How to celebrate National Park Service Birthday

The National Park Service is celebrating its 103rd birthday this year. There’s no better way to celebrate our nation’s beautiful national parks and lands than visiting these spots in Almost Heaven:

Appalachian Trail

Four miles of the Appalachian Trail run through West Virginia near Harpers Ferry, the site of John Brown’s Raid and other Civil War battles. The trail runs continues in northbound in Maryland and southbound in Virginia. While you’re there, visit the historic town’s shops and restaurants.

Bluestone National Scenic River

The Bluestone National Scenic River is located between Hinton and Athens, and easily accessed through Bluestone State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park. From each park, you can view the river from overlooks or trails. If you’re up for a thrill, view the river by aerial tram at Pipestem.

National Coal Heritage Area

The National Coal Heritage Area encompasses 13 counties and 5300 square miles in southern West Virginia. Take a drive through the Coal Heritage Trail and see 187 miles of scenic industrial heritage, stop in the old coal towns or visit the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

Gauley River National Recreation Area

In 1988, the Gauley River National Recreation Area was created to protect the 25 miles of Gauley River and 5 miles of the Meadow River. The area offers picnicking, camping, hunting, fishing and whitewater rafting. Gauley Season begins Sept. 6.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve covers more than 70 thousand acres of land along the New River. The area offers hiking, climbing, fishing, biking, camping and whitewater rafting opportunities. Visit the Canyom Rim Visitor Center in Lansing, and enjoy the overlook to the New River Gorge Bridge. Travel further and visit seasonal welcome centers in Thurmond and Grandview.

Wheeling National Heritage Area

Visit the Wheeling National Heritage Area, the birthplace of West Virginia. Visit the historic Capitol Theatre, opened in Wheeling in 1928, or dig deeper into West Virginia history at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. While you’re in town, drive on the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, built in 1849.

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This post was last updated on March 18, 2022