The first time I ever drove into Pineville, about 35 years ago, I thought it was one of the prettiest settings of any town I had ever seen, with lush green mountains, sparkling streams, and this beautiful rock sitting right in the middle of downtown, between the main street and the Guyandotte River. There is a small park surrounding Castle Rock with a trail that leads up to and and around the base of the formation. The views, down to the rushing Guyandotte River on the south, and across to the town of Pineville on the north, are well worth the short climb.
I've hiked around Castle Rock dozens of times and each time thought it was a thrill. What amazes me is that many local folk seem oblivious to this wonderful natural feature right in the center of their community. On my last visit to Pineville, I talked to a local man, about my own age, who said he had never taken the short walk up to and around the rock, although he has worked just couple of blocks away from it for the past eight years. Sad to say, people everywhere are often the same way about wonderful attractions right in their own back yards.
Pineville itself is well off any beaten path and it is unlikely you will ever go there without making a special effort.
Just nine miles further off the beaten path from Pineville is the 3,776-acre Twin Falls Resort State Park. This little visited jewell in the West Virginia park stystem has a great lodge, restaurant, cabins, golf course, and numerous other amenities, including a pioneer farmstead. To me, the major attractions of the park are two waterfalls, each about 20-feet-high: Marsh Fork Falls and Black Fork Falls. They are both reached by a 1.25 mile hiking trail. There is a total of 25 miles of beautiful developed and marked trails in the park. Wildlife, including the Whitetail Deer, is frequently seen.
I have another Virtual Tourist page just for Twin Falls Resort State Park to show more of the parks great features.
Pineville is located in the narrow winding valley carved through the rugged West Virginia mountains by the Guyandotte River, and also along Rockcastle Creek, a tributary of the Guyandotte. The Guyandotte, which flows a total of 166 miles, eventually empties into the Ohio River. Another nearby tributary of the Guyanddotte, Pinnacle Creek, offers great trout fishing in season, and also provides access to the Hatfield-McCoy trail system, which is a favorite of four wheelers, or all terrain vehicles.
I have two great memories of Pinnacle Creek. I caught a beautiful rainbow trout there, to the admiring cheers of my sons, Gregory and Christopher, who were just little tykes at the time. An even more vivid memory is of baptizing four new Christian converts in this creek on a cold January Sunday afternoon, with ice along the fringes of the swift flowing stream, near it's confluence with the Guyandotte. We waded in waist deep and I baptized them by immersion. The four new believers, all teenagers, didn't want to wait until warmer weather to be baptized. It chilled our bodies, but not our souls.
The Guyandotte River is not well developed as far as it's scenic and recreational potential is concerned, but anywhere you may find yourself in Pineville you are never far from it's shore. This view of the river is from a bridge that crosses the river, connecting the downtown Pineville from two city schools and a residential area. Most people here take their river for granted, but to me it is a beauty spot that should be protected, shown off and cherished.
Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association
In 1972, when I was a 27-year-old minister, I was invited to come to Pineville to plant a new Church of God. About five families lived in the community who were interested in having a church, so we began with less than 20 charter members.
We began holding services in a windowless basement room beneath the Dollar Store downtown, across the street from the Wyoming County Courthouse. I lived in Pineville for exactly one year, from September 1972 through September 1973. During that time, to help the church get off to a good start, I knocked on every door in town and for several miles around, telling people about our new church and inviting them to come visit our services. I also did a daily live radio program over the local station, WWYO, and wrote a weekly column for the local Independent Herald newspaper. We also hosted several community events. At the end of that year our membership had grown from 17 to 77, and we were negotiating on purchasing a building lot on WV 10, near the center of the town.
I left Pineville for a new assignment in Pennsylvania, but have been back a few times to visit - most recently in May of 2006. It was an honor to speak again in the church I had started 34 years before. Although only a few of the original folks are still around, the church has done well and is today one of the strongest congregations in the county.
If you're ever in Pineville on a Sunday drop in for a service. You will be greeted by a genuinely friendly group of some of the best people you will ever meet. Even if you are of a different religion, or no religion at all, you will still enjoy sampling genuine southern West Virginia culture. I don't know of a better way to meet local people and have an authentic Pineville experience.