8 Iconic State Parks You Don’t Want To Miss This Spring

After a long winter inside, exploring the outdoors is one of the best ways to warm up and enjoy the beauty of nature. There are plenty of options for springtime adventures in West Virginia, but now is a great time to visit popular state parks before the summer travel season. Beat the crowds and visit one or all of these eight iconic state parks this March, April and May!

Audra State Park

It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit, Audra State Park is awash with scenic beauty. Located in the wooded hills of Barbour and Upshur counties, Audra is known for the Alum Cave rock overhang, which is a popular hiking destination with plenty of photo opportunities.

What To Do
While many visitors come to see Audra’s iconic rock formation, the park has some of the best camping you’ll find in West Virginia and the pristine waters of the Middle Fork River. Cast a line or go for a swim, take in the surroundings and enjoy hiking, camping and family picnics. Audra is an iconic West Virginia State Park for a reason.

Where To Stay
Let the sounds of rushing water and the crackling of a warm campfire lull you to sleep at night when you stay at Audra’s quiet campground. The park has 39 electric sites and 26 non-electric sites. All you have to do is bring your RV or pitch a tent because there’s a campsite for you no matter what kind of camper you are.

Babcock

When it comes to iconic locations in West Virginia, there are few places like the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park. You’ve seen it pictured on calendars, mugs and coffee table books. It’s one of the most photographed locations in the country.

Spring is a perfect time to visit because the banks and hills surrounding Glade Creek are covered in rhododendrons, which are in bloom between March and June. The Grist Mill is the star, but don’t forget to cast a line, take a hike or even venture outside the park and enjoy whitewater rafting in the nearby New River Gorge in season. Visit once and you’ll know why Babcock is one of the most popular state parks.

Where to Stay

Babcock has 28 cozy cabins where you can relax and unwind. There are 13 cabins along Glade Creek. The park also has 15 cabins deeper in the park if you want something a little more secluded. Babcock also has a campground with 28 electric sites and 24 non-electric sites. If you prefer lodge amenities, book a room at nearby Hawks Nest State Park.

Blackwater Falls

Blackwater Falls State Park has no shortage of iconic locations. There’s the namesake Blackwater Falls, Lindy Point, Pendleton Point Overlook and Elakala Falls. All provide stunning views and incredible photo opportunities and make this park one of the most popular and most visited parks in the state. If you enjoy hiking, you’ll put plenty of miles on your boots navigating the trail to all of the attractions at Blackwater Falls. You can also enjoy some incredible trout fishing in the Blackwater River and plenty of outdoor adventures at nearby Canaan Valley Resort State Park and other natural areas, such as the Monongahela National Forest and the Dolly Sods Wilderness.

Where to Stay

If you want to enjoy a mountain lodge experience, you’ll want to stay at the newly renovated Blackwater Falls Lodge, which has 54 rooms and great views of the Blackwater Canyon. The park also has 39 cabins and 65 campsites for tents or trailers. Looking for a unique stay? Check out the Tentrr sites at Blackwater Falls.

Blennerhassett Island

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park doesn’t open until the first of May, but now is the perfect time to plan a spring trip to this iconic park. Located in the middle of the Ohio River, this Island is a magical place where history comes to life. Walk through palatial mansion halls that rival George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and spend a day in the life of Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett, wealthy Irish aristocrats who provided quarters to Aaron Burr at a time when he was accused of a treasonous plot against the United States.

While touring the island, give yourself at least three hours to enjoy the full experience. And the tour is only part of the fun. To get to the island, you’ll get to enjoy a ride on the iconic Island Belle sternwheeler. For a sternwheeler and museum schedule and rates for the 2022 season, click here.

Where to Stay

Blennerhassett Island doesn’t offer overnight accommodations, but don’t let that stop you from visiting this iconic park. Make your stop at Blennerhassett part of a longer trip around West Virginia and stay at the North Bend State Park Lodge, which is about 30 miles away.

Cass Scenic Railroad

If you’ve ever taken the 4.5-hour-long train ride to the overlook at the top of Bald Knob, the third highest point in West Virginia, you’ll know why Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is one of the most iconic state parks. Train rides are available starting in May. To view a schedule and purchase tickets, visit mountainrailwv.com. Tickets book up fast, so now is the time to plan your spring trip.

Planning a visit in March or April? There are still plenty of things to do at Cass. You can hike on the nearby Greenbrier River Trail or visit many of the park’s historic attractions. The town of Cass is mostly unchanged since its founding in 1901 as a company town for loggers. Learn more about trains and the park’s past at the Cass Historical Museum, one of America’s only authentic lumber railroading museums. The museum is open daily, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Exhibits are free and guided tours are available.

Where to Stay

Go back in time and experience the charm of the historic town of Cass by staying in one of the park’s company houses. These houses can accommodate 2-14 people, so bring the whole family along for a fun weekend at Cass.

Sunsets at Coopers Rock State Forest are as beautiful as they are inspiring.

Coopers Rock

Overlooks give way to iconic views at Coopers Rock State Forest, home of the majestic Cheat River Gorge,located outside Morgantown. This state forest has some of the most stunning views in West Virginia, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor adventures.

You might come for the views, but the forest’s 50 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, fishing lake and hundreds of rock formations for climbing and bouldering will keep you coming back for more. Whether you’re in school and need a break from your studies or looking for a place to take your family, spring is a great time to visit Coopers Rock.

Where to Stay

After a day of scrambling on the rocks, reeling in trout or hiking miles of trails, you’ll want to settle in for the evening at one of the Coopers Rock State Forest two campgrounds. If you need to hook up your trailer, stay at the McCollum Campground. If you want a more primitive campsite, pitch your tent at the Rhododendron Campground. Coopers Rock also has Tentrr campsites, which offer a unique camping experience.

Hawks Nest

People all over the world travel to West Virginia to see the New River Gorge and Hawks Nest State Park has some of the most iconic views in the area. Hawk Nest’s location downstream from the New River Gorge Bridge means the park has views that are just as good but with half the crowds. And spring before the summer vacation season starts just happens to be the perfect time to visit.

There are few views that can rival sunrise at the park’s main overlook, except for maybe sunset at the secluded lover’s leap overlook, which offers a bird’s eye view of the gorge below. There’s also eight miles of hiking trails you can explore for more mountain views.

Where to Stay

Stay at the Hawks Nest Lodge and enjoy unique and incredible views of the New River Gorge. Try and get a room with a private balcony where you can watch the sunset. It’s breathtaking!

Pipestem

Stunning views of the Bluestone Gorge. Exciting outdoor adventures. Family activities you can enjoy from sunup to sundown. Pipestem Resort State Park is one of West Virginia’s most popular family vacation destinations.

Enjoy hiking along the Bluestone Canyon or up to the Bolar Lookout Tower, cast a line in crystal clear trout water, chip in a few as you take in beautiful views at the championship 18-hole golf course or take the kids to the Adventure Zone. There’s so much to do at Pipestem you’ll never run out of adventures.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of options for spending the night at Pipestem. McKeever Lodge, located on the canyon rim, is open year round and has 111 rooms, many of which have scenic views of the Bluestone Gorge. Mountain Creek Lodge, located down in the gorge and accessible only by tram, is open May through October and has 30 rooms. You can also stay in one of the park’s 26 cozy cabins and the campground has 82 sites for you to choose from.

Ready For Spring Adventure?

From spring trout stockings and wildflower hikes to golf getaways and spring break escapes, we have plenty of spring trip ideas to help you plan the perfect adventure.

(Book Now)