Randy Yohe Published

State Park Aerial Tram Replacement Nearing Completion

Lady in flowery dress speaking at podium with large man and fat dog next to her
Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby speaking at Pipestem Resort State Park
Governor's Communications Office

Replacing the aerial trams at one of two West Virginia State parks moved a little closer to the finish line with an announcement on Monday.   

Scheduled for replacement after more than 50 years in service, a new state of the art aerial tram at Pipestem State Park is ready to re-open this fall. The $12.4 million tram replacement will transport Pipestem guests down the same, iconic 3,400-foot path into the Bluestone Gorge.  

At a Pipestem press conference, Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby said the tram’s new pulse gondola system will allow for more efficiency and greater capacity within each cabin.

“It is going to be able to haul more people,”’” Ruby said. “There’s going to be equipment cars so you can take your fishing gear, your kayaks, your bicycles, everything down.”

The new tram cabins are also fully handicapped accessible. 

The original Pipestem aerial tram opened in April 1971, nearly a year after Pipestem State Park’s official opening on Memorial Day of 1970. The old tram served the park and many visitors for over a half century.

The old tram operated 12 cabins with a capacity of four persons per cabin. The previous system would not operate if winds rose above 24 mph. The new tram, with several safety applications built into the system, permits safe operation through winds reaching up to 54 mph.

Ruby said next on the replacement list is a new tram at Hawksnest State Park.