Seven Places to Take in the Outdoors in West Virginia

By Patrick McAdams

The National Parks Service is celebrating its centennial in 2016. Here are seven scenic areas worth your time in West Virginia, one of the most beautiful landscapes in the eastern United States.

Famous Waters

West Virginia is home to a national river in New River Gorge and a national scenic river in Bluestone. New River Gorge National NEW RIVER GORGERiver, near Fayetteville, also houses the New River, which flows northbound through steep canyons and under one of the most visibly spectacular bridges in America. Visitors are encouraged to participate in whitewater rafting, biking, hiking or simply enjoying the 70,000 acres of protected outdoors with friends and family.

The Bluestone National Scenic River is a 10.5-mile section of protected land along the Bluestone River in southern West Virginia.web-Bluestone-near-Pipestem-02-square Named for its blue limestone, the river meanders through a 1,000-foot gorge.

The Gauley River in Summersville provides visitors with some of the most exciting whitewater experiences in the eastern United States.

Appalachian Heritage

There are two national heritage areas in West Virginia. The National Coal Heritage Area is a 5,300-square mile region in the southern part of the state that is shaped by our country’s relation to coal deposits.

Wheeling National Heritage Area, in the city of the same name, is the birthplace of the state of West Virginia during the Civil War. Visitors can admire the area’s interesting location along the Ohio River, quaint shops and riverfront park development for family fun.

History in Abundance

The state has two National Historical Parks. Harper’s Ferry is the community where the iconic Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.Harpers Ferry With trails, shops, museums and aging battlefields, the city has something for someone of every interest. There are ongoing historical events like John Brown’s Raid and Battlefield in a Box that take place here.

West Virginia is also home to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Chesapeake Bay’s watershed. These areas were used for shipping of lumber and provide many recreational and historical opportunities for visitors.