Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in West Virginia

Inspiration comes easy in a place as beautiful as West Virginia. The world has been taking notice of what the great West Virginia outdoors has to offer. This great land has been our backyard for decades, so we’ve been able to enjoy some of the most amazing outdoor destinations that the state has to offer.

1. Bridge Day at the New River Gorge Bridge

For generations parents have been asking the question, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” Once a year, a group of BASE jumping enthusiasts get together at the New River Gorge Bridge to prove that might not be such a bad idea after all. Bridge Day is a one-day festival open to the public, but only experienced skydivers and BASE jumpers can actually strap on a parachute. However, the event offers a wide variety of ways for spectators to take in the magnificent New River Gorge—from a 5K race to bridge walk tours beneath the bridge where guests are harnessed in with safety line in order to get the best possible views.

2. Get in over your head at the Lost World Caverns

Cave exploration is a serious business with serious consequences. Very few people get to experience what it’s like to trek through endless stretches of a dark cavern—no cell service, no natural light, and lots of fascinating underground wildlife. The Lost Caverns in Lewisburg have been giving guests this experience for decades, with expert guides leading the general public through a half-mile loop at 120 feet below the ground.

3. Plow through the rugged terrain of Cheat Mountain

Nestled between the Cheat and Back Allegheny mountains, Snowshoe Mountain Resort has become a household name for great skiing and snowboarding. During the winter months, the resort offers a healthy mix of beginner and expert slopes that make it the perfect family adventure. Great restaurants, comfortable lodging, and endless amenities are available at the Snowshoe Village, so once you’ve come down the mountain, you’ll be greeted with a warm room, warm food, and a full night of entertainment ahead of you.

4. Get a birds-eye view at the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory

In the August through November months, a visit to the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory atop Peters Mountain is a must. Once a fire tower used to monitor the Jefferson National Forest, the structure now serves as the best spot in West Virginia to watch birds of prey migrate across the lush landscape. Hawks, eagles, and falcons swoop through the sky much to onlookers enjoyment. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars and your hiking boots. The observatory sits 3,800 feet above sea level, and the only way to get there is by foot.

5. Tackle the Gauley River Rapids

Fans of whitewater rafting already know about Gauley River. Regarded as one of the best rafting spots in the world, thrill seekers of all experience levels can take part in the fast-paced, white-knuckle action. For the best possible conditions, book your experience between the months of September and October with one of the many companies offering rentals and guided trips through the rapids. 

6. Leave your mark on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails

You’ll be surrounded by serene natural beauty, but there’s nothing peaceful about the Hatfield-McCoy trails. Considered by some as the best motorized trail system in America, visitors should come prepared for ATV action like none other. Boasting more than 700 miles of rugged, ridable terrain, there is no shortage of places to push you and your machine to the limit. And, with plenty of rental companies servicing visitors to the trails, you don’t need to be an ATV owner to blaze a trail deep in the West Virginia woods.

7. Ride the trails of North Fork Mountain

Mountain biking enthusiasts from all over the world come to ride the much-lauded North Fork Mountain trail, which the International Mountain Bicycling Association describes as “Epic.” This 23-mile stretch through Seneca Rocks provides riders with breathtaking views of the Potomac River Valley and seamlessly mixes technical terrain with adrenaline-inducing downhill sprints. It’s advised that riders of the trail have some previous mountain biking experience, so come prepared for a challenging adventure.

8. Watch the Potomac and Shenandoah collide from the magnificent Jefferson Rock

Nothing screams “almost heaven” more than the sight of the Potomac and all-so-famous Shenandoah converging into the lush West Virginian landscape. Located in Harper’s Ferry National Park, Jefferson Rock is the ideal location to take in this picturesque sight for yourself.

9. Observe the effortless beauty of Elakala Falls

You may not know it by name, but you’ve seen Elakala Falls a time or two. This iconic waterfall is the poster child for natural beauty, and whether or not you can remember where or when, you’ve likely seen picture or video of it at least once in your life. Experience this truly unique natural site for yourself at the Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, along with all the other magnificent cascades in the Shay Run.

10. Hang out at the heavily-acclaimed Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks is most known for its popularity among the rock climbing community, but to just leave it at that would be selling it short. Enjoy a hike up to the observation platform, pack a picnic for a fun family outing, or bring the fishing poles along for some catch-and-release river fishing. Seneca continues to bring outdoors-loving visitors to the vast Monongahela National Forest, and perhaps there’s no better place to truly take advantage off all that the great West Virginia landscape has to offer.

There you have it. West Virginia is a treasure trove of outdoor activities. It may be hard to choose which one to experience first, but with the beautiful West Virginia landscape, you can’t go wrong.

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