Civil War History Comes Alive at West Virginia State Parks

You don’t have to be a history buff to be moved by a visit to a Civil War battle site, a war that transformed the future of our nation and our great state. In fact, West Virginia originated from the Civil War, breaking away from Virginia and gaining admission to the Union on June 20, 1863.

With fall foliage in full swing, now is the perfect time to experience the history of our state that surrounds you at a few of our historic state parks!

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

Confederate and Union soldiers converged on the little community of Summersville in September 1861, now home to Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park.  Armies clashed until the Union won a strategic victory that forced the Confederates to withdraw. Rebel forces never regained control of the Kanawha Valley.

  • The Battle of Carnifex Ferry is re-enacted every other year, held during the odd numbered years. The event includes living history demonstrations such as camp life, military drill and a re-enactment of the Federal assault on the center of the Confederate line.
  • Carnifex Ferry Battlefield is on the Civil War Discovery Trail, which links more than 300 sites in 16 states.
  • The Patterson House still stands as a bullet-riddled survivor of the battle. The house serves as a museum, open seasonally.


Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

The last significant Civil War battle in West Virginia took place at Droop Mountain, north of Lewisburg. On November 6, 1863, Federal troops combined forces to raid Confederate railways. The Union’s success collapsed Confederate resistance in the area.

  • Like Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, Droop Mountain Battlefield is on the Civil War Discovery Trail, which links more than 300 sites in 16 states.
  • Walk in the footsteps where long ago soldiers marched to war. The state park contains several hiking trails, with ratings that range from easy to moderate to steep.
  • Visit the museum, lookout tower and other buildings the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built in the 1930s.

Pick your park, pack your bag and discover history at West Virginia State Parks.