Moorefield is the main settlement on the South Branch of the Potomac River, and the county seat of Hardy County. It sits in the center of an unusually large area of flat land for the area, being completely surrounded by rugged mountains. The South Branch Valley used to be one of the more remote areas of West Virginia, but with the construction of U.S. 48 as a four-lane divided highway in the early 2010s, it is now much easier to reach.
Unlike the regions surrounding Davis to the west and Wardensville to the east, the South Branch Valley is not particularly touristy, instead being dominated by poultry and cattle farming. It however makes a good side trip from those two towns, as Moorefield has many more options for retail and dining. It is also itself a good base from which to explore the surrounding backcountry.
Hardy County has a tourism web site with an email contact link for more information.
Moorefield is not served by public transportation. No bus, train, or passenger airline service exists.
From anywhere outside the Appalachians, the best driving route is to take U.S. 48, which connects to I-81 near the I-66 junction in the east, and to I-79 in the west. As of 2020, most of U.S. 48 is a four-lane divided highway, with the exception of the easternmost portion from Wardensville to Strasburg, and a segment from north of Elkins to Davis.
If you're already in the Appalachians, U.S. 220 is the main north-south highway through the regions. It is a two-lane highway, so unless you're already close, it probably makes more sense to cut over to the Interstates and take U.S. 48 instead.
Moorefield has no public transportation. You will need a car to get to most destinations.
Moorefield is located in the scenic South Branch Valley of the Potomac Highlands, in the foothills of the Allegheny mountains. There is a lot of natural beauty.
- 1 McCoy's Grand Theater and Museum, Moorefield. Historic movie theater converted for stage performances.
- 2 Hardy County Historical Society Museum, Moorefield. Located in the historic Mullin Hotel at the center of town.
- 3 Fort Mulligan, Petersburg. Civil war fort.
- 4 Clifford Hollow Bridge. Scenic overlook with nice views of the award-winning bridge.
- 5 Greenland Gap Preserve. A Nature Conservancy preserve. No trails, but you can drive through.
- 6 Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. Monongahela National Forest begins just southwest of Petersburg, with the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area contained within it.
- Civil War Trails, Various locations. There are several informational placards around the area.
Outside the Monongahela National Forest, the land is mostly privately owned and there doesn't appear to be a lot of hiking. There are ample public access sites to the Potomac River for fishing and boating, though, and there are outfitters you can rent equipment from.
- Hardy County Heritage Weekend, ☏ . Last weekend in September. Walking tours, historic home tours, heritage activities. Free.
- 1 South Branch Cinema Six Theatres (behind Walmart), ☏ . Multiplex cinema showing first run movies.
- 2 Smoke Hole Canyon. A stretch of the South Branch Potomac Rive popular for kayaking/canoeing/rafting and climbing. It is within Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.
- 3 The Trough. Another stretch of the South Branch Potomac River popular for kayaking/canoeing/rafting.
- 4 South Branch Wildlife Management Area. State hunting reserve. Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area is also nearby.
- Collect fossils. Six miles south of Moorefield is a road cut and quarry where middle Devonian fossils can be collected from the Mahantango Formation. Well-preserved brachiopods in the genera Mucrospirifer and Spinatrypa can be found here, as can detailed specimens of the trilobites Phacops and Trimerus. Other local fossils include the bivalve Modiomoprha concentrica, the bryozoan Fenestella, corals, crinoids, the gastropod Loxonema hamiltoniae, and the straight-shelled nautiloid Michelinoceras.
- 1 Wal-Mart Super Center, 11 Harness Rd (North of town), ☏ . Possibly the only big-box store in the region. Everything you need in one place.
Most of the restaurants in the area are American diner-type places, though there are a few Italian and Latin American restaurants as well.
- 1 South Branch Inn, 1500 US Highway 220 N, Moorefield, ☏ . The only modern hotel in the area. Nothing fancy, but clean and still inexpensive. The owners have a lot of other businesses, so each day you stay you can get a coupon for a free movie, bowling, and ice cream, and 10% off the steakhouse next door.
- 2 Evans Motel, 508 N Main St, Moorefield, ☏ . Basic cheap motel.
- 3 The Hermitage Motor Inn, Petersburg, ☏ . The main building containing the office and restaurant is NRHP-listed, but the hotel rooms are in a 1960s-era inn behind it. It does not appear to have a web presence, but it is in fact operating as of September 2020.
- 4 Park Motel, Petersburg.
- 5 Fort Hill Motel, Petersburg.
- 6 Homestead Inn Motel, Petersburg.
- 7 Smoke Hole Caverns & Log Cabin Resort. Pricey luxury cabins.
- 8 North Fork Mountain Inn. Luxury hotel.
Cellular voice service is pretty consistent throughout the region, but cellular data appears to be limited to 1x (for Verizon at least). Moorefield is on the northern fringes of the National Radio Quiet Zone, which might be the reason for this. Also, note that there is no cellular service along U.S. 48 east of town almost all the way to the Virginia state line.
- Davis, to the west beyond the Allegheny Front, has a number of natural areas to explore
- Wardensville to the east is the gateway to the Lost River Valley
- Romney, the next historic city to the north
- Franklin, the next historic city to the south