National Parks in West Virginia

March 10, 2023

national parks in West Virginia

If you love the outdoors and history, there are some incredible national parks in West Virginia that will make your trip one to remember. Whether you want to go for a hike, raft or rock climb, there is something for everyone here!

The state of West Virginia has some of the most breathtaking scenic areas in the country. Check out these national parks in West Virginia to experience nature like never before!

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park features an extraordinary landscape, quaint streets, and historic sites to explore. The area was a transportation hub 1800-1860, a strategic location during the Civil War, and a thriving industrial center based on water power in the late 1800s.

The park is home to the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the town of Harpers Ferry as its halfway point between Georgia and Maine. It also features a variety of historical exhibits, ranger-led tours, and hiking trails.

During the American Civil War, Harpers Ferry changed hands eight times. It was the site of abolitionist John Brown's 1859 raid, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the war, and one of the earliest integrated schools in the nation.

Today, Harpers Ferry remains an important site of national history. Visitors can walk the C and O Canal Towpath (West), bike or hike on Maryland Heights, explore wartime Harpers Ferry at Civil War and 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry exhibits, and learn about slavery through interpretive living history programs at John Brown's Fort.

Valley Falls State Park

Valley Falls State Park, located a few miles from Fairmont and Grafton in West Virginia, is a beautiful day use spot with plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. It is also home to one of the state’s most popular waterfalls, which spans 135 miles of the Tygart Valley River and offers a stunning backdrop for photographers.

The falls are created by the rushing waters of the Tygart Valley River, which runs through Marion and Taylor counties. This picturesque river gorge features a series of foaming waterfalls that flow from the cap of a prevalent rock formation known as Connoquenessing Sandstone.

Valley Falls State Park is a favorite among locals and tourists, who flock to the area for its beautiful scenery and variety of fun activities. Hiking and cycling are the most popular activities, but you can also fish, picnic and whitewater raft here.

Coopers Rock State Forest

One of West Virginia's most popular state parks, Coopers Rock State Forest spans parts of Monongalia and Preston counties. It boasts iconic Appalachian vistas, a variety of outdoor pursuits and a rich history.

The 12,747-acre forest protects mountainous woodland along the Chestnut Ridge north of the Cheat River near Morgantown, WV. It is a prime destination for hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting in the canyon section of the Cheat River.

It also features a canopy tour, which is great for ziplining pros and beginners alike. It is a great way to enjoy the scenic views while learning fun facts about the forest.

The forest's main attraction, Coopers Rock Overlook, is a popular site for professional and family photographers as well as predatory bird watchers during the fall foliage season. It is also a great spot for viewing the canyon section of the Cheat River and Cheat Lake.

New River Gorge National Park

A swatch of mountainous wilderness, raging rivers, and steep cliffs, the New River Gorge is an outdoor recreationalist's dream. It's been a prime spot for rock climbing and whitewater rafting since it received national park designation in 1978.

While many travelers are familiar with this West Virginia attraction, it's becoming the 63rd national park and is likely to draw a significant increase in visitorship once it is officially protected. Congress has approved a bill that will make the New Gorge an official national park and preserve.

The park will encompass 72,186 acres. Some 65,000 acres will be designated for preservation to allow backcountry hunting, while 7,000 more are already developed with trailheads and visitor centers.

There are several hiking trails in the area, ranging from short to long (and often connecting). Hiking is especially popular during fall, as there is a longer display of colorful foliage in the forests.


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