How’s the Weather?
As a result of our High Elevation, Summers in Raleigh County are very comfortable. Afternoons are warm (in the 80s), and nights are cool (in the 70s). Sweltering days in the 90s are rare. As a result of our southerly latitude, winters are mild. Snow storms are intermittent — with perhaps five snows of about five inches deep from December through March. Most winter months offer one warm weekend in the 50s. The county’s highlands often brave the worst due to their elevation at more than 3,000 feet above sea level. Spring and autumn are world famous. Tourists drive our back roads twice a year as the leaves bud and fall.
Raleigh County lies in the heart of a recreational wonderland yet to be discovered by most Americans. Folks who live here enjoy quiet forests, roaring rivers, and scenic trails just outside their backdoors.
Wherever you turn, scenic lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams provide for diverse angling. Common catch is trout, bass, bluegill, muskie, catfish, and walleye.
Lovers of the links are within an hour of 17 courses, including three at the world-famous Greenbrier. Five world-class courses grace Raleigh County.
Thousands of kayakers challenge the region’s streams and rivers each year. Many enthusiasts now live in the area year-round, working as whitewater rafting guides in the national parks during summer.
Each year, thousands of climbers visit the monolithic cliffs that line the edges of the New River Gorge. Lesser known formations are being developed throughout the county.
Thousands of tourists visit southern West Virginia each year to challenge the whitewater of the New, Gauley, and Greenbrier rivers. Various guide companies operate on the rivers.
The City of Beckley’s new Lewis McManus Memorial Honor Recreational Rail Trail is 3.6 miles long and follows the former CSX railroad bed from Mabscott to Cranberry Creek Crossing with a spur crossing over Robert C. Byrd Drive ending at New River Park. This urban trail features a 12 foot wide paved trail surface with lights, benches and shelters. The trail is available for walking, hiking, biking and skating. The city received a “Taking Steps Toward Walkable Communities” Award in 2004 for the new trail.
Trail History – The trail was built on the roadbed of the old Piney River and Paint Creek Railroad Company. The branch line was constructed in 1905/06 and ran from Mabscott through Beckley, ending near Cranberry. Taken over by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company (now CSX) in 1918, it served Beckley and the mines north of the city, hauling coal, freight and passengers. At Mabscott, the branch line linked up with the CSX’s tracks to Prince WV on the main line. The branch line tracks were removed and the right-of-way released to the City of Beckley in 2002.
Off road or on, West Virginia is the East’s premier biking destination. Experts compare it to Utah, the nation’s top bike tourist region. A state trail system is in development.
Hunting is a way of life here, so facilities are advanced and cabins are found throughout the area. Game include black bear, turkey, whitetail deer, squirrel, grouse, bobwhite, cottontail rabbit, mink, fisher, beaver, bobcat, woodchuck, weasel, and red and grey fox.
More than 80 percent of the county is forested, of which the National Park Service maintains 12 major trails. Little Beaver State Park offers four. Thousands more cross the county.
Only a half-hour west of one of the largest limestone regions in the east, many spelunkers make their home near caverns in Raleigh County.