There’s a peaceful quiet in the outdoors. Yes, sometimes there is welcomed noise from kids riding bicycles, birds chirping, or the clang of a horseshoe hitting a peg, but for the most part, West Virginia’s state parks offer a respite in a world ever-changing and in fast forward.
Forty-nine areas make up the West Virginia State Park system. Ten of the 49 areas have lodges and restaurants, five of those with championship golf courses, and some with cabins and campgrounds. These are open year-round and are called: Pipestem, Twin Falls, Stonewall, Cacapon and Stonewall resorts; Chief Logan Lodge; Blackwater Falls, Hawks Nest, North Bend and Tygart Lake state parks. Each of these areas has unique character.
There are two lodges and two golf courses, but the real Pipestem is scenic and outdoor oriented. Hiking trails are great. There is horseback riding and seasonal fly-fishing packages are available. The campground is popular, as well as, the summer amphitheater. You can experience: five restaurants, RC racetrack, disc golf, swimming, bird watching and more, upon your stay here. Find yourself at Pipestem, www.pipestemresort.com.
Twin Falls and Blackwater Falls
Twin Falls is in the southern part of the Mountain State. Blackwater Falls is in the Potomac Highlands and near four-season, Canaan Valley. Both parks have experienced lodging expansions in the past few years. The Twin Falls Lodge addition is impressive. Blackwater Falls’ new cabins, all four-bedroom and upscale, are in high demand. With ‘falls’ in the park names, you can expect water features. While at Twin Falls, cascades are more seasonal; Blackwater Falls is nationally recognized. Fall in love with these parks at ww.blackwaterfalls.com or www.twinfallsresort.com.
If you go around the bend, you’ll come back again after a stay-over at this family-oriented state park. Near the North Bend Rail Trail and a 305-acre lake, this park is a short drive to Blennerhassett Island. The lodge, cabins and campgrounds are good. The food is excellent. This park has perhaps the largest list of weekend packages, events and discounts, in WV’s state park system. Learn more at www.northbendsp.com.
Cacapon and Hawks Nest
Cacapon, in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, is closer to the nation’s capitol than WV’s state capitol, while Hawks Nest in contrast, is nearer to Charleston WV. Both parks have outstanding overlooks and views. The observation deck at Cacapon looks out and across four different states. Hawks Nest’s overlook remains an iconic view of New River gorge.
It is a safe assumption that every state park and state forest in West Virginia has a personality. There is a loyal patronage to many parks. Folks that stop at brochure racks at West Virginia’s welcome centers tend to start at ‘Audra’ and go down the line, pointing and saying ‘been there, been there, love this place, been there…’ and so on. Favorite ‘been there’s’ include: Beartown, Droop Mountain, Blackwater Falls, Cedar Creek, Beech Fork and others. ‘Love this place’ parks, include: Holly River, Watoga and Babcock, and always, Cass Scenic Railroad state parks.
Visit every chance you get.