Autumn is upon us — and that means different things for different people. Most of us will soon be indoors by the fire, trying to avoid the inevitable deep freeze. Others will be gearing up for hunting season. Some will be out foraging or reaping the last of the year’s harvest. But those of us who don’t want to endure the winter cold know this is the last best chance to get outdoors for a hike. Where are the best places for an adventure at this time of year?
West Virginia is home to a number of magnificent state parks that provide visitors with every kind of activity they could be seeking, so we advise you to start there. For example, Audra State Park near Middle Fork River is located in Southwestern Barbour County and Upshur County. The area is great for biking, camping, boating, fishing, geocaching, hiking, and an arctic swim if you’re into that sort of thing.
Babcock State Park is another gem with approximately 4,127 acres to explore. You’ll find it only 20 miles from New River Gorge. This is a great place for history buffs and photographers, but you can also go biking, boating, and hiking. Feel free to fish and hunt in specified areas during hunting season, but check in with state park officials to leave an itinerary. Also, there are cabins available for those who would like to stay longer.
Blackwater Falls State Park will be closed for renovations from November 2020 until the end of June 2021 — but it’s worth the wait. Located in Tucker County along the Allegheny Mountains, you can find one of the most scenic waterfalls anywhere in the state. Blackwater is 57 feet high. Common activities include biking, boating, camping, fishing, geocaching, hiking, and swimming. But there are also scenic train rides and snow sports — depending on the season, of course.
Kanawha State Forest isn’t far from Charleston, which makes it an easy place to visit on weekends — or even for an afternoon hike on weekdays. Birders and botanists love this location for its eclectic species. There are museums and historical sites located a short distance from the park. But inside you can do all the usual activities: bike, camp, fish, hike, and hunt.
There are nearly 4,000 acres of exploring to do in Lost River State Park, best known for Cranny Crow overlook — a point from which you can peer down at five state counties. There are a number of historical sites nearby, but most come for the view. There are plenty of trails where visitors can bike and hike or even go horseback riding.
Coronavirus has kept most of us cooped up at home for far too long, but those government-imposed restrictions shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the great outdoors — as long as you’re careful. Instead of looking for the nearest divorce attorney because the wife is sick of you, grab the kids and take one last camping or backpacking trip!