Back of the Dragon
Thirty-two miles and over 300 curves, the Back of the Dragon is the premier riding road in the nation! Ideal for sports cars or motorcycles, this road offers the most spectacular views you can find in the Appalachians. Crossing three mountains in its course from Marion, Virginia to Tazewell, Virginia, the Back of the Dragon offers knee dragging curves, switchbacks, and elevation changes that no other motorcycle route can offer.
Also referred to as “God’s Thumbprint” because of its view from the air, this mountain-ringed bowl is 10 miles in diameter and filled with some of the most fertile farmland in the state.
The area, at an elevation of 3,000 feet, is the highest mountain valley in Virginia. It was designated a National and Virginia Rural Historical District. The community can be viewed from the Appalachian Trail or by car from state route 623. Visitors can buy baked goods and vegetables, bike on area roads, hike and hunt in nearby Jefferson National Forest.
First discovered in the 1740s by James Burke while hunting in the area, the name “Burke’s Garden” was given to the valley as a joke in 1748 after Burke planted potato peelings by the campfire of a 1748 surveying party. The next year, a fine crop of potatoes was found.
Visit visittazewellcounty.org for more information. Image by Gregsc42.
Historic Crab Orchard Museum
Experience a settler’s life in the early 1800s as you tour their Pioneer Park village, featuring 15 log and stone buildings, including a farmhouse, craftsmen’s shops, barns, corncribs, family cabins, a smokehouse, springhouse and Red Barn horse-drawn equipment building.
Crab Orchard Museum hosts several annual events, including the extremely popular Crab Orchard Corn Maze and Pisgah Pumpkin Patch, the Independence Day Celebration, the Tazewell County Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention, and Frontier Christmas. Many more events, classes and camps are scheduled throughout the year.
Call (276) 988-6755 or click here for more information. 3663 Crab Orchard Road, Tazewell, VA 24651.
Glenwood Park is a day-use park along with a 55-acre lake. Glenwood Park offers hiking trails, fishing, mini-golf, paddle boats, two large playgrounds, a tennis court and multiple picnic shelters.
More information: glenwoodparkwv.com or (304) 425-1681. 1823 Glenwood Park Road, Princeton, WV 24740.
The park hosts a beautiful 21-acre lake with boat launching facilities, four tennis courts, basketball court, sand volleyball court, three picnic shelters, two softball fields, a Junior Olympic-sized pool, and a playground called KIDZOWN. The park also has a walking trail that goes around the lake, a gym available for rent and a concession stand.
More information: townoftazewell.org.
Pinnacle Rock State Park
Located along Route 52, near historic Bramwell in Mercer County, Pinnacle Rock State Park is one of the more interesting day-use parks operated by the West Virginia State Park system. Hiking trails, a playground, and large picnic shelter with a stone fireplace can be found at Pinnacle Rock State Park day-use area. Jimmy Lewis Lake, a branch of the park, can also be visited for fishing.
Towering above the rugged mountains of southeastern West Virginia, Pinnacle Rock is an unusual sandstone formation reaching 3,100 feet above sea level. This park provides a relaxing picnic area in an unusual scenic setting. Pinnacle Rock is a common place for rock climbing and repelling.
The park was opened in 1938 when the Conservation Commission purchased a 26-acre tract of land surrounding the rock. Parking areas, walkway and a large picnic shelter with a stone fireplace were then constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the state of West Virginia. Today there are nearly 400 acres, which include Jimmy Lewis Lake (seasonally stocked with trout), located nearby within the park boundary.
More information: pinnaclerockstatepark.com or (304) 248-8565. 6407 Coal Heritage Road, Bluefield, WV 24701.
Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum
The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum site is that of the Original Pocahontas Mine, which was the first mine opened in the Pocahontas Coal Field. The original mine was opened in 1882 and was worked through October 1955. The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum is a National Historic Landmark.
Call (276) 945-9522 or view visittazewellcounty.org for more information. 300 Centre St., Pocahontas, VA 24635.