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National Parks

Six national parks dot the landscape of West Virginia. These parks, designated by the federal government, are scenic or historically significant areas in West Virginia that are created to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife of the region. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a quaint, heritage community at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. A second National Historic Park, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, serves to preserve America’s early transportation history. And the nearby Appalachian Trail, designated a National Scenic Trail, is a 2,180+ mile long hiking trail that cuts through West Virginia.

The Gauley River, 25 miles of whitewater with several class V+ rapids, has been designated as a National Recreation Area, and the neighboring New River Gorge, a National River, is one of the oldest rivers on the continent and full of rugged rapids that flow north through deep canyons. Further south, the Bluestone National Scenic River flows through an ancient gorge in Athens, Pipestem and Hinton.

Two National Heritage Areas have been distinguished in West Virginia: The 5,300-square-mile National Coal Heritage Area in the southern part of the state that was shaped by the history of coal deposits and the Wheeling National Heritage Area, which displays Victorian architecture, waterfront development and serves as the birthplace of the state during the Civil War.

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National Forest

Located in the North-Central highlands of West Virginia, the Monongahela National Forest combines breathtaking vistas, calming country roads and cliffside waterfalls to create a special retreat nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. Established in 1920, the Monongahela National Forest covers nearly 1 million acres and is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the country – with elevations ranging from just under 1,000 feet up to the highest point in the state at 4,863 feet above sea level. Some of the state’s most unique points are located within the Monongahela National Forest: the Tuscarora quartzite fins of Seneca Rocks, the ridge of North Fork Mountain, the high-altitude plateau of Dolly Sods Wilderness, the bog wetlands of Cranberry Glades and the highest point in the state, Spruce Knob. The Monongahela National Forest provides timber, water, minerals and recreational opportunities with 23 campgrounds and 800-plus miles of trails with numerous lakes and rivers; the remote landscape is an ideal place for hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, boating, tubing and rock climbing. 

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State Parks

Dozens of state parks line the mountains of West Virginia, offering four-season recreation, affordable accommodations and memories for a lifetime. These state parks showcase the serene beauty of the Mountain State with endless opportunities to explore the trails, scenic overlooks, deep valleys and sprawling meadows. From hiking and geocaching to scenic train rides and snow sports, state parks are the perfect spot for romantic getaways, affordable family fun and solo travels. Book your overnight stay now at a variety of cabins, lodges or camping sites at parks around the state.

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Mountain Lakes

Fresh, crystal-clear mountain lakes make the perfect backdrop for swimming, skiing, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and scuba diving. With nearly 20 lakes spanning the state, there’s no shortage of family fun on the water. From the spectacular cliffs in Summersville Lake to the 10-mile long Tygart Lake, visitors can enjoy a day in the sun or lakeside relaxation – all in Almost Heaven.

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