Editor’s Note: There are many more hiking trails to explore all over the Mountain State than those that appear on this list. This is a shortened list featuring 10 places across the state for visitors to enjoy the outdoors.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Mountain State is full of wild and wonderful places to enjoy the great outdoors on a hike.
Whether a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail in the state for everyone with a wide range of sites to see! From rolling hills and mountains, to waterfalls, wildflowers and majestic views, here are 10 places in West Virginia where you can try out the hiking trails.
Dolly Sods Wilderness:
Dolly Sods Wilderness boasts more than 17,000 acres of gorgeous landscapes with multiple hiking trails to enjoy! Located in the Monongahela National Forest, the Dolly Sods Wilderness is on a high altitude plateau and has unique landscapes compared to the rest of the Mountain State, with bogs and heath ecosystems you would be more likely to see in southern Canada.
With 47 miles of trails, Dolly Sods has plenty to explore. There are a couple restrictions, however. According to the USDA Forest Service website, groups visiting Dolly Sods Wilderness cannot exceed 10 people.
Visitors to Dolly Sods are also urged to stay on the existing trails and campsites and not to create new ones. This is because, starting in 1943, the area was used for mountain maneuver training during World War II, and some artillery and mortar shells shot into the area for practice may still exist and may be live. A crew did find 15 in 1997, exploding the live ones on site, but officials say there still could be some in the area.
For more on the trails at Dolly Sods, visit the USDA Forest Service website
New River Gorge
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve has plenty of trail systems for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike!
The trails in the New River Gorge area offer a variety of adventures, from exploring the natural beauty around Fayette County, such as the Fayetteville Trail, and stunning views of the Gorge and New River, such as the Long Point Trail and the Endless Wall Trail, to trails leading to ghost towns and old mining sites for the history fans, such as the Kaymoor Miners Trail.
Seneca Rocks is one of the most recognizable landmarks in West Virginia and is well known for its rock climbing opportunities and mountain views. However, the rocks also have trails for nature lovers looking for a less rigorous outdoor adventures. The trail is 2.6 miles round-trip with steps and switchbacks, gaining 700 feet in elevation. The trail starts at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.
While the trail can be steep in places, visitors of all ages can enjoy the trip! Along with breathtaking views of the area, hikers may also have the opportunity to spot large birds of prey, including bald eagles, flying near the North Fork River.
For additional outdoor fun, Seneca Caverns is located just down the road from Seneca Rocks, and families can take a one-hour guided tour through the well-lit paths of the caverns. For more on the caverns, visit their website.
Kanawha State Forest
There are more than 60 miles of trails throughout the Kanawha State Forest. The 14 walking trails range from easy hikes that anyone can enjoy such as the CCC Snipe Trail, to more strenuous routes for the experienced hiker, such as the moderate to difficult Overlook Rock Trail. Kanawha State Forest also has the paved Spotted Salamander Trail, which is wheelchair accessible and offers braille interpretive nature stations.
The park also has nine additional trails where biking is permitted that range from an easy to difficult ride.
Hiking isn’t all the Kanawha State Forest has to offer, from playgrounds and picnic areas for the whole family to shooting ranges, fishing and biking.
To learn more about the Kanawha State Forest’s trails and other activities, visit the West Virginia State Parks’ website.
Chief Logan State Park
Chief Logan State Park is located in Logan County, West Virginia, near the trailhead of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. While the Hatfield-McCoy Trails may be for ATVs, Chief Logan State Park has hiking trails for those who prefer exploring the great outdoors on foot.
The park includes 12 trails ranging from easy, such as the Cliffside Trail, to difficult, such as the six-mile Wilderness Trail. The park office also has maps for hikers to pick up before they hit the trails.
Along with the hiking trails, the 4,000-acre Chief Logan State Park also includes camping, lodging, conference facilities, as well as fishing, shooting and archery ranges, game courts and even mini golf! The park also boasts a regional interest and history museum featuring the culture and history of Logan County, including Chief Logan himself.
For more on Chief Logan State Park, visit the West Virginia State Parks’ website.
Beech Fork State Park
Located in Cabell County roughly 12 miles outside of Huntington and Barboursville, Beech Fork State Park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking trails!
The park includes eight trails ranging from easy to hard levels that hikers and bikers alike can enjoy. Easier trails include the Nature Trail and Physical Fitness Trail, while others such as the Coal Mine Trail and North Ridge Trail, can be a bit more difficult to explore.
Beech Fork State Park also includes opportunities for boating and fishing around the 720-acre lake as well as a swimming pool, conference space and disc golf, with golfing and hunting activities located not too far outside of the park.
For more information on Beech Fork State Park, visit the West Virginia State Parks’ website.
Twin Falls Resort State Park
Twin Falls Resort in Wyoming County features more than 25 miles of trails for hiking and biking in the great outdoors.
The 13 trails range in difficulty from easy, such as the Hemlock Trail, to difficult, such as the “moderate to difficult” Cliffside trail. Most of the trails at Twin Falls are listed as having a “moderate” difficulty level, such as the Falls Trail, which starts out on a path to Marsh Fork Falls and loops around to Black Fork Falls.
The park includes a lodge, cabins and camping sites, as well as a variety of additional outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy such as golf, picnic areas, playgrounds, tennis, volleyball and an outdoor amphitheater for special events. The park also includes a Pioneer Farm, to give visitors a glimpse of back in time at life on the frontier.
Hawks Nest State Park
Best known for its scenic overlook of the New River Gorge, Hawks Nest State Park also includes approximately eight miles of hiking trails for nature lovers to enjoy.
The trail system includes four easy-level trails, two moderate-level trails, and two trails listed as “moderate to difficult.” The park is also not far from the trail systems at New River Gorge.
Some additional attractions at Hawks Nest include boating, fishing, a seasonal swimming pool as well as nearby golfing, rafting and historical sites. The park also includes a lodge and “Tentrr” campsites for visitors to enjoy.
You can learn more about Hawks Nest State Park at the West Virginia State Parks website.
Tomlinson Run State Park
Situated near the tip of the Northern Panhandle on the outskirts of New Manchester, West Virginia, Tomlinson Run State Park has a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including six hiking trails with different difficulty levels.
Visitors can also enjoy picnics, disc golf, a swimming pool, volleyball courts, as well as boating that includes rowboat, kayak and paddleboat rentals. If you plan on staying more than one day, the park has camping sites, cabins and even yurts to stay in.
For more information on Tomlinson Run State Park, visit the West Virginia State Parks website.
Cacapon Resort State Park
Cacapon State Park is situated in a folded mountain ridge near Berkeley Springs in Morgan County, West Virginia. The park includes nine trails spanning a total of 23 miles for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.
The trails range from easy to moderate difficulty levels, some of which create a loop in the park. There are also hiking guides available at the park’s office.
The park includes cabins, a lodge and “Tentrr” campsites for those who wish to stay for more than one day. There are also opportunities to go fishing, biking, golfing, swimming, and even horseback riding at the park.
For more information on all of the hiking and activities at Cacapon Resort State Park, visit the West Virginia State Parks website.