Add These 10 Adventures in West Virginia State Parks to your 2024 Bucket List
Happy New Year! If you haven’t made any resolutions, here’s a list you’ll be happy to complete. Make plans to tackle these 10 bucket list adventures in West Virginia state parks this year. The activities will keep you busy throughout all four seasons in Almost Heaven.
Board an antique train for the experience of a lifetime
Climb aboard West Virginia’s newest scenic train. The Greenbrier Express begins its excursion from the historic town of Cass, then meanders along the Greenbrier River and through secluded wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The area offers opportunities to view deer, river otters, black bears and bald eagles. This classic steam-driven locomotive is operated through Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.
Blast through the forest on two wheels
Test your skills on single-track and multi-level trails at Cacapon Resort State Park. This stunning Eastern Panhandle park also boasts a skills course and is in the process of building some 35 additional miles of trails for riders of all skill levels. Kanawha State Forest and Coopers Rock State Forest, with their rocky and rolling terrains, also are favorites among the mountain bike crowd. And if that’s a little too intense for you, you can always take a gentle, leisurely ride on the wide, flat tracks like the North Bend Rail Trail, the Greenbrier River Trail, and the Elk River Trail.
Zip through the trees with the greatest of ease
Experience the thrill of soaring up to 50 mph through the treetops above the Bluestone River at Pipestem Resort State Park. The Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour offers nine zips, a cable bridge and a belay to satisfy the adventure seeker and nature lover in us all.
Go on a paddling excursion
Bring the family out for a day on the water. Several state parks, like Beech Fork, Bluestone and North Bend, rent canoes and kayaks for use on their lakes. Bring your fishing gear – you might land a big catch.
Splash in a water playground
Turn the kids loose and let them run wild at Pipestem Resort’s Adventure Lake, where children and adults alike are invited to play on giant inflatable mountains, slides and trampolines and jump into the lake. For the littlest ones, there’s also a Splash Park and Kids’ Zone. Meanwhile, the Adventure Lake at Tygart Lake State Park features 25 giant inflatables and a sandy beach area with lounge chairs. Visitors to both of these thrilling aqua-adventures are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Camp out in a tent
Get back to nature with a tent camping experience. You’ll love roasting marshmallows around the campfire and then falling to sleep to the sounds of night animals. There are many amazing options for tent camping, including Audra State Park and Watoga State Park.
Channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl with a leisurely horseback ride through West Virginia’s beautiful forests. Pipestem Resort, Cacapon Resort and Lost River State Park all have stables where you can book a guided ride. Additionally, Kanawha State Forest also added a horseback riding concessionaire. If you have your own horse, bring it along with you to Camp Creek State Park and Forest, which has a special campground just for horses and their riders.
(Do) go chasing waterfalls
Download the West Virginia Waterfall Trail mobile passport and check in at waterfalls as you visit them. Several of these beautiful cascades are located within state parks. You don’t want to miss the stunning falls at Blackwater Falls State Park, Twin Falls Resort and many more. (Plus you can earn prizes as you check in!)
Experience the rush of off roading
Load up your ATV, UTV, 4×4 or dirt bike and head to Cabwaylingo State Forest, home to the Cabwaylingo Trail, the first in the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System to be located within a West Virginia state forest. You’ll have access to 100 miles of trails, parking for trucks and trailers and a trailhead facility with trail permits for sale.
Hit the slopes
When winter kicks in, the ski resorts kick into high gear. Head to Canaan Valley Resort for hours of fun skiing, snowboarding, ice skating or tubing. Nearby at Blackwater Falls, you’ll find the longest sled run in the east. Both places come with equipment rental, so all you need to do is bring yourself.
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