Explore Rowlesburg

Aerial shot of Rowlesburg

Enjoy the magic of Appalachia in the Cheat River Valley!

Area Attractions

Cannon Hill

Aerial shot of Rowlesburg
Aerial shot of Rowlesburg

Rowlesburg was a critical railroad link for the Union Army during the Civil War. Lee made destruction of its famous bridges a high priority. Despite attempts, the Rebels never touched the bridges of Rowlesburg. The original Cheat River Bridge (shown below) stood throughout the Civil War due to valiant efforts of the undermanned Union regiment stationed in Rowlesburg.

Rides to Cannon Hill may be arranged by contacting the Rowlesburg Historical Society. Please call Chris Kerns at (304) 626-0760. Hikers may walk the trail at anytime. However, the gate to the trail is locked so hikers must climb over or under the fence. A pedestrian gate is planned in the near future.

Railfans' Paradise

Three locomotives
Three locomotives
Three locomotives

For Railfans, Rowlesburg is the place to visit. Within town is the famous “Cathedral” of railroad, the M&K Junction. Charlie Roberts called the junction “The Shrine”. The complex interlocking at that locaton controlled the Hill Division of the West End. Helper service from the M&K pushed trains eastbound up Cranberry Summit and westbound up the Cheat River Grade. This section of the CSX is still active and traffic has picked significantly in the past few years. The old brick engine house is still in use by the sectional track crew. Now the railroad is running mostly DPU, or Distributed Power Units. These are concerns with two power units on the headend, one unit mid-train, and a helper at the end with two units. The mid-train power is controlled from the head engine by an automated system developed by GE. The helper is independent and still cuts off at Cranberry Summit, or Altamont if necessary. Quite a sight here at the once mighty rail center for the Hiil Division on the old B&O! For more information, call (304) 454-2095.


Two horses pulling a trailer of tourists
Two horses pulling a trailer of tourists
Two horses pulling a trailer of tourists

Several annual festivals call Rowlesburg home. These festivals help boost the local economy by attracting visitors from the surrounding cities, towns and states. The last weekend of April the town jumps to life with the Annual Chili and Ramp Cookoff sponsored by the Rowlesburg VFW. Some of the funds go to benefit the Shriners Hospitals. This is a big event and involves folks from every part of the area. Next comes the Annual Cheat Fest in nearby Albright the first week of May. The event is large and draws white water enthusiasts from the surrounding states. Lots of music, many vendors and wonderful kayaking and rafting on Cheat River.

The Rowlesburg Revitalization Committee sponsors several festivals: the River City Festival of the Arts on Memorial Weekend offers Jazz, Opera, Instrumental & Choral Music, Art, Ceramics, Quilting and Photography Exhibits, Interpretative History Portrayals; the All American Wars Living History Weekend including catered Ball the last weekend in June; the West Virginia Chestnut Festival and the Kristkindl Markt in December. In addition the town hosts the Annual Labor Day Ox Roast The festival season ends with a New Year's Eve Ball.

The Annual Labor Day Ox Roast is sponsored by the Rowlesburg Park, the Rowlesburg Revitalization Committee and the Rowlesburg Volunteer Firemen. The festival includes exhibits at the Railroad Depot, Ambulance Building and Szilagyi Center. The three-day events includes a Fireman's Parade, Railroad History Day, Ox Roast, Fireworks, live music, a Festival Ball, Alumni Day, Family Day in the Park and rides to the historic Cannon Hill battle site.

The Annual West Virginia American Chestnut Festival is hosted by the Rowlesburg Revitalization Committee and the Rowlesburg Community Park. The festival features vendors of Chestnut tree saplings, roasted Chestnuts hot off the grill, Chestnut Furniture, Chestnut Flavored Foods, Chestnut Treenware, Scientific Lectures and the annual meeting of the West Virginia Chestnut Association, Park Activities, Festival Dinner, Raffle, Auction, and the Chestnut Ball.

In December the Szilagy Center welcomes the Christmas Market (“Christkindlesmarkt”). Vendor's tables burdened with collectibles, crafts, quilts, holiday foods and many Holiday Gifts file the entire auditorium of the Szilagyi Center. A part of the draw is the music, food, food and more food and the big favorite, Gluewein and grilled bratwurst.

River Action

A person battling rapids in a kayak
A person battling rapids in a kayak
A person battling rapids in a kayak

Cheat River is one of the great wild rivers of the eastern United States. From Rowlesburg north, the river becomes a Class II and III challange. Beyond Albright is the Cheat Canyon. Here the water reaches Class IV. Many outfitters take tours on both sections. Click on those listed below for more details.

Check Friends of the Cheat Facebook page for information about the Annual Cheat Float the first week of June. The Dirty Double Bicycle Race is back! See Preston Parks and Recreation Facebook page for more information.

Check with these folks about joining their Narrows trip in Rowlesburg at the Community Park. Many tours put in there at the start of the trip. The Blackwater Outdoor Adventure trips on the Cheat return to Rowlesburg so guests at the River House Lodge may join their trips in Rowlesburg. For Cheat River River Outfitters, guests must join the tours in Albright, about a 20 minute drive.

Cheat River Outfitters in Albright, WV

Blackwater Outdoors in St. George, WV

Cheat River Water Trail

People in the river on canoes and kayaks
People in the river on canoes and kayaks

The Upper Cheat Water Trail is a project involving Friends of the Cheat and locals around the Cheat River Watershed. The trail is part of the National Water Trail program in the National Park Service. This is part of the the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Cheat River Water Trail starts in Hendricks, WV on the Black Fork and ends in Rowlesburg, WV. It is a Class I section suitable for beginners and provides family friendly paddling for all to enjoy! We offer kayaks for rental and a suttle service. Call (304) 454-2095 or (681) 270-9905.

Fishing the Cheat

A man wearing sunglasses holding a large fish
A man wearing sunglasses holding a large fish

Cheat River, meandering 73 miles through the mountains, is on of the great fishing streams in West Virginia with its Rainbow, Brown, Brook and Golden Trout. Now the river is being stocked 6-8 times each year at 18 locations from Pringle Run south to 5 miles upstream from the US 50 bridge. The Cheat River Restoration Committee also stocks Walleye and Catfish. Fishing the river in Rowlesburg has yielded some very large trout, some over 18 inches.

Visitors can book fishing guides with the River House Lodge, or call Cheat Trips at (304) 864-3390.

Allegheny Trail

A forest trail covered in yellow leaves
A forest trail covered in yellow leaves

The Allegheny Trail runs right smack through Rolesburg. The hiking trail is a 330-mile north-south trail whose northern terminus is on the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border near Bruceton Mills. It winds south until it meets the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain at the Virginia-West Virginia border. Volunteer workers maintain all sections of the Allegheny Trail, which is marked by 2"x 6" yellow blazes.

In 2000, the Allegheny Trail (along with four other trails in West Virginia—the WV sections of the American Discovery Trail, the Greenbrier Trail, the Brooke Pioneer Trail and the Hatfield McCoy Trail System) was designated as a Millenium Trail by the Millenium Council.

The Allegheny Trail, for maintenance purposes, is divided into four “sections,” described briefly below and in detail in the “Hiking Guide.” The trail is maintained by the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association.

State Parks and other Attractions

Aerial shot of Rowlesburg
Aerial shot of Rowlesburg

Rowlesburg is well located for visits to Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley State Park at Thomas and Davis, WV 30-40 minutes east from Rowlesburg. Arthurdale Heritage is about the same distance north from Rowlesburg. Arthurdale is the planned community in Preston County set up by Eleanor Roosevelt. Also within 30-40 minutes east is Deep Creek Lake and Recreation Center in nearby Oakland, Maryland. Morgantown and West Virginia Universtiy are 40 miles north of Rowlesburg. And the Preston County Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood is 20 minutes from Rowlesburg.

Restaurants, Cafes & Pubs

The restaurants listed below are all within a 45 minute drive of Rowlesburg. Check with innkeeper on local favorites.

Rowlesburg, WV

Sidetracked Bar & Grill — Homemade dishes, excellent food.

28 S Buffalo St, Rowlesburg, WV 26425, (304) 454-2002.

Neil & Bob's Tavern — Pizza, sandwiches, burgers and a local beers.

14-16 Main Street, Rowlesburg, WV. (304) 454-2094.

Cool Springs — Unusual venue, buckwheat cakes, foot-long hotdogs.

12696 George Washington Hwy, Rowlesburg, WV 26425, (304) 454-9511.

Aurora, WV

Melanie's Family Restaurant — Family friendly, home cooking, crab cakes to die for!

25164 George Washington Hwy, Aurora, WV 26705, (304) 735-3219.

Donna Jean's Family Restaurant — Family Restaurant

23480 George Washington Hwy, Aurora, WV 26705, (304) 735-3260.

Kingwood, WV

Down Home Diner — Comfort food, great buckwheat cakes.

300 Tunnelton St, Kingwood, WV 26537, (304) 329-6122.

The Preston County Inn — Historic, American fare.

112 W Main St, Kingwood, WV 26537, (304) 329-2220.

Rosemary's Thyme — Mexican Restaurant, country club setting.

183 Club House Dr, Terra Alta, WV 26764, (304) 329-6750

Monroe's — Deli Style Eatery, American, varied menu.

110 E Main St, Kingwood, WV 26537, (304) 329-3354

Russ's Ribs — Best spare ribs in the area.

103 W Beverly St, Kingwood, WV 26537, (304) 329-8046.

Terra Alta, WV

Short Horns — Texas-style roadhouse, entertainment, pizza, ribs, burgers.

402 East State Ave, Terra Alta, WV 26764, (304) 789-1104.

Alpine Lake Resort — Golf course, accommodations, restaurant, varied American cuisine.

700 West Alpine Drive, Terra Alta, WV 26764, (304) 789-2481.

Oakland, MD

Dutch's At Silver Tree Restaurant — Upscale eatery with a lodge-style atmosphere offering select seafood & steak fare, plus happy hours.

567 Glendale Rd, Oakland, MD 21550.

Black Bear Tavern and Restaurant — Sports bar offering American food, drinks & TVs, plus an on-site nightclub with live music & DJs.

1278, 102 Fort Dr, McHenry, MD 21541.

Moon Shadow — Large scale restaurant, seafood.

145 Bumble Bee Rd, McHenry, MD 21541, (301) 387-6800.

Thomas, WV

TipTop — Charming coffee house, breakfast sandwiches, burgers, featuring java drinks, baked goods, light bites & a full bar.

216 State Hwy 32, Thomas, WV 26292, (304) 463-4455

Purple Fiddle — unusual cafe without door seating offering sandwiches, soups, salads, draft beer, ice cream and live music!

96 State Hwy 32, Thomas, WV 26292, (304) 463-4040

The Smokehouse at Blackwater Falls — Comfort food, great desserts

1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd, Davis, WV 26260, (304) 259-5216

Mountain State Brewing Co. — Wood fired flatbreads, Brewpub, bar food & house beers with mountain views in a low-key pub setting.

1 Nelson Blvd, Thomas, WV 26292, (304) 463-4500

Davis, WV

Sirianni's Café — Local mainstay serving a variety of pizzas & Italian bites in old-school digs lined with photos.

474 William Ave, Davis, WV 26260, (304) 259-5454.