5 WVSP hikes to enjoy on Take a Walk in the Park Day

From easy loops to challenging climbs, West Virginia State Parks and Forests have the trail for you.

March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day!

Not that you need an excuse to visit our beautiful state parks, but here’s further incentive: Hiking is good for both the body and mind. Aside from obvious health benefits like improved cardiovascular health and weight control, hiking also helps combat stress and anxiety. So, set aside some time to take a stroll through the woods. Enjoy the sounds of nature, and maybe even bring along a picnic lunch. Try one of these hikes on for size.

Clay Run Trail, Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock is best known for its spectacular views of Cheat River Canyon, but there’s plenty more interesting features in this park if you know where to look. Take the Clay Run Trail, for instance. This 1.8-mile moderate hike leads to a towering, cut-stone furnace that was used to smelt iron ore extracted from the surrounding hills. The Henry Clay Furnace, built around 1836, was the first steam-powered blast furnace in western Virginia. The meadow surrounding it once sustained a small mining community, with log houses, a school and a church.

Canyon Rim Trail, Pipestem Resort State Park

Like its name implies, Canyon Rim’s highlight is its stunning overlook of the Bluestone River Gorge at Pipestem Resort. The 0.7-mile trail begins at the Canyon Rim Center and descends 500 feet to a massive stone outcropping known as Heritage Point. If you’re up for a longer hike, combine it with River Trail which begins at McKeever Lodge and intersects Canyon Rim about 1.5 miles in.

Ziler Loop, Cacapon Resort State Park

The 5-mile Ziler Loop at Cacapon Resort is a bit of a challenge, but the reward is worth it. The trail is at places rugged and steep as it winds upward to the top of Cacapon Mountain, the highest mountain in the Eastern Panhandle. Through the trees you can catch a few scenic glimpses of the valley 2,200 feet below. Birds and deer are common along this trail, especially during the morning hours.

Lake Shore Trail, Chief Logan State Park

The Lake Shore Trail atChief Logan is a 1-mile easy hike that winds partway around the lake and connects to several other trails, allowing the option to extend your hike by several miles. It’s a great hike for spring because you’re likely to find an abundance of wildflowers along the trail. (Tip: Bring your fishing rod! Chief Logan Lake is stocked once a month through April. You can purchase a fishing license at www.wvfish.com.)

North Bend Rail Trail, North Bend State Park

You don’t have to be an athlete to tackle the trails. If climbing steep hills and wading through creeks is not your thing, consider one of West Virginia’s rail trails. The North Bend Rail Trail, which connects to North Bend State Park, is a wide, moderate grade path of mostly of dirt and fine gravel. The trail—also ideal for family bike rides—winds through historic tunnels and over bridges as it passes through peaceful farmland and quaint small towns.

Find a hiking trail for you

West Virginia State Parks and Forests offer hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and biking. Find more trails here or better yet, book an overnight stay so you can enjoy more time on the trails.

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