- West Virginia
Outdoor lovers, plan to visit one or more awe-inspiring state parks in West Virginia.
With nearly 75 percent of the state covered in forests, and all of it within the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is a haven for travelers seeking outdoor adventure and natural beauty. Any time of year, you’ll find activities ranging from hiking and mountain biking to fishing, skiing and off-roading. There are 34 state parks and nine state forests to explore, and these four are especially noteworthy.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
A visit to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is like stepping back in time to the days of steam locomotives and logging towns. The restored steam engine train rides through a thick forest to a re-created logging camp overlooking the Cheat River. Shop at the old Company Store, which also houses a history museum and the Last Run Restaurant. The old houses where loggers used to stay have been turned into cottages for overnight accommodations.
The Shay #6 Engine car running through the park
Chief Logan State Park
At Chief Logan State Park, you can enjoy a day of hiking, biking or fishing. Visit the history museum and wildlife exhibit, and take in spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains. The park’s lodge is a few kilometers away; stay overnight to rest after a day of activity. If you like off-roading, the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trails nearby are among the best in the state.
Hiking the trails in Chief Logan State Park in the fall
Coopers Rock State Forest
Bring your mountain bike or hiking shoes to Coopers Rock State Forest to trek 80 kilometers of trails. Bring your camera, too, because the trails provide spectacular views of the canyon carved out by the Cheat River. Look for remnants of the Henry Clay Furnace, which dates to the 1830s, and “The Giant” eco-sculpture, a massive human-shaped sculpture fashioned from sticks, rocks and moss.
Biking the trails of Coopers Rock State Forest surrounded by lush green foliage
Babcock State Park
If you could capture the quintessential picture of West Virginia, it would be at Babcock State Park. In addition to year-round mountain beauty, the park is home to the picturesque Glade Creek Grist Mill perched on the river. Enjoy 32 kilometers of hiking and biking trails, canoeing and whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge. Nearby, don’t miss a visit to the New River Gorge Bridge. If you’re daring enough, take a walking tour that goes directly underneath the 267-meter tall bridge. You might also drive to check out the historic mine at Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and shop at Tamarack, a store that sells handmade arts and crafts from West Virginia.