New Year Challenge: 12 park events and activities you can’t miss in 2020

Make 2020 all about outdoor adventures with these West Virginia State Parks events and activities.

You don’t need to make resolutions to get the most out of the new year. They’re usually vague and hard to follow up on. What you need is a detailed state park adventure bucket list. Skeptical? Let us explain.

You can pledge to exercise more in 2020, or you plan to hike with your best friends. Which one sounds more fun? We know which one we’d pick. Hiking, of course! Or how about this one: You can pledge to not let stress overwhelm you, or you can go on a ski trip that makes you feel like a kid again.

With a state park adventure bucket list, you can come up with more creative and fun ways to check off traditional new year resolutions such as, losing weight and spending more time with loved ones. Not sue what to include on your list? Here’s 12 state park events and activities to help you get started and make 2020 your best year yet.

First Day Hike

Start your year out on the right foot…or left foot. Hit the trails on January 1 and get a good start on your New Year’s resolution to exercise more. Go for a trek on your own or join a group at one of our first day hikes at Blackwater Falls, Cacapon Resort, Cass Scenic Railroad, Chief Logan, Holly River, North Bend, Twin Falls Resort or Tygart Lake state parks.

Sledding and Skiing

Hit the slopes at Canaan Valley Resort State Park for a weekend of downhill skiing and then drive over to nearby Blackwater Falls State Park to race down the longest sled run on the East Coast. You can also go cross-country skiing at Blackwater Falls and ice-skating at Canaan Valley. There’s no shortage of snowy adventures at these two parks!

Valentines Cabin Getaway

Break up the monotony of winter and take your partner or significant other on a Valentine getaway at a West Virginia state park. Our cozy cabins are the perfect place to spend quality time together as you spark new or old romance.

Spring Fishing

Be part of the biggest fishing event of the year during the West Virginia Gold Rush in April. This special golden rainbow trout stocking is an unforgettable experience that will get your family hooked on fishing. If you want to trade in your spinner rod and try fly fishing, go on a guided fishing trip on the Bluestone River at Pipestem Resort.

Wildflower Walk

From the yellow fawn lily to the eastern red columbine and common blue violet, West Virginia’s state parks have a beautiful wildlflower for nearly every color of the rainbow. During the spring months, park trails are full of delicate wildflowers. Learn more about wildflowers by bringing your field guide or joining a wildflower walk. There’s the Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walk at Kanawha State Forest, the Wildflower Pilgrimage at Blackwater Falls and the Sue Browning Wildflower Hike at Chief Logan, to name a few.

WVSP Camping recipes

Summer Camping

You can’t help but get close to nature when you sleep on the ground and your family has to spend time together when you’re sharing a tent. There’s no better summer family trip than going camping at a West Virginia state park. Prefer RV camping? We’ve got plenty of sites at parks all over the state for you to choose from too. For something a little different, you can try yurt camping at Tomlinson Run State Park or spend the night in the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower at Seneca State Forest.

Pipestem Adventures

Outdoor thrills and family fun — Pipestem Resort State Park has it all. Race through the treetops on the Pipestem Peaks Zipline or soak up the fun at the Adventure Lake and Splash Park. Guided mountain bike tours and other outdoor adventures are available. You’ll never run out of things to do at Pipestem!


Trying a new outdoor activity can be scary, but you don’t have to worry when you have a guide to help you get started. Through North Bend State Park’s Quest Program, you can feel confident as you try rock climbing, kayaking or mountain biking and learn all kinds of useful outdoor skills.

Park Dining

Enjoy locally sourced food and beverages at a West Virginia State Park Farm to Table Dinner or the unique experience of eating in the Bluestone River Gorge at Pipestem Resort’s Mountain Creek Dining Room.

Historical Reenactments

Experience history like you were there when it happened. Relive major Civil War battles at Droop Mountain Battlefield and Carnifex Ferry Battlefield state parks in October or visit Prickett’s Fort State Park for period-accurate demonstrations. And don’t forget to visit Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park on opening day in May.

Elk Tour

Get an up-close look at West Virginia’s growing elk herd roaming free in a natural habitat by joining a guided elk tour at the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area near Chief Logan State Park. During this tour, you’ll hear the history of elk in the Mountain State and learn about what the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is doing to make sure this majestic animal’s comeback is a success. Tour dates will be announced later in 2020. They sell out fast, so mark your calendars and set a reminder to check back in August or September to book your tour.

Cass Scenic Train Ride

See the most brilliant fall color as you ride an antique Shay steam engine at Cass Scenic Railroad up to Bald Knob, the third highest point in West Virginia. Along the way, you can see the historic town of Cass, tour a logging camp at Whittaker Station and watch the beautiful foliage and rolling hills pass you by.

Tired of failed new year resolutions? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Make an adventure list

    Use this list or pick your own adventures and then plan trips throughout the year.

  2. Book your stay

    Check several adventures off your list at once by extending your stay.

  3. Make 2020 the best year of your life

    Fill your year with outdoor adventures that help you accomplish traditional new year resolutions. You’ll have more fun in the process and get to explore more of your favorite state parks.

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