January 2009 Issue
West Virginia State Parks
While it may be tempting to hide away at home, make sure to get out and explore this winter.
Jennifer Rogers and Kelly Curran
Winter weather, though often considered bleak, can also be incredibly beautiful. Snow-covered walking trails, ice-topped lakes and sparkling streams greet visitors at West Virginia’s many state parks, the truest testaments to the beauty of Appalachia. The forests and unspoiled, open acreage of West Virginia provide myriad options for those looking for an outdoor winter escape.
There are hiking trails at nearly every state park, and the dazzling scenery provides for excellent views — perfect spots for amateur photographers. For those looking for a more ambitious hike, Greenbrier River Trail and North Bend Rail Trail each boasts 72 miles of winter scenery.
North Bend State Park will host Winter Wonderland Weekend Jan. 16–18. This event features plenty of ways to relax, spend time with the family and escape the bustle of everyday life (call 304/658-5212 for reservations and more information).
Those searching for more secluded weekend getaways can find cabins at Bluestone State Park, and cabin, cottage and caboose rentals at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The 1940s-era steel Caboose #311 includes a set of bunk beds, a daybed and two cupola seats that convert into youth beds that give youngsters a “sleeping under the stars” experience.
Finally, for those with an adventurous side, geocaching is the newest, technology-based way to enjoy the great outdoors. Participants use GPS systems to navigate the parks and search for the cache — usually a small container with items inside. This entertaining activity can be experienced at a number of state parks, including Audra State Park, Chief Logan State Park and Beech Fork State Park.
For more information, visit www.wvstateparks.com