Non-Caving Activities

— West of Convention —


The Rich Mountain Battlefield is located just a few miles west of Dailey on the crest of Rich Mountain. The site is astride the old Parkersburg-Staunton Turnpike (which is a dirt road), on which the Confederates fought delaying actions early in the American Civil War—after losing battles at Grafton and Parsons. Principally, they burned bridges and instigated small holding actions as they retreated east, but they also constructed breastworks at the top and western bottom of Rich Mountain, where they hoped to stop the Federal advance. The Union did not attack the fortifications, but instead employed a local guide to lead them in a long flanking movement that caught the Confederates by surprise at the top of the mountain. Most of the Confederates were captured (and later exchanged), and this part of western Virginia was secured for the North.


38.86629, -79.93450 (Battlefield)


The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a small outdoor zoo located approximately 12 miles south of Buckhannon on State Route 20 (Buckhannon is about 30 miles west of Elkins on U.S. 33). It takes a little over an hour to drive to the Center, which contains a menagerie of 30 or so animals that were indigenous to the area when white men first entered the region. These include bear, elk, buffalo, mountain lions, white-tail deer, wolves, otters, foxes, bald eagles, and owls. The cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children. There is also a gift shop and a picnic area. For more information call (304) 924-6211 or visit

GPS: 38.85794, -080.31075 (Wildlife Center)


The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is located in Weston, which is about 45 miles west of Elkins on U.S. 33. This is an old psychiatric hospital that was constructed using prison labor, and which was operated by the State from 1864 until 1994. It was originally designed to hold 250 people, but it had about ten times that number by the 1950s. The hospital’s main building is one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990. The current owners offer historic tours and daytime paranormal tours six days a week, and several televised paranormal investigations have taken place at the facility. Call 304-269-5070 or visit for more information.

GPS: 39.03855, -80.47170 (Asylum)