With nearly 50 state parks and forests, West Virginia offers something for everyone—from hiking and biking to scenic train rides and snow sports. As fall arrives, delivering crisp air and changing leaves, it’s time to explore the Mountain State from peak to valley.
New River Gorge
The New River flows from North Carolina into West Virginia, and has carved out quite a gorge along the way. A haven for whitewater rafters and kayakers, the river and gorge are among the most photogenic places in the state. A single-arch bridge spans the gorge and it’s tall enough to fit both the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument standing end-to-end underneath it. On the third Saturday in October, celebrate Bridge Day with BASE jumping and a fair that commemorates the completion of the bridge. Or, instead of parachuting from the bridge, you can join Bridge Walk for a stroll on the catwalk that hangs beneath where you’ll discover unforgettable views of the river below.
Blackwater Falls State Park
The tallest waterfall in the state, Blackwater Falls plunges 57 feet into Blackwater Canyon, making for one of the state’s most-photographed sights. Aptly named, the water is indeed dark, tinted by tannins from the hemlock and spruce needles that find their way into the water.
Southern West Virginia
More than 700 miles of off-highway ATV trails crisscross the mountains of Southern West Virginia. On the trail you’ll find scenic views and huge mountain vistas, but also steep, challenging hills, twisting trails, and little towns at every trailhead where you can grab a bite to eat. Bring your own ATV, motorcycle, or UTV and get ready to learn these hills like a native.
Three Otters Eco Retreat
This 14-acre spot has it all: Yurts, vintage trailers, a grand glamping tent, and even flying tree tents that hang suspended above the ground. Three Otters Eco Resort fronts the Potomac River and offers an ideal place to recharge and forget the world.
A steam train delivers you and your room–a refurbished caboose–to a secluded spur line and drops you off. Campfires, nature, and no cell service. What could be better?
Canaan Valley Resort
in one of West Virginia’s spectacular state parks, Canaan Valley offers a spa, golfing, sporting clays and archery, downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, and more. Use Canaan Valley Resort as your base camp for 18 miles of hiking trails through the mountainous backcountry, or hop on a scenic chairlift at the ski resort for quick access to the stunning vistas.
Twin Falls Resort State Park
Touted by many as the prettiest of the state parks, this resort has cabins, camping, and a 47-room lodge, plus 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, a pair of gorgeous waterfalls, and plenty of space to enjoy nature.
- by Erin Byers Murray