5 Reasons to Plan a Late Fall Hiking Trip at West Virginia State Parks

Take you pick from hundreds of miles of trails for all skill levels

Holly River Hiking

Autumn has arrived, and with it, cooler weather and colorful leaves. What better reason to get outside and enjoy the day? Here are 5 reasons why you should plan a fall hiking trip at West Virginia state parks:

1. Cooler temperatures

Remember how hot it was last summer, when all you wanted to do was lounge on the couch in an air-conditioned room? In the fall, the weather is perfect—not too hot, not too cool. Now you can get outside and enjoy a whole day in the woods without overheating. Plan an overnighter at Cacapon Resort so you’ll have more time to explore the trails.

2. Abundant wildlife

Wildlife is more active in the fall, when animals are preparing for winter. Birds set out on their migration paths, squirrels gather and store acorns, and deer set out on their quest for mates. This is a good time to plan a weekend trip to Chief Logan State Park, where you might spy a majestic elk or hear its distinct bugle call. The animals were re-introduced to southern West Virginia in 2016.

3. Less crowding

This time of year, people are busy with school or planning for the holidays and they don’t spend as much time outdoors, so you can enjoy a quiet hike in the woods just a short drive from the Capital City at Kanawha State Forest. Lake parks tend to be less crowded in the off season, but the trails are always open at Beech Fork and Tygart Lake.

4. Rushing waterfalls

Camp Creek State Park

Fall tends to be a wetter season than summer. Those waterfalls that had nearly dried up in July might be running strong and clear in November. The granddaddy of all waterfalls can be found at Blackwater Falls State Park, but you can also hike to beautiful waterfalls at Twin Falls andCamp Creek.

5. Better views

Of course, fall colors—like the bright warm hues that saturate the trees at North Bend State Park—make for a beautiful hike. But even after the last leaf has fallen, you can enjoy breathtaking unobstructed views from hiking trails at Coopers Rock State Forest, Pipestem Resort and Lost River State Park.

Tips for a happy hike

Our state parks have hundreds of miles of trails ranging from easy loops to challenging climbs, assuring an enjoyable experience for the whole family. But before you head out, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Dress accordingly—usually a light jacket will do—and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Bring along water, snacks, a camera (You don’t want to miss out on that perfect shot!), and don’t forget to pick up a trail map at the park office.
  • You can also check the calendar for guided hikes. These group hikes often are led by the park naturalist and address topics like identifying plants and trees or animal tracks. 

Extend your hiking trip into a multi-day getaway with a stay in a lodge room or cabin and discover why autumn in West Virginia is Almost Heaven!

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