Experience the cultural heritage of southwestern Virginia’s coal mining towns on over 300 miles of scenic byways. Driving through seven counties, travelers can see a range attractions such as working mines, museums, outdoor thrills, and mountain music halls.
Pocahontas was Virginia’s first coal boom town and a great place to start your journey. The locals have converted many buildings, such as the old power house and company store, to celebrate their mining heritage. Consider stopping by the Exhibition Mine & Museum to tour the original Pocahontas #3 Coal Seam mine and see how coal used to be cut, blasted, and loaded into mine cars.
About two hours west of Pocahontas is Dante, a charming town which was once the headquarters of the Clinchfield Coal Corporation. Determined to see their community thrive after the last mine closure in 1959, Dante’s friendly residents welcome travelers to explore the town’s unique history and stay a while.
Keep driving west toward the town of Appalachia, to see a largely intact turn of the century town with coal camps, mining equipment, and railroad buildings still in their original locations. Don’t miss the town’s famous Bee Rock Tunnel, the shortest railroad tunnel in the world according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
There is much more to see and do on the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore this beautiful byway.