Finding Purple Lizards in Davis and Thomas, West Virginia

July 09, 2018

Finding Purple Lizards in Davis and Thomas, West Virginia

Purple Lizard Maps spent seven months figuring out the Dolly Sods-Seneca Rocks Lizard map. We conducted field work for several weeks over that time period, and had a great time and found tons of fantastic Lizard Spots throughout the area (check out our Facebook page to view our collection of photos).

What's a Lizard Spot? Simply put, it is something unique and interesting such as a sweet view, local legend, or just a cool place. We place small purple lizards on our maps at these locations so you can go out and find them yourself! Some of the best and easiest to access spots are located in the northwest corner of our newest Lizard Map. We toured the area quite a bit, so we thought we would share some of our favorite sites and sounds below:

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Getting there: it's closer than you think!

Three hours from Frederick, MD, Pittsburgh or State College, PA; less than two hours from Morgantown, WV or Winchester, VA; and just over three hours from Alexandria, VA; this place is the perfect distance for a long weekend getaway. Keep your Lizard Map handy, because cell phone reception is spotty at best so don't plan on using your phone to navigate.

Forest Meadow Monongahela National Forest WV

Stay

Everyone needs a home base. When we weren't camping at one of the fantastic locations in this area, we chose Billy Motel time and time again because of the great atmosphere, easy access to our room, and of course the plethora of adventure out the motel door. Free wifi, a complimentary drink at the bar, and french press coffee in the morning were other great highlights.

The Billy Motel Davis West Virginia 

Other great places to stay include Cooper House Bed and Cocktail and Purple Fiddle Hostel, both in Thomas. All of these amenities are just minutes from Blackwater Falls State Park. Jog, bike, or drive to the state park to enjoy a few different views of the falls.

Blackwater Falls Blackwater Falls State Park West Virginia 

Blackwater Canyon lies downstream of the falls. There are several vistas and viewpoints of the canyon from the state park. While a few world-class backcountry paddlers may attempt to run parts of Blackwater River, we highly suggest speaking with the experts at Blackwater Outdoor Adventures before paddling this, or any other river in this part of West Virginia. When conditions change here it gets very serious very fast. 

Blackwater Canyon Blackwater River West Virginia 

Looking for more stunning vistas? Follow the lead of your Lizard Map and hike to an amazing vista at the end of Table Rock Trail. Or, hike, bike, or drive your car to Olson Lookout Tower a few miles west of Thomas. If you have a 4wd or dual sport motorcycle you can follow the rugged route to the Olsen Tower via Douglas.

Olson Lookout Tower Monongahela National Forest WV

Ride 

Of course there is plenty of mountain biking in this area too! Advanced riders looking for technical terrain will love the classics like Moon Rocks and Hoodoo Rocks.

Mountain Biking Camp 70 Road Trails Davis West Virginia

Local volunteers and nonprofit organizations and have been working diligently for years to create trails and loops in and around these towns. Be sure to check out trails like Splash Dam South Trail and Hellbender Trail.

Splash Dam South Trail Heart of the Highlands Davis West Virginia

Juniors and beginner mountain bikers will want to explore the Thomas City Park Trail system just north of town. This is a gem for sure!

Thomas City Park Trail Thomas West Virginia

Gravel cyclists can enjoy Canaan Loop Road, which is pretty gnarly in some sections, yet mellow in other sections!

Canaan Loop Road Monongahela National Forest WV

There are ample opportunities for motorcycles in this area, too! Tailor your trip to your skills and bike specs with our map; the Lizard Map distinguishes paved, gravel, and 4wd roads. Beware of West Virginia switchbacks - they are some of the tightest we've ever encountered. 

Motorcycle at Billy Motel Davis West Virginia

Drive

Yep, you can do that here too! Reference our map for drivable dirt roads for the everyday car (you may need some pothole navigation skills), or bring your overlanding rig and just head out. Canaan Loop Road is a classic for the overlanding crowd, but don't miss out on all of the other Forest Service roads in this part of West Virginia. Tight switchbacks and narrow roadways are commonplace here. We found the gnarly roads, and noted them as 4wd roads on our map. Not sure if your vehicle is up to the challenge? Contact our friends at Main Line Overland to be sure your rig is set up for 4wd adventures in West Virginia! 

Forest Service Roads Monongahela National Forest WV

Walk

Hiking and backpacking opportunities exist everywhere around Davis and Thomas. In fact, the Allegheny Trail passes directly through downtown Davis.  Three overnight shelters exist not far south of Blackwater Falls State Park. Read our blog on that area here: Trail Shelters Near Blackwater Falls State Park.

Trail Shelter Plantation Trail Monongahela National Forest WV

Re-caffinate and Re-fuel

Tip Top Coffee offers great coffee and meal options all day long in Thomas. Be sure to stop here when your energy tank is running low! 

Tip Top Cafe Thomas West Virginia

You can also refuel with lunch, natural snacks and groceries at Front Street Grocers in Thomas or you can enjoy the locally sourced Soup and Salad Bar at Highland Market in Davis.

Highland Market Davis West Virginia

Watch Wildlife

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge is just southeast of Davis. This refuge offers an array of flora and fauna to be observed from the car or on the trail. Early morning and evening outings to this area are best times to see wildlife.

Songbird Monongahela National Forest WV

Climb

Yes, climbing - and you're not even to Seneca Rocks yet! Throw your shoes and chalk in the car before visiting this area so you can try out the wall at Tucker Boulder Park in Davis. That brown stuff on the ground isn't mulch - it's a bed of shredded rubber that makes walking (and falling) around the rock a much more enjoyable experience.

Tucker Boulder Park Tucker County West Virginia

Night Life

If you still have energy after a day full of adventure, The Purple Fiddle is where you want to find yourself. With 300 nights of live music per year, the odds are great that you will find a great atmosphere with even better music!

The Purple Fiddle Thomas West Virginia

Another option is to visit the brewery and pub at Mountain State Brewing Company in Thomas. They have outdoor seating when the weather is nice and plenty of parking. Don't forget to fill your growler!

Mountain State Brewing Company 

Come Back 

We'd like to think that there is enough adventure on our Dolly Sods-Seneca Rocks Lizard Map to keep you coming back to this area time and time again. Large groups, families, and those looking for short or long term rental properties throughout this area should contact Best of Canaan for more information. Open up your Lizard Map and plan an adventure today!

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge West Virginia

Grab a Dolly Sods - Seneca Rocks Lizard Map and start planning your own WV adventure!

 

 

 

 





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