While John Denver’s “Country Roads” lyrics are known worldwide, one of West Virginia’s best kept secrets is the “country rides” in and around Mountaineer Country. Its winding byways, fresh air and scenic overlooks are perfectly suited for motorcycle enthusiasts.

With so many pull-offs and easily accessible landmarks, Mountaineer Country boasts some of the most memorable motorcycle riding in the state.

It’s best to cruise into Mountaineer Country during West Virginia MountainFest Motorcycle Rally July 25-27, a three-day tribute to rides, music and celebrating in Morgantown, home to West Virginia University. This year marks the 15th anniversary, and the performing acts top the entertainment charts: Jackyl, Peter Frampton, Charlie Daniels Band, Cheap Trick, Jason Bonham, Copper Chief, The Four Horsemen, Jasmine Cain, Big Mike Griffin and Whey Jennings. More information, accommodations and tickets are available at wvmountainfest.com.

For the ultimate experience during MountainFest, register to win the VIP package to Mountaineer Country that includes two three-day VIP passes to the festival with stage front viewing, VIP Pavilion access, private VIP bar, catered food each day, three nights accommodation at Candlewood Suites, private training at Defense In Depth indoor shooting range, as well as dining, gas and merchandise gift cards (must be 21 years of age, certain restrictions apply). Register to win at VisitMountaineerCountry.com/ride.

Here in the Wild and Wonderful State, motorcyclists can enjoy riding three out of the four seasons. Each season welcomes new scenic beauty and we have the perfect routes for you to catch a glimpse of “Almost Heaven.”

Our “Veteran’s Memorials” itinerary is 214 miles or 5 1/2 hours of historic cemeteries, a visit to the Greatest Generation War Museum and a breathtaking view from Cannon Hill, a Civil War historic site. Please allow 45 minutes to walk the grounds.

“Covered Bridges” is actually five historic structures, as well as a stop at Valley Falls State Park. As its name implies, you’ll be treated to a series of waterfalls and plenty of places to spread a blanket and picnic in the great outdoors.

“Nothing But Curves” is a foodies’ 5-hour, 204-mile joy ride! Your first stop is Monroe’s Deli where healthy dining options and good music are on the menu. More eclectic dining follows: Cool Springs Park includes gas, a restaurant serving foot-long hotdogs, and a farm — all in one place! Little Sandy’s Truck Stop cooks up homemade food and the full cup of coffee served by a waitress calling you “hon.”

Our “Scenic Beauty” route takes you to Coopers Rock State Park overlook — a breathtaking 1,200-foot high overlook into a mile-wide gorge. Hikers will fall in love with more than 50 miles of hiking trails, from easy leg stretchers to long day hikes. Your 6-hour road trip also makes a stop at Cathedral State Park, an ancient hemlock forest of majestic proportions, and one of the last commemorations of the vast virgin hemlock forests that once flourished in the Appalachian highlands. Trees up to 90 feet high and 21 feet in circumference form the cloisters in the park. Make time to cool off with a stop at Smoke Hole Caverns, nature’s air-conditioned underground, sitting at a cool 54 degrees year ‘round.

There’s another aspect to riding in Mountaineer Country that makes it a special experience, and that’s a sense of community. You’ll meet people who are anxious to hear your story and tell you theirs, more often than not, over the rim of a glass.

So, load up, gear down and unwind on the breathtaking country roads of Mountaineer Country — an extraordinary land of natural beauty. For assistance in trip planning, contact the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau at mailto:info@tourmorgantown.com  or call 800-458-7373.

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