Choose your park Quest!
Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from when you were a kid? Explore the wilderness that way at North Bend State Park.
Nestled along a distinctive, horseshoe-shaped bend of the North Fork of the Hughes River, North Bend State Park in West Virginia has tons of opportunities for anyone who loves to be outside. Even better, the park has a unique build-your-own “Quest” package. Dream up the ideal North Bend experience, and Quest will make that dream a reality. Choose from the extensive list of recreational activities and lodging to put together your own custom-made outdoor adventure.
Pick a Homebase
Start with where to stay— from a room at the lodge to a cozy cabin to a riverside campsite under the stars. Or sign up for the Quest-guided Backcountry Camping adventure. Spend the day hiking to a rugged, remote corner of the park, then sleep out in the wild all night.
If hiking isn’t your thing, add a boat or bike to your overnight Quest, and pedal or paddle your way to a stay in the backcountry on the park’s 305-acre lake or along the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail.
Check out one of the customized Canoe/Kayak Quests to spend some quality time on the water. Newbies can rent a boat and opt for a short, 2-hour introductory paddling session, with instruction on basic techniques and safety tips.
Already a seasoned paddler with your own boat? Customize a longer canoe or kayak trip (build in time to fish some of the park’s sweet spots!), hone your skills with specialized paddling instruction or plan the ideal float trip, complete with shuttle service.
If your favorite way to explore nature is on 2 wheels, you will love a curated cycling adventure along the North Bend Rail Trail. Designed for anyone from singletrack riders to road-biking purists, the park has 16-mile, 45-mile and 62-mile roadie-style loops, or 20 miles of race-worthy single track.
Been meaning to try mountain biking? Didn’t have room to bring your bike? Grab a rental cycle from the park and sign up for the Mountain Bike Basics instructional course to learn trail safety, bicycle maintenance and essential riding maneuvers. Once you’ve mastered the basics, sharpen your skills on the trail with a 2-hour Mountain Bike Skills excursion for a hands-on introduction to critical skills like braking, cornering and tackling challenging terrain.
You have quite a few hiking options to choose from at North Bend. There are 14 hiking trails, with loops that range from family-friendly rambles that energetic tots can take on, to serene strolls for solitude-seeking wildlife watchers, to lengthy backcountry-style excursions for seasoned thru-hikers.
Novices should try the Quest Intro to Backpacking Course, with 2 hours of instruction devoted to the basics of trip planning, gear selection and tips for staying comfortable while traveling in the backcountry. When you are ready to hit the trail, opt for a short (2-mile), medium (2 to 4-mile) or long (6-10-mile) guided Quest hike for an insightful, expert-led excursions through the park.
If you had more relaxation in mind for your vacation, or need something to do on your rest day, don’t worry— they thought of that, too. Take a restorative yoga class indoors, or even better, outside in the fresh air, soaking up the park’s stunning surroundings as you practice.
You can sign up for gentle yoga, a Vinyasa power yoga, energizing flow or a class designed for seniors. Create a custom-built yoga retreat with classes handpicked by you, or gather family and friends for a rejuvenating weekend sure to energize mind and body. The park’s Quest program turns fresh-air adventures into so much more— giving you the chance to learn a new outdoor skill, recharge and reconnect with family and friends, and handpick the adventures of your choice.
Wilderness & nature
Besides hiking, North Bend’s 20 miles of trails are also perfect for sharpening your navigation skills. Begin with a brief, hour-long Intro to GPS course, covering the basics of using a handheld GPS unit.
For the old-schoolers, brush up on perhaps the most timeless and foolproof navigational skill— a compass. Sign up for the 1-hour introductory Compass Course, and then move on to the 90-minute Map & Compass Course, highlighting the techniques sure to save the day if or when your GPS battery dies. Cap off your navigational adventures with the hands-on, trail-based Land Navigation Course, and spend 4 hours exploring the park to perfect your newly-learned techniques in the great outdoors.
Nature-lovers and wildlife-watchers also have no shortage of options at North Bend. With the Nature Interpretation Quests, you can sign up for unique experiences like Nocturnal Walks, Tree Walks and Bird Walks. Gain essential outdoor knowledge with the Tracks & Scat and Venom & Poison programs, or get an insightful glimpse into the lives of some of the park’s most fascinating residents with the Beaver Habitat, Creek Critters and Insect Investigation programs.
This post was last updated on March 16, 2022