CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Guided hikes in nine state parks and natural areas in West Virginia are being hosted on January 1, 2024, as part of a nationwide outdoor recreation initiative instituted by America's State Parks.
Hailing the opportunity to start the new year with an outdoor adventure, Brett McMillion, director of the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources, said he's looking forward to increased exploration of West Virginia.
"I’m looking forward to a year filled with exploration, appreciation for our great outdoors, and endless adventures in Almost Heaven," McMillion said.
"These hikes are a fantastic opportunity to start a new tradition with friends and family. ”
Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather, to wear appropriate footwear, and to bring water and a snack. While trekking poles or a walking stick are helpful, they are not required. Hikers should arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time.
Blackwater Falls State Park
10:30 a.m. / Meet in the Blackwater Falls Lodge lobby and explore sections of three park trails with naturalist Paulita Cousin. Experience the beauty of the forest with interpretive stops along the way. Leashed dogs are welcome. The hike is approximately two miles or 90 minutes.
Bluestone State Park
10 a.m. / Mary Ingles Trail - Meet park naturalist Jonathan Lipscomb at the Pits parking area for an easy hike along this scenic and historic trail. The trail is an out-and-back trail that travels four miles.
1 p.m. / Eagle Point Trail - Meet park naturalist Jonathan Lipscomb at the overlook on the park road between the office and WV-20. The challenging hike ascends one mile to an overlook of the New and Bluestone rivers. The hike is not recommended for pets and young children. Hiking boots are recommended.
Cacapon Resort State Park
10 a.m. / Meet park naturalists Valerie Chaney and Allen Miller at the nature center for a brisk wintry walk. Sturdy shoes, water, and a snack are recommended.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
1 p.m. / Meet at the Cass visitor’s center to set out for a three-mile round on the Greenbrier River Trail. Good walking shoes or boots and layers of wear for winter walking are recommended.
Cedar Creek State Park
10 a.m. / Hikers should report to the barn building near the campground entrance for a one-mile, one-hour trek on the Two-Run Trail to the North Boundary Trail. The terrain is moderately challenging with hill sections. Warm clothes and boots are recommended.
Forks-of-Coal Natural Area
Noon / Meet at the Claudia Workman Wildlife Education Center to explore one of the state's newest trail networks. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided after the hike.
Kanawha State Forest
1 p.m. / Meet at the headquarters for an easy walk on the Salamander Trail, a 0.3-mile wheelchair-accessible interpretive loop.
1 p.m. / Meet at the headquarters for a two-mile, easy-to-moderately challenging hike on the CCC Snipe Trail and Shrewsbury Hollow Road.
1 p.m. / Meet at the headquarters for a moderately challenging three-mile hike through old-growth forest on the Wall Fork or Hoffman Hollow interpretive trails.
1 p.m. / Meet at the headquarters for a two-mile moderate-to-difficult hike to Overlook Rock.
1 p.m. / Meet at the headquarters for a moderate-to-difficult forest loop hike of approximately six miles along Davis Creek, Middle Ridge, Mossy Rock, and CCC Snipe trails.
Pipestem Resort State Park
1 p.m. / This easy hike begins at the park golf course pro shop and follows the cart path from holes one through nine.
Tygart Lake State Park
10 a.m. / Meet at the park campground and join naturalist Jacob Jackson for a two-mile round trip hike on the School Bus Loop Trail.
West Virginia’s state parks and forests are vacation destinations for more than seven million visitors annually. The state park system includes 36 parks, nine forests, and three rail trails. The W.Va. Division of Natural Resources, a division of the W.Va. Department of Commerce, manages the parks. Find out more at WVStateParks.com.
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