West Virginia Rt 33
From I-79 (Weston) to the Virginia State Line
I started out from Clarksburg early in the morning, heading down I-79 to Exit 99. From there, I would follow Rt 33 east through Buckhannon, Elkins, Seneca Rocks, Franklin, and on to the VA state line, a distance of about 120 miles. This is a very scenic route, and the highway varies from gently rolling hills and 4-lanes to twisty, mountainous 2-lanes – and everything in between. It’s an enjoyable ride, with many detours and destinations along the way. Let’s get started.
(First, an apology/disclaimer. Starting out in the morning riding eastbound means riding into the sun the first few hours.
Several of the morning photos have poor lighting since I was facing into the sun.)
The photos go in a route eastbound from I-79 to the VA state line.
If you plan to ride Rt 33 westbound from VA to I-79, you can scroll down to the end and work your way up.
Just off Exit 99 of I-79 and heading eastbound. Fair selection of fast food, good food, gas, and even a Wal-Mart.
Pretty foggy this morning, but that won’t last long.
A few miles east of I-79. It will be a divided 4-lane highway all the way to Elkins (about 40 miles).
About 10 miles east of I-79 is this Historical Marker. In 1840, this was the population center of the USA.
Close-up of the Historical Marker in the previous photo.
If you need parts/service, Smitty’s Suzuki/Yamaha is located just west of Buckhannon. (About 12 miles east of I-79)
If you are eastbound and crave BBQ, you can use the first exit (Main St) to get to Jaws BBQ (see next photo).
It’s located almost directly under the Rt 33 bridge overpass.
I never ate here, but stopped in one day to look. It smelled good, and it was pretty clean.
Located just north of the Main St exit off Rt 33.
Downtown Buckhannon. Check out the Strawberry Festival each year.
Buckhannon is home to WV Wesleyan College, so it’s a vibrant town. Lots of good restaurants.
Downtown Buckhannon. CJ Maggies on the right is a good restaurant. Just past that is All-Burgers.
BACK TO RT 33 EASTBOUND
Just east of Buckhannon (at Milepost 14.5) and hidden behind a white fence is Zick’s Restaurant.
A really nice, clean, family owned diner. Access is via a frontage road 200 yards east.
Zick’s Restaurant. Click here for a review of Zick's Restaurant.
Continuing east on Rt 33, just east of Buckhannon.
Rt 33 between Buckhannon and Elkins.
Rt 33 just west of Elkins. Note the wind generators on the ridge.
You will see a lot of these in your travels around the mountains of West Virginia.
Rt 33 near the Elkins exit.
Traveling eastbound, I prefer to exit into Elkins at Harrison Avenue, about 2 miles before the main Elkins exit.
This 2-lane road is the old Rt 33 and leads directly into downtown.
There is a Honda/Yamaha dealership on Harrison Ave on the west side of Elkins if you need parts/service.
Just past this dealership (traveling eastbound) are several fast food restaurants.
Rt 33 through Elkins. Although this is the main road through town, the actual downtown is a couple of blocks to the right.
Being a college town (Davis & Elkins College) means it's a fairly vibrant town with lots of activities going on.
Mennehaha is the daughter of Chief Hiawatha.
This statue is located on the east side of Elkins at the junction of Rt 33 and Rt 250.
Rt 33 east of Elkins is a 4-lane for about 5 miles. It meanders along the ridge with some spectacular views, especially in the fall.
Check out Bowden Fish Hatchery on the east end of the 4-lane.
Another view along the 4-laqne section of Rt 33 just east of Elkins.
This old cave (man-made at least partially) has been here for longer than I can remember.
It's located about ½ mile before the east end of the 4-lane section.
Close up of the cave entrance. Private property, so no exploring allowed. (At least, legally)
After about 5 miles, the 4-lane goes back to 2- and 3-lanes. Good riding ahead.
Much of the old narrow 2-lane road has been widened to 3-lanes so heavy trucks don't create long
lines of traffic as they strain up the mountains at 10-15 MPH.
The first summit is Shaver's Mountain – Elevation 3020 ft.
The Alpine Motel/Restaurant is a nice old stone structure located about 10 miles east of Elkins.
My dad and his dad helped bring in stones for the construction.
The second summit eastbound – Middle Mt. – Elevation 3190 ft.
There are plenty of downhill sections….
… and plenty of uphill sections. About midway between Elkins and Harman.
View from the summit of Rich Mt., just west of Harman.
Just west of Harman, County Road (CR) 29 splits off (to the left in this photo) to Whitmer and Job.
You can also follow this road around to Spruce Knob Lake and Spruce Knob,
and come out on Rt 33 about 6 or 8 miles south of Seneca Rocks.
I always prefer to stop at the Midway Exxon station in Harman for gas and snacks.
It’s a much more relaxed stop than the overcrowded (on weekends) Yokum’s store at Seneca Rocks.
Great riding ahead from here to Seneca Rocks.
OPTIONAL DETOUR: Head north on Rt 32 to Davis and visit Blackwater Falls. (Appx 25 miles)
About 5 miles east of Harman is the Eastern Continental Divide, at the summit of Allegheny Mt.
View westbound from the summit of Allegheny Mt. (just 100 feet away from previous photo).
Same summit of Allegheny Mt, but now facing eastbound once again.
The sign tells of the great riding ahead!
Here we are starting the descent eastbound from the summit of Allegheny Mt.
Same corners, but looking westbound. The Allegheny Mt summit is just around the corner.
Back to heading eastbound. This is the descent down Allegheny Mt about 5 miles west of Onego.
Getting closer to Onego. Near the end of the descent off Allegheny Mt.
Good pavement – nice curves – little traffic – nice weather. A perfect ride!!
The quiet town of Onego, located just a few miles west of Seneca Rocks.
Eastbound, approaching Seneca Rocks.
In the morning, the sun is behind the rocks, so afternoons are best for photos.
Highly recommended stop!! Click here for more information on the Discovery Center
For more on Seneca Rocks: Click Here
When I was in college, I would come down on the weekends and drive my grandparents from their farm in Petersburg over to the old visitors center, where we would cook out hamburgers & hotdogs while watching the rock climbers. Lots of great memories. When I retired from the USAF in 2005, they asked me where I would like to have my retirement flag flown – the state capitol or Washington DC capitol. I said, “Neither”. I asked that it be flown over the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center (it is, after all, a federal facility). The Park Ranger at the time, Sue Grafton, was happy to help out, and my folks took photos of it that day. (You can see the flag flying today on the far left end of the building) I also have it in my will that I wish to be cremated and that my ashes be spread from the summit of the rocks.
View inside the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.
View of Yokum’s hotel/restaurant/general store at the junction of Rt 33 and Rt 28/55.
The “Front Porch Restaurant” on the 2nd floor of the country store is good –
nice outside tables with a view of Seneca Rocks.
Starting to head south of Seneca Rocks on Rt 33.
Just south of Seneca Rocks about 1 or 2 miles is the Seneca Shadows campground. Very nice.
Driving through one of the camping area loops. Each campsite has a turnoff.
Each campsite is secluded from others, with pretty good privacy.
Some sites have good views of Seneca Rocks, especially in the fall when the leaves are off the trees.
Nice wash houses nearby.
Reasonable fees considering how nice it is.
Back out on Rt 33 just south of Seneca Rocks (visible to the right).
South of Seneca Rocks on Rt 33.
Still heading south on Rt 33 about 5 miles south of Seneca Rocks.
For those traveling westbound, this is the view north on Rt 33 just north of Riverton.
The small town of Riverton, about 6 or 8 miles south of Seneca Rocks.
OPTIONAL DETOUR: CR 9 turns off to Seneca Caverns.
This 5-mile detour takes you through Germany Valley, which you will see later in this report from an overlook a few miles east of here.
Starting out on CR 9, there is a monument to the Battle of Riverton.
Better view of the Battle of Riverton monument.
Plaque at monument.
Less than ½ mile east is Horse Ridge Road, a slight detour off the detour. Follow the narrow,
winding road up the steep hill about ½ mile and then turn around for a great view – see next photo.
Wow! This is the view from Horse Ridge Road back towards Rt 33 (visible to the left).
This would be an incredible spot to build a house.
(Detour: continued) Back on CR 9 heading east into Germany Valley.
Another view along Germany Valley.
Yet another scenic view in Germany Valley.
This monument is located along CR 9. (See next photo)
Close-up of monument.
Yet another view of Germany Valley. Truly one of the most picturesque spots in WV.
BACK TO RT 33 EASTBOUND
Back on Rt 33, the Gateway Family Restaurant is located about a mile south of Riverton.
Nice family diner – good food, clean, and reasonable prices. Highly recommended.
Next to the Gateway Restaurant is the road up to Spruce Knob – CR 33-4 (Briery Gap Road)
This paved road winds its way up to the summit of WV’s highest peak.
For more on Spruce Knob – Click Here – (Note: the road is now paved to the summit)
At Judy Gap, Rt 33 continues east (straight ahead) while Rt 28 turns south (to the right).
Good riding ahead eastbound as Rt 33 climbs the mountain.
View just east of Judy Gap, look back on the rocky gap that made this a natural travel route.
Rt 33 gets steeper and curvier as it winds its way up the mountain.
These riders are also enjoying the challenge.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Germany Valley overlook.
Located at the summit of the mountain (Rt 33, between Judy Gap and Franklin) is this overlook for Germany Valley.
It is, in my opinion, one of the best overlooks in the entire state. Photos don’t do it justice.
Another view of Germany Valley.
Some of the previous photos (see detour from Riverton) were in the area below.
More curves on the mountain west of Franklin.
The road levels out about 5 miles or so just west of Franklin. Lots of old farms.
Rt 33 and Rt 220 junction in Franklin. Rt 33 turns left, and Rt 220 south continues straight.
Just a short detour on Rt 220 south through Franklin. Nice, old farming town.
My dad was born here.
Lots of cool old houses in Franklin.
Back on Rt 33 eastbound – just a few miles east of Franklin.
Starting to transition from farmland into mountains and forests.
Nice view about 5 miles east of Franklin.
Another view just west of Oak Flat and Bradywine.
At Oak Flat, CR 3 turns north towards Moorefield. This is a nice scenic detour through old farms.
Continuing on Rt 33 near Brandywine.
Just east of Brandywine is a restaurant I’ve heard good things about, but never visited.
Fat Boy’s Pork Palace. My kind of place. Too bad my folks have lunch ready for me just up the road.
I’ll definitely have to come back to try this one.
Inside Fat Boy’s. Nice and clean!
Very reasonable prices!
The final upward spiral nearing the VA border. Nice riding!!
Another motorcyclist enjoying the ride. Only a couple of miles to the VA state line.
Getting steeper near the summit.
Nice overlooks along the way, but they are small and aren’t marked well – easy to pass them by.
Almost at the VA state line.
The summit – the VA border.
First view of West Virginia entering westbound from Virginia on Rt 33. Lots of great riding ahead!
Hope you enjoyed this travelogue of Rt 33 from I-79 to the Virginia state line. There are lots of detours along the way – Dolly Sods, Blackwater Falls, Spruce Knob, Smoke Hole, and many more. Rt 33 goes through some of the most scenic areas of the state. Take time to stop and enjoy the many attractions along the way. And be safe!