Nicholas County, West Virginia

Nicholas County, West Virginia (WV) extends across the level uplands between the Cumberland Mountains, in the distant west, to the peaks of the Alleghenies.
Looking westward from Old Nicholas Road, the Cumberland Mountains peak in the remote distance. (Photo: David Sibray)

Nicholas County, in south-central West Virginia (WV), was established in 1818 and named for Virginia governor Wilson Cary Nicholas. Its seat of government is at the center of the county at Summersville, West Virginia.

Large parts of Nicholas County are forested, particularly in the Allegheny Mountains region in the east, much of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Monongahela National Forest. The county includes part of the Cranberry National Wilderness Area, in the east, and the Gauley National Recreation Area, in the west.

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Long Point, Summersville Lake

Much of the county is in farmland. Tourism is a chief industry along with mining and forestry. Thousands of hikers, bikers, hunters, anglers, boaters, and rock climbers visit the county annually. The county is world-renowned as a destination for trout fishing, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting.

As of the 2010 census, the county population was 23,233.


Birthplace of Rivers

Nicholas County extends east into the Allegheny Mountain region of West Virginia known as the Birthplace of Rivers. Many of the most important rivers in the eastern U.S. arise among its peaks. The county is bounded and traversed by six rivers, which descend east to west from the peaks of the Alleghenies to near the Great Kanawha River. The Birch, Cherry, Gauley, MeadowWilliams, and Cranberry all arise in Nicholas County.


Cities & Towns in Nicholas County

Nicholas County includes a handful of incorporated communities, the largest of which is Richwood and Summersville. It also includes many villages and incorporated communities.

Belva, West Virginia
Birch Village, West Virginia
Calvin, West Virginia
Canvas, West Virginia
Cottle, West Virginia
Craigsville, West Virginia
Dixie, West Virginia
Drennen, West Virginia
Fenwick, West Virginia
Gilboa, West Virginia
Grassy Falls, West Virginia
Harriet, West Virginia
Hominy Falls, West Virginia
Jetsville, West Virginia
Kirkwood, West Virginia
Leivasy, West Virginia
Lockwood, West Virginia
Mount Lookout, West Virginia
Mount Nebo, West Virginia
Muddlety, West Virginia
Nettie, West Virginia
Richwood, West Virginia
Runa, West Virginia
Snow Hill, West Virginia
Summersville, West Virginia
Swiss, West Virginia
Tioga, West Virginia


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Parks & Public Recreation Facilities

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park
Gauley River National Recreation Area
Monongahela National Forest
Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Park
Summersville Lake Wildlife Management Area


Nicholas County Historic Landmarks

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield (Kesslers Cross Lanes, WV)


Regional Information for Nicholas County, West Virginia

Further information on lodging, dining, and recreation in Nicholas County may be found in our guide to travel in the New River Gorge Region of southern West Virginia, in which Nicholas County is located. The western mountains of the county are located in the Allegheny Highlands Region, in which travel informationn may also be found.