GETTING THERE: Horseshoe Creek Riding Stable is in Hico, W. Va., about 10 miles north of Fayetteville off Route 19. It's about 300 miles and a six-hour drive from D.C. Take I-66 west to I-81 south to I-64 west. From there, head to Route 60 west, which intersects with Route 19 in Hico.

RIDING THERE: Horseshoe Creek offers two-hour to full-day trail rides near the Gauley River and the New River Gorge year-round ($35-$99). Overnight trips ($140-$150), which require 24 hours notice, take place (weather permitting) from March through early November. Groups of fewer than 15 sleep in tents; larger groups snooze in a teepee. Information: 888-658-7433.

STAYING THERE: Summersville and Fayetteville are both close to Hico. Pre-ride lodging options include Fayetteville's Comfort Inn New River (Route 19 and Laurel Creek Road, 800-789-9741), with rates from $70 to $95 a night, and the Best Western Summersville Lake Motor Lodge (1203 S. Broad St., 304-872-6900; $45.95-$90).

BEING THERE: In Summersville, the elegant Cornerstone Cafe (800 Main St.; dinner entrees $16-$19) serves southern-influenced dishes -- horseradish-spiked crab cakes, chicken livers with prosciutto -- in a restored 1923 bank building. For breakfast and lunch, outdoorsy and artsy types gather over lattes, chorizo-and-egg bagels and hummus sandwiches at Fayetteville's Cathedral Cafe and Bookstore (134 S. Court St.), a steepled former Methodist church that also sells West Virginia crafts and used books.

INFO: Southern West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-847-4898,