The highest valley east of the Mississippi sits at the top of a mountain chain that feeds three major waterways that converge in Parsons, Tucker County. Canaan Valley, at 3,200 feet elevation and hugged by 4,200-feet high mountains, is home to two model state parks, two ski areas and the nation’s 500th wildlife refuge.
The Blackwater River meanders slowly through Canaan Valley, the year-round vacation resort area of the northern highlands. In winter Canaan Valley Resort and Timberline Four Season Resort open their slopes for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. In spring, summer and fall, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and exploring the Monongahela National Forest lands and Dolly Sods Scenic Area take precedence.
Families gravitate to Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park and their full schedule of warm-weather activities. Swimming, tennis, interpretive nature walks, and evening events fill leisure-time hours. Golfers head for the Canaan Valley 18-hole championship golf course.
After plummeting over Blackwater Falls into the Blackwater Canyon, the Blackwater River makes its way to the Dry Fork. Dry Fork and Shavers Fork both empty into the Cheat River at Parsons, the county seat. All these waters team with catches of trout anglers dream about. Spring rains churn the Cheat into Class II-IV rapids, exhilarating to rafters and kayakers.
State Route 93 from nearby Davis leads northeast to Mt. Storm Lake, the man-made lake sitting atop the Allegheny Plateau that attracts scuba divers and those who enjoy swimming in the waters kept constantly warm by Virginia Electric Power.
Established in 1736, Tucker County offers history buffs a diverse heritage to explore. Henry Gassaway Davis (a U.S. Senator) and his family developed the area by introducing the railroad, coal and lumber industries in the late 1800’s. A melting pot for immigrants, Davis and Thomas grew quickly and businesses prospered. Thomas has 48 contributing properties on the National Register of Historic Places and historic beehive-shaped coke ovens. Davis was famous for its large mills for hard and soft woods. Parsons, another railroad town and the county seat, boasts the only traffic light in the county.