Opt Outside at WV State Parks and Forests this Black Friday

Take some time on Black Friday to #OptOutside. With the hectic pace of the holidays upon us, there’s no better way to relax and regroup. Studies have shown that spending time in nature helps reduce stress, improve mood, and increase your energy level.

West Virginia state parks and forests are the perfect place to unwind and take in a breath of fresh air. Here are just a few reasons to opt outside:

Historic connections

Hike to the Henry Clay Furnace at Coopers Rock State Forest. The first steam-powered blast furnace in western Virginia is a throwback to the 19th century when the iron industry flourished in the area.

Discover an old coal mine along the CCC Snipe Trail at Kanawha State Forest. The coal mines at Kanawha are no longer in operation, and one has been converted to a habitat for bats.

Climb to the top of the lookout tower at Droop Mountain Battlefield and learn about the last major Civil War conflict in West Virginia. Dedicated in 1928, it is West Virginia’s oldest state park.

Stunning overlooks

Take in the awe-inspiring vista of the Bluestone River Gorge at Pipestem Resort State Park. The park’s Bolar Lookout tower also offers scenic views of the Sun Valley.

Watch trains travel through the New River Gorge from the overlook at Hawks Nest State Park. The park also has several hiking trails that showcase stunning views of the river.

Hike to Cranny Crow at Lost River State Park. The overlook, atop Big Ridge Mountain, offers a commanding view of five counties.

Scenic Views

Go waterfalling at Blackwater Falls State Park. The park is home to the state’s largest waterfall—Blackwater Falls—as well as the smaller but equally beautiful Elakala Falls.

Go for a bike ride along the Elk River Rail Trail, West Virginia’s newest state park. The trail has roughly 37 miles open for use by cyclists, hikers and equestrians, with several river access points for boating and fishing.

Guided activities

Many parks offer group hikes and other nature activities throughout the year. Visit your park’s Nature Center or online calendar to find an event you’d like to participate in.

As you opt outside this Black Friday, please remember to recreate responsibly. Keep your pets leashed and dispose of any trash in receptacles at campgrounds and picnic areas. And consider extending your Black Friday visit to a long weekend in Almost Heaven!

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