Best Outdoor Activities in West Virginia
OOne thing you can be sure of when you arrive in West Virginia, you’ll want to get there ASAP. With its “almost heavenly” mountain lifestyle in the heart of Appalachia, and with stunning scenery and lush forests, lakes and rivers to explore, West Virginia is blessed with more open spaces than meets the eye. seems fair.
You’ll find it hard to disagree with any of the sentiments immortalized in John Denver’s classic song, Take Me Home, Country Roads. If you love the great outdoors, majestic natural landscapes and outdoor activities ranging from hiking and rock climbing to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, kayaking and rafting, you will definitely feel at home in West Virginia. . Here are some of its strengths.
New River Gorge National Park and Reserve
America’s newest national park covers 70,000 lush acres of West Virginia, crossed by the world’s second-oldest river (called the New River), whose deep, ancient course has carved out a multitude of habitats for a flora and various fauna. At its heart is the New River Gorge, the deepest and longest in Appalachia. Nearby Grandview, Diamond Point and Long Point offer unparalleled vistas over the gorge and deep into the Appalachian mountain forests, which are among the oldest and most diverse ecosystems in the world.
You can come here to bask in front of this rolling river, or you can be a white water junkie, a hiker with wilderness in your eyes, a rock climber or a birdwatcher in search of the winged wonders that make this paradise their natural habitat – the list of species to spot is huge.
Elsewhere you can soak up the atmosphere of old frontier towns like Thurmond, or unwind after a day in the great outdoors at one of the brilliant local restaurants in nearby Fayetteville – you’ll soon discover it’s paradise all around here.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry is also at the confluence of history – the flashpoint that sparked the American Civil War, around John Brown’s abolitionist campaign against slavery, took place in Harper’s Ferry in 1859.
There are 22 miles of trails to explore, taking you to views of Jefferson Rock and the surrounding mountains and rivers on the Appalachian Trail at Camp Hill, as well as the streets and squares of historic Lower Town, where you You can step back to the 19th century at Fort John Brown, the White Hall Tavern, the Blacksmith’s Shop and the Haberdashery.
While Appalachia is rich in natural wonders, West Virginia also manages to be spectacular below the surface. Intrepid cavers can choose from a number of subterranean wonders across the state – the otherworldly Seneca Caverns, the Lost World Caverns with their stalactite ‘Snowy Chandelier’, or the Smoke Hole Caverns, once used by the Seneca Indians as well as by other modern-day moonshiners. And while a salt store, coal mine, and Cold War bunker are also on the cards, you might prefer to pamper yourself at the Salt Cave & Spa in White Sulfur Springs.
The winter season transforms West Virginia into a dazzling outdoor playground, no more so than in Snowshoe Mountain Village, where the indoor entertainment is as varied as the outdoor attractions. For a wilder winter experience, Blackwater Falls State Park has over 10 miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, plus a quarter-mile toboggan run and the majesty of a 57 foot waterfall freezing in a curtain of ice. framed by snow-capped conifers.
West Virginia is a state for all seasons – with heartwarming bursts of color in the fall (smart visitors use the West Virginia fall foliage map to hunt for the prettiest) and wildflower trails and a flower boom across the forested mountain state in the spring.
But summer, which conjures up images of sunny, misty days, warm mountain nights, lush forest trails and long, lazy evenings by calm, sparkling lakes, is enveloped in its own magic. Stop at the 2,700 acres of water and 65 miles of Lake Summersville shoreline for a deep tissue rest and rest; embark on a farm-to-table tour of the state, passing small towns, farmers markets, and working farms; roam the off-road mountain trails for a truly wild 4×4 adventure; or let the train take over on a range of scenic steam routes, including the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railway and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Excursion Train.
Whatever the season, immersing yourself in the wonders of West Virginia is as close to heaven as it gets.
For more information visit wvtourism.com