Immerse Yourself In American History With A Trip To This Underrated US Town

West Virginia is famous for its forest landscapes, which includes the Monongahela National Forest. Of course another of the state's claims to fame is the John Denver song "Take Me Home, Country Roads." The state is not so famous for large cities. Even its capital Charleston only has just slightly more than 46,000 people. However, the small cities are still well-worth the visit. An often overlooked small town in West Virginia is Williamson.

Williamson is just three hours from Lexington, Kentucky and just one and a half hours from Charleston. This makes this eclectic, entertaining town easy to add to an Appalachian Mountain itinerary. Williamson has extensive railway and coal mining history, haunted buildings, and nature trails for hiking or mountain biking. Hatfield-McCoy enthusiasts will enjoy it too. Williamson is even frequently called the "Gateway to the Hatfield McCoy Trails." These hiking trails combine history with nature and can be explored on foot, bike, or ATV. You will likely even see people driving ATVs on the streets of Williamson itself.

Visit a legendary haunted hospital

The Norfolk & Western Railway made its way to Williamson, West Virginia at the end of the 1800s. Though it is now called Norfolk Southern, it still runs through the town and its rail yards are among the largest in the state. The railway system was integral for the region's coal industry. In fact, Williamson is part of the National Coal Heritage Area of West Virginia. Coal's influence is also seen at the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce Building built out of coal in 1933. Today, visitors can see the building and the Railroad Marker at the former N&W passenger station, which is now the Williamson Mayor's Office.

A popular location in Williamson for all things paranormal is the Old Hospital on College Hill, which appeared on the haunted travel television show "Destination Fear." This hospital operated from 1928 to 1988. Among the stories of paranormal activity include a deceased nurse spotted returning to work and flashlight batteries consistently dying in the same room. It is now open year 'round with tour options focusing on its history, its spooky history, or both.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trails are popular for dirtbiking

Southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky was the epicenter of the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. This feud began during the Civil War and grew to involve more than one generation of both families. The dramatic story even inspired the television series "Hatfields and McCoys." Williamson, West Virginia is home to the Hatfield McCoy House. This small bed and breakfast inn features memorabilia from the famous families like photos and household items. Just minutes from Williamson is the Randolph (or Randall) McCoy House. Years into the feud, members of the Hatfield family burned down this house in 1888 and killed two of McCoy's children.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail Systems cover more than 1,000 miles of land and is split into different systems. The Buffalo Mountain Trail System is accessible through Williamson. Buffalo Mountain also links with the Devil Anse Trail System — which features the Hatfield Cemetery — and Rockhouse Trail Systems. After obtaining your permit, look for the Hatfield McCoy Trail #10 Entrance in the northwestern part of town.