Hinton, WV (West Virginia), the seat of Summers County, was established in 1872 and incorporated as a city in 1897. Its population was 2,676 as of the 2010 census. Much of its historic downtown is protected as part of the Hinton National Historic District.
The city is situated downstream of the confluence of the New River and Greenbrier River. Much of Hinton is located in levels around the confluence, though residential areas climb into the surrounding mountains.
Hinton was named for John "Jack" Hinton, an attorney and the husband of Avis Gwinn Hinton, whose family owned the land upon which the town was platted. It remained a quiet courthouse village until the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway was completed in the 1870s, after which it became a commercial and transportation center for the railway.
The city thrived for much of a century, during which its chief industry was as a fueling station and a terminal for the C&O and as an export center for coal and timber mined and harvested among the surrounding mountains. However, it entered a period of decline in the 1950s, when the railway converted its engines from steam to diesel power, negating the need for a fueling stop.
After the 1950s, the importance of the city as a scenic and recreational center came sharply into focus. The development of Bluestone Lake upstream of the city tamed the New River and led to the region's popularity as a destination for angling and hunting. Fishing camps and vacation cabins were developed throughout the area.
Thereafter, the city became the center of a region of public recreational lands. Bluestone State Park was established upstream in 1950, and Pipestem Resort State Park opened nearby in 1963. In 1978, the National Park Service established what's now the New River Gorge National River, leading to a period of continuous development of the region's cultural and natural resources, including the popular Sandstone Falls natural area. In 1988, the park service established the Bluestone National Scenic River, which further enhanced the region's recreational resources.
In 2021, the national park service announced the redesignation of the New River Gorge National River as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and over the next year travel in the region more than doubled. Coincident with the designation, the covid-19 pandemic led many corporations to permit employees to work from home. Many chose to move to rural American communities. As a result, Hinton and the surrounding area is enjoying an influx of new residents.
Lodging near Hinton, West Virginia
Parks & Public Recreation
As a result of its location among state and national parklands, Hinton is a popular tourist destination. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and Bluestone National Scenic River are located north and south of the city. Bluestone State Park and the Bluestone Lake Wildlife Management Area straddle Bluestone Lake to the south of town where the New River and Bluestone River join.
Photos of Hinton & Vicinity
Hinton is located at the junction of highways WV-3 and WV-20 approximately 12 miles south of the I-64 expressway at Sandstone, West Virginia, and 30 miles north of I-77 at Princeton, West Virginia.
Map of Hinton, West Virginia
Hinton is located in the New River Gorge Region in southern West Virginia at its junction with the Bluestone Region and Greenbrier Valley Region. Further information on the region may be found through the Summers County Convention and Visitors Bureau at Explore Summers County.