CHARLESTON, WV (WVDN) – Gov. Jim Justice held a ceremony to announce the newest scenic route of the Mountain Rides program – Capitol Circle – a scenic loop that will take travelers along Route 60 East through the southern portion of the state.
Capitol Circle marks the second route of the West Virginia Mountain Rides program, a collaborative partnership between the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia Department of Tourism to designate and promote the Mountain State’s most scenic country roads.
“This is a great day and a wonderful announcement,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely want to welcome people from all over America to enjoy a fantastic ride on our newest West Virginia scenic drive: Capitol Circle.”
Capitol Circle starts and ends in Charleston, making a smooth and easy loop for riders along Route 60 East. The route takes riders on a journey through just over 200 miles of the bustling Metro Valley and New River-Greenbrier Valley and can be completed within a little over a six-hour round trip drive.
This route includes several small towns that are rich in culture like Charleston, Fayetteville, Beckley, Pineville, and Logan. Travelers will also witness West Virginia’s mountainous terrain and natural beauty in places like Hawks Nest State Park, along with iconic landmarks like the New River Gorge Bridge.
“If you think back before I walked in the door as your Governor, our roads were falling apart. In my first State of the State address, I said we were going to get them fixed. But I don’t know if I ever dreamed that this day would be possible – a day where our roads are so improved that we can actually use them to promote tourism to bring more people to our great state. It’s so good, it’s unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s a success story that I’m incredibly proud of. We used to be the blunt end of bad jokes. We’ve always known how good we really are in West Virginia, but the outside world didn’t know. But now, every day, we are proving to the outside world that we really are the diamond in the rough.”
Gov. Justice was joined for the ceremony by Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby and West Virginia Department of Transportation Spokesperson Randy Damron.
“We’ve had a tremendously positive response to these new routes and are thrilled to be unveiling yet another one today,” Ruby said. “The Capitol Circle route is rich in culture and history, and even includes a few waterfalls – it’s perfect for a great Almost Heaven summer road trip. My sincere thanks go out to Governor Justice, who championed this effort from the very beginning, and to all the folks at the Division of Highways who have been working to ensure that our roads are in tip-top shape.”
“This Mountain Rides program is a big deal for West Virginia. Of course, Governor Justice made it all possible through his Roads To Prosperity program. Under his leadership, we’ve been able to upgrade our road system to the point where we can now use our roads to attract motorcycle or sports car enthusiasts to drive along our incredible, winding roads, with great vistas,” Damron said. “Our teams with the Division of Highways have been working on these roads with a magnifying glass to make sure they’re in top condition: no potholes, good striping, guardrails in place, and no gravel.”
Capitol Circle is the second of four official routes of the West Virginia Mountain Rides program to be released throughout the summer and into fall leaf peeping season.
During the event, the Governor and WVDOT officials also recognized – June 30, 2022 – as National Corvette Day. Several members of the Kanawha Valley Corvette Club were in attendance.
The event concluded with a ribbon-cutting, before Kanawha Valley Corvette Club members and motorcyclists drove off as the first official riders on the new Capitol Circle.