by Rissa Gatdula-Lumontad
If you are looking to experience outdoor adventure, then West Virginia may be the destination for you. “The Mountain State,” situated in the Appalachian region in the Southern U.S., is known as the outdoor recreation capital of the East. It is truly a natural playground and offers a variety of activities for the adventurous traveler. In addition, it has historical attractions and plenty of entertainment for those times you’re not venturing outdoors. The visitor to West Virginia will find extraordinary opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities.
1. Hiking – With part of the popular Appalachian Trail located in West Virginia, the state offers rich hiking opportunities. Aside from the scenic trails of the national parks system, there are also historic rail trails like the Greenbrier River and North Bend. Hikers can also experience the backcountry within the Monongahela National Forest.
2. Whitewater Rafting – West Virginia’s Gauley is one of the best whitewater runs in the world and offers exhilarating thrills and spectacular views. For the less adventurous, there are the Eastern Panhandle, the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers which offer easy, playful rapids.
Other exciting runs are found in the New River, one of the most popular runs in the U.S., the Cheat and the Tygart.
3. Camping – Campgrounds abound throughout the state. The camper can choose to relax any time of the year in a luxury RV resort or rough it during camping season at a tent site.
4. Mountain Biking – Biking enthusiasts will find trails aplenty with picturesque scenery on assorted terrain in this world class mountain biking destination. Noteworthy are the trails in Monongahela National Forest and the Greenbrier River.
5. ATV, Motorcyle or UTV Riding – If you prefer to go motorized, the Hatfield & McCoy Trails offer the best ATV, Motorcycle or UTV trails in the East. There are currently six trail systems of different challenge levels.
6. Hunting – The Mountain State’s tradition of hunting is also a big attraction. Amateur hunters from eight years old to the avid big game hunters will find West Virginia a hunter’s paradise. Non-resident hunters are lured by the extensive public land open to hunting, the reasonable license fees and the wide variety of seasons.
7. Skiing – For vacationers during the snow season, skiing is a great option. As with hiking, mountain biking and ATV trails, West Virginia also has a wide range of trails to suit from beginner to expert. Four resorts, Snowshoe, Canaan Valley, Timberline and Winterplace even offer night skiing.
8. Fishing – The state has over 20,000 miles of streams and at least 100 public lakes making it ideal for fishing year-round with an open season for trout. Anglers will delight in the variety of fish. Shoreline fishing, boat launching and float trips are accessible and some of the best fly fishing in the East can also be found here.
One-day licenses for out-of-state visitors are inexpensive and children under 15 fish for free.
9. Golf – West Virginia boasts about 100 courses that offer challenging greens with spectacular views.
Visitors may also engage in horseback-riding, caving, rock climbing, boating and much more for you to commune with nature.