Best West Virginia state parks for a winter retreat

Mountains blanketed in white. Crackling fireplaces and hot cocoa. Snowball fights. Sound good? Our state parks and forests are beautiful any time of the year, but there’s just something magical about wintertime. Here are some of the best West Virginia state parks for a winter retreat:

If winter sports are your thing, you’ll love Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Not only does the park offer breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding hills, it’s an outdoor lover’s delight. Winter activities include both cross-country and downhill skiing, snow tubing and even ice skating. Rentals are available at each area.

Children (and grownups, too!) will love the sled run at Blackwater Falls State Park. Touted as the longest sled run on the East Coast, this exhilarating experience will have riders zipping down more than a quarter mile of fresh mountain snow. Hop on the Magic Carpet for a ride back to the top. And if you start to get cold, pop into the Warming Hut to enjoy some refreshments. The sled run is popular and tickets (which include sled rental) often sell out, so get your tickets in advance.

While lodges and cabins remain the most popular overnight accommodations during winter, there’s another option. Several parks, including Camp Creek State Park and Forest and Beech Fork State Park, have campgrounds that operate year-round. Winter camping is typically less crowded, so if you seek quiet and solitude against a setting of outdoor beauty, you’ll find it here.

When snow piles on the breathtaking landscape, the trails at Pipestem Resort State Park are perfect for cross-country skiing, and its rolling hills provide an ideal setting for sledding when snow and weather permits. Bring your own equipment or stop by Pipestem’s Pro Shop for rental information.

Get into the holiday spirit (and get in some winter hiking) at Chief Logan State Park. Christmas in the Park is a drive-thru light show that features festive holiday themed lights that stretch from the park entrance on W.Va. 10 to the park swimming pool. The show is open annually from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve.

After a long morning of hiking in the snowy woods, what better way to treat yourself than with a soothing massage? The brand-new Healing Waters Spa at Cacapon Resort State Park offers a wide range of services, including massages, facials, and full body treatments. Additionally, nearby Berkeley Springs State Park is open with a wide range of spa services. Now that’s a great way to warm up from the cold!

While you’re planning your Almost Heaven winter getaway, reserve your lodging in advance.

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