Those who know about long-distance hiking will always look forward to the next opportunity for a grand adventure. West Virginia is a small state, but it’s best known for its great stretches of wilderness — and that means great hiking, biking, birding, fishing, etc. Do you have what it takes to go on a long-distance backpacking trip? Here are some of the trails that run through West Virginia.
- The Allegheny Trail runs for 330 miles along the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia. Hikers can start in the south at an intersection with the legendary Appalachian Trail on the border with Virginia, or they can start in the north at the Mason-Dixon line on the Pennsylvania border. Those who wish to hike farther can easily hop onto the AT.
- The Appalachian Trail is a nearly 2200-mile footpath from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is famed worldwide and most thru-hikers start on the AT. This trail is known for its unique culture: shelters can be found at regular intervals along the trail, and most have “privies” where hikers can stop for a bathroom break. Hikers communicate with each other and caretakers through journals found at the various shelters. Only a few miles are located inside West Virginia.
- The American Discovery Trail extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and runs for a whopping 6,800 miles end-to-end including a north/south loop. 288 miles of the trail are located in West Virginia, but it goes through 14 other states as well. The trail is a work in progress and has yet to be completed, but the caretakers would like to keep the trail completely off-road by the time it’s finished.
- The Tuscarora Trail falls parallel to the Appalachian Trail for about 252 miles in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The southern sections begin near Skyline Drive on the AT, while the northern terminus can be found on Blue Mountain at a junction with the Appalachian Trail.
- For those looking for a much shorter adventure, the Warrior Trail is a 67-mile path found in Moundsville, West Virginia. It was named for the Native Americans who walked it for at least 5,000 years before European settlers upset the natural order. 22 miles of the trail run through West Virginia, while the rest will take wanderers into Pennsylvania, where the trail terminates in Greensboro.