This Hillsboro, West Virginia, site where the largest Civil War battle in the state occurred, is now a park with great trails and views.
The state of West Virginia was born of the Civil War, splitting off from Virginia in June of 1861. Formally admitted to the Union two years later, the state has preserved a host of locations tied to Civil War history, but one of the most scenic and beautiful for a day trip surrounded by nature is the site of the Battle of Droop Mountain.
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park was the site of West Virginia’s last significant Civil War battle. The Union Army won that November 1863 day, with combined casualties numbered around 400 killed or wounded. By Civil War standards the battle was small, but it was one of the larger ones to occur in the state. An on-site museum provides information about the battle and displays original artifacts from it.
Today, the 287-acre site makes for a great day trip. The state park was the first in West Virginia, dedicated in 1928 and created thanks to the efforts of Civil War veterans who wanted to preserve the story of what happened here. One of the park’s most notable landmarks is the wooden lookout tower, a replica of one the Civilian Conservation Corps built here during the Great Depression. (The site is also where Confederate soldiers staged their artillery during the battle.) The scenic spot offers beautiful views looking out over the Allegheny Mountains.
The park’s eight trails are all relatively short, with none topping more than a mile, but some routes require strenuous climbs. The half-mile Musket Trail starts by the park office and follows a steep hillside, ending at the lookout tower. The half-mile Minie Ball Trail is one of the park’s most difficult, traversing a ravine through which Union soldiers climbed to attack the Confederates waiting above. 683 Droop Park Rd., Hillsboro, West Virginia 24946, 304/653-4087, wvstateparks.com
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