Welcome the first day spring at these 10 state parks

Celebrate the season with hiking, fishing and sightseeing.

With four distinct, beautiful seasons, West Virginia is a nature lover’s paradise year round. Add in blooming wildflowers, sunshine and birds singing in the morning and you have everything you need for a springtime adventure at a state park or forest. Here are 10 parks you’ll want to check out! And if the weather is nice, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.

Chief Logan State Park

In the southern coalfields, Chief Logan offers plenty of fun for outdoor lovers, from 18 miles of hiking and biking trails to a lake that is regularly stocked with trout and catfish. If you want to learn more about the Mountain State’s history, venture over to the Museum in the Park, which features artwork and historical items from the collection of the West Virginia State Museum.

Cacapon Resort State Park

In the Eastern Panhandle, Cacapon Resort has 23 miles of hiking trails for your spring explorations. Trek up to the observation deck on Cacapon Mountain for a unique opportunity to view West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania all at once. And bring your fishing rod! The park’s two small lakes are home to bass, catfish and bluegill and are stocked with trout each spring. Fishing licenses can be purchased at wvfish.com.

Kanawha State Forest

Just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, Kanawha State Forest offers a quick getaway for nature lovers. More than 25 miles of hiking and biking trails weave through the forest’s hills and hollows, highlighting unique rock formations, scenic overlooks and rippling streams. Trails range from challenging ascents to the ADA-accessible interpretive Spotted Salamander Trail.

Watoga State Park

As West Virginia’s largest state park, Watoga has plenty of space for springtime recreation. Hike or bike on 40 miles of trails or cast a line in the 11-acre lake stocked with fish. Looking for some suggestions on what to do? Here’s two must-dos for your list: Take a stroll through the 400-acre Brooks Memorial Arboretum to learn about trees and plants native to the area, then hike the Arrowhead Trail to the Anne Bailey Lookout Tower. It’s a bit of a climb but the views are worth it!

North Bend State Park

Named for the horseshoe curve of the North Fork of the Hughes River, North Bend offers fishing, hiking and abundant wildlife viewing. The park is adjacent to the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, a wide, gentle-grade path that is a favorite among bicyclists and horseback riders. The whole family will enjoy pedaling through scenic farmland and rock tunnels on this historic rail trail that dates back to pre-Civil War days.

Coopers Rock State Forest

Located right off I-68 outside Morgantown, Cooper’s Rock is a favorite recreation area for students at nearby West Virginia University. More than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails wind through the forest, revealing awe-inspiring views of the Cheat River Canyon. Treasure hunters can test their skills at locating up to 14 geocaches hidden within this park.

Twin Falls Resort State Park

The two waterfalls that Twin Falls is named after are at their prime this time of year, when spring rains and snow melt make for an impressive water flow. You can visit both Marsh Fork Falls and Black Fork Falls by hiking a 1.25-mile loop trail. Check them out in the early morning for a relaxing start to your day. Another must-see is the 1830s-era Pioneer Farm. If the caretakers are out and about, they’re happy to chat with guests and you can even visit with some of the friendly farm animals there. Stop by in the early evening to see the the sun dip below the hills and paint the farm in beautiful light.

Lost River State Park

A visit to Lost River is a lesson in history. The park, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is near the site of the 1756 Battle of Lost River that occurred during the French and Indian War. It’s also home to the restored Lee Cabin which belonged to Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, Revolutionary War general and father of Robert E. Lee. View a historic CCC stone shelter at the Cranny Crow overlook on top of Big Ridge Mountain, where on a clear day you can see into five counties!

Hawks Nest State Park

In the heart of the New River Gorge, Hawks Nest is the place to be for breathtaking scenery, from the stunning overlook off U.S. 60 to scenic views of the gorge from the lodge dining room. Get in touch with nature by hiking the park’s eight miles of trails. Nearby, Babcock State Park offers 20 more miles of trails and a picture-postcard worthy scene of Glade Creek Grist Mill.

Blackwater Falls State Park

The natural beauty of Blackwater Falls shines through year-round, from the magnificent cascade of the 57-foot Blackwater Falls to the stunning overlooks of Blackwater Canyon. You can experience this beauty after dark, too. This year, guests are invited to join the park naturalist on a Spring Equinox Night Hike, where they can marvel at the night sky and listen for the calls of nocturnal forest critters. Book a room at the lodge and then stick around for the Supermoon Hike the following night!

Need a spring getaway after a long winter? Extend your visit with an overnight stay and enjoy even more outdoor activities!

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