ELK RIVER SCENIC BYWAY

CAEZ sponsored the application for byway designation through the West Virginia Byways and Backways Program. “Achieving Scenic Byway status will provide national promotion for the beautiful drive along the Elk River from Sutton to Clendenin,” explains Connie Lupardus, CAEZ’s Executive Director. BYWAYS_2009_map-2 “Letting people know this drive, once the primary north-south corridor, provides spectacular views and a pleasant driving experience will increase the number of travelers along the Elk River and increase business as a result.”

The 75 mile Byway Route has been identified in four sections:

  • State Highway 4 at its junction with I-79 at the Town of Sutton continuing southbound to its junction with State Highways 4/16 at the Town of Clay
  • State Highway 16 through the Town of Clay to its junction with Clay County Route 5 (Elkhurst Road)
  • Clay County Route 5 (Elkhurst Road) to its junction with State Highway 4 near Procious NOTE: Section 3 is not suitable for large vehicles such as motor homes. A bypass is provided by continuing along State Highway 4 through the entire route.
  • State Highway 4 near Procious to its junction with U. S. Route 119 at the Town of Clendenin

The Byway application was submitted based upon scenic, historic, cultural, natural and recreational intrinsic qualities of the Elk River Corridor. The natural landscape of the river and banks is undisturbed in many sections. The river, running alongside the roadway, remains in view throughout the byway route. The variety of hardwood trees provide a varied experience through the seasons.

The proposed byway route brings travellers through the historic communities of Gassaway, Clay and Clendenin. Nearby National Register properties include the Gassaway Depot and the Clay County Courthouse. Additional historic sites include Downtown Gassaway, Downtown Clay, the Elkhurst Bridge, Elk River Camps, and the Mary L. Chilton Roadside Rest Area.

Culturally, the Elk River Scenic Byway is dotted with riverside camps that show a window from the past to the present. Built in the mid-twentieth century, the camps were originally used as weekend or summer getaways by people who lived in other nearby areas such as Charleston. Many remain for travellers to see including those with signs naming them things like “Camp No Place”, “Camp Brady Bunch”, or “Camp Chigger Bite”. Other camp homes have been converted to year round residences.

The rural nature of the majority of the byway route allows for an undisturbed view of the natural scenescape including various rock formations, trees and other flora, and beautiful vistas of the Elk River. The Elk River is used extensively for water recreation activities such as fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The route has several public access points including Frametown, Duck, Spread, Mary L. Chilton Roadside Rest Area, King Shoals, Queen Shoals, and Clendenin.

“CAEZ hopes to greatly enhance the visibility and use of this important route by attaining Byway Designation,” said Ms. Lupardus.
 

Participating Community Organizations
Community Design Team of West Virginia University
Cultural Resource Management Program of West Virginia University
Greater Kanawha Resource Conservation
Participating Governmental Organizations
Braxton County Commission
Town of Clay
Clay County Commission
Kanawha County Commission and Development

 

The scenic beauty of the Elk River can be seen from the roadway continuously along the proposed Byway.

The scenic beauty of the Elk River can be seen from the roadway continuously along the proposed Byway.

The Mary L. Chilton Roadside Rest Area, located between Ivydale and Clay, provides off-street parking, public restrooms, barbecue pits, picnic tables, covered group tables and river access.

The Mary L. Chilton Roadside Rest Area, located between Ivydale and Clay, provides off-street parking, public restrooms, barbecue pits, picnic tables, covered group tables and river access.

This fisherman is trolling for smallmouth bass in the Elk River near the Queen Shoals public river access.

This fisherman is trolling for smallmouth bass in the Elk River near the Queen Shoals public river access.