All You Need to Know About I-79

Interstate 79 (I-79) covers 343.46 miles and runs between Erie, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Running between Erie,
and Charleston,
West Virginia
, Interstate 79 (I-79) covers 343.46 miles.
Although classified as an interstate, I-79 is technically a two-state freeway linking Charleston, West Virginia with Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s the primary thoroughfare through Pennsylvania and West Virginia and makes up an important portion of the corridor to New York and the Canadian Border. It’s also a connection to major metropolitan areas like Charleston and Morgantown in West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Whether you frequent the interstate for your daily commute or are planning a summer road trip, we're here to give you what you need to know about traveling on I-79.
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What is an interstate highway?

While highway and interstate are often used synonymously, they’re not the same. As the name suggests, an interstate highway is a system of restricted access roadways that connects states, while highways have controlled access. Interstates stretch across the entire United States, covering over 47,000 miles.
But unlike highways that are named, interstates follow a unique numbering system. Odd-numbered interstates run north-south, and even-numbered interstates run east-west, with the lowest-numbered interstates typically found in the South and West. And if you see a three-digit interstate, it’s a beltway or loop on the outskirts of a city. 

What states does I-79 run through?

Except for its north end, I-79 is located on the Allegheny Plateau and consists of relatively flat roads, with the last 100 miles going through some hilly terrain. It sits at an elevation of 1,000 to 1,200 feet above sea level, with lower areas at both ends of the interstate and higher areas near Sutton, West Virginia. 
Unlike other interstates that coss several borders, I-79 crosses just two:

Major interchanges on I-79

Driving down I-79, you’ll find several interchanges that connect you to various parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Here are some of the major interchanges coming off of I-79: 
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Best places to eat along I-79

Whether you’re taking a short trip on I-79 or spending a few hours traveling between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, one thing is for sure—you’re going to get hungry. And there’s no shortage of unique places to grab a bite along I-79. Here are some of the most popular spots: 
  • Black Bear Burritos
    (Morgantown, WV): Nothing says filling and delicious like burritos—and no one does it better than Black Bear Burritos. Serving up classic Mexican eats with a modern flair and draft microbrews, you’ll find a selection of fantastic dishes served up with live music. Opens Monday to Saturday at 11 a.m. 
  • Pies & Pints
    (Charleston, WV): Hit up Pies & Pints if you're craving pizza. With hand-stretched pizza baked on a stone hearth loaded with toppings, you won’t find a better pie than here. It’s a Charleston favorite offering craft beers, specialty pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. Opens daily at 11 a.m. 
  • Morgantown Brewing Company
    (Morgantown, WV): A local brewpub serving up build-your-own-burgers, wings, and other class pub favorites alongside a selection of craft brews. And if you want to take some brew home, check out their store and grab a growler (or two). Opens Monday to Friday at 4 p.m. and on weekends at noon. 
  • The Union Grill
    (Washington, PA): A historic eatery jazzed up with black-and-white tile floors serving up made-from-scratch Italian-American favorites. Opens Monday to Saturday at 11 a.m. 
  • Log Cabin Inn
    (Harmony, PA): If you’re looking for a meal with a view, you’ll find it at the Log Cabin Inn—a low-key American restaurant built around a 19th-century cabin. Opens daily at 11 a.m. 
Pro Tip Check the hours of the restaurant before you stop! Several spots are closed Sundays, and you don’t want to disappoint your belly! 

What is there to do on I-79?

Running from the north of Pennsylvania to West Virginia, there are several spots to check out along the way. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures or family fun parks, you’ll find it along I-79. Here are the best spots along I-79: 

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