to West Virginia!
From Northern Virginia, we drove 2.5 hours on Friday morning to our starting point at Blackwater Falls State Park.
Hike at Blackwater Falls State Park
Located in the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is home to many of the most photographed spots in the state…including the 57-foot Blackwater Falls. It was a dream to see this beauty frozen in the winter!
Blackwater Falls overlook hike:
Distance: .4 miles out and back
Elevation: 130 feet
Tip: Trail involves stairs
Elakala Falls hike:
Distance: .5 miles out and back
Elevation: 100 ft
Tip: Take red-blazed Elakala Falls trail by Blackwater Lodge
*Search on Alltrails for longer route options that hit additional viewpoints if you want to spend more time here!
Visit Seneca Rocks
Next, head over to Seneca Rocks in Monongahela National Forest. Seneca Rocks is well-known amongst rock climbers and one of the most well-known landmarks in the state. Hiker or not, it’s really a sight to see! If you’re up for a challenge, highly recommend the view from the observation tower up top.
Seneca Rocks hike:
Distance: 3.6 miles out and back
Elevation: 1,000 ft
Tip: Start at Seneca Rocks Discovery Center where you can also just enjoy the view!
*Another great hiking option is Dolly Sods Wilderness!
Check-in to your Lost River cabin
After a long day hiking in the snow, we made our way to the cabin. We went straight for the hot tub, of course! Then, we reviewed all the helpful recommendations our hosts gave us about the area.
Grab some dinner at Guesthouse Lost River. This Restaurant, Inn and Bar- just a short drive from the cabin- is carefully run by the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The effort they put into taking care of their guests shines through in every way- especially in the food! Try the local craft beer or spirits and definitely get some appetizers (Sriracha cauliflower is a MUST!).
Wake up to mountain views
Make yourself a steaming cup of coffee while you soak in those incredible views. We also made breakfast with supplies we brought and packed some sandwiches/snacks for the trail!
Hike to Chimney Top
Next, head to one of my favorite hikes in the state- North Fork Mountain Trail to Chimney Top. This trail in the Monongahela National Forest is a leg burner, but it’s well worth the 360-degree view at the top (and all along the way).
Chimney Top hike:
Distance: 5.3 miles out and back
Elevation: 2,000 ft
Tip: About an hour drive from the cabin
*Also check out Spruce Knob, the highest point in the state!
Relax in the hot tub
After hiking, we came back to our tiny cabin to unwind (and unthaw, since it was winter!) in the hot tub. A mountain sunset from the hot tub is a whole vibe!
We enjoyed Guesthouse so much that we went back a second time. If that isn’t your style, Lost River Grill is a more casual option with diner-type fare.
If at Guesthouse, try the bacon-wrapped dates and duck wontons- yum! If you’re into dessert, highly recommend a Bailey’s coffee and cheesecake too.
Enjoy your last morning!
Repeat the previous day’s morning routine. We took it slow as we sadly packed up our bags to get ready to go home.
Hike in nearby Lost River State Park
After checking out, you can drive just 5 minutes to a variety of hiking trails at Lost River State Park. If you have the energy left, I really recommend the hike to Cranny Crow overlook. There’s a little rock shelter from which you have views of 5 different counties across Virginia and West Virginia.
White Oak trail to Cranny Crow hike:
Distance: 4.1 miles out and back
Elevation: 1,000 ft
Tip: You can park near the riding stables
Check out the local shops
We couldn’t head home without stopping by the local staples for some goodies. Make sure to hit up:
1. Lost River Trading Post
They have delicious coffee and pastries along with all sorts of locally handmade items (jewelry, mugs, décor, you name it!). They also have a great craft beer selection. I couldn’t resist a coffee and a cookie for the drive home!
2. Wardensville Garden Market
Right down the road from the Trading Post, you’ll find this local gem. They are a nonprofit farm and bakery whose mission is to expand opportunities for Appalachian youth. If you stop by, you will surely be impressed! The raw honey I purchased from local Sugar Bottom Farm is divine!
That’s a wrap on the perfect weekend. Make your way back home with a happy heart and a ton of good memories!
Tips to help you prepare
We found having an AWD car to be very helpful, especially in the snow. Expect to be on some dirt roads, including the last ¼ mile to Lost River Vacations.
Our tiny home has plenty of kitchen space and a full refrigerator/freezer, so we brought our own food for breakfast and lunch.
Cell service is spotty in the mountains, so it’s a good idea to download offline maps. Lost River Vacations does have Wi-Fi you can use.
The uncrowded hiking trails are refreshing, but it’s extra important that you hike prepared in areas where you may not encounter other hikers.
Please make sure you are familiar with Leave No Trace principles to help keep these natural outdoor areas beautiful!
For more adventure ideas in West Virginia, visit www.wvtourism.com.