West Virginia - an outdoor recreation state
It’s no surprise that many visitors to West Virginia come from large metropolitan cities. With so many outdoor recreation options, West Virginia is the ideal urban-escape choice for many in the East. Approximately 80 percent of the state is covered by forest, which means every county offers quality locales to get out and enjoy nature whether it be low-impact and leisurely‚ high-adrenaline and intense‚ or somewhere in between.
West Virginia has more than 1.2 million acres of public land and that allows outdoor recreation enthusiasts time to spend an afternoon or an entire week enjoying West Virginia’s beauty without ever crossing the same point twice.
West Virginia has no East coast equal when it comes to whitewater rafting. More than two dozen outfitters are licensed by the state Division of Natural Resources to take tourists on the famed whitewater rivers in West Virginia. Those who prefer calm, mild float trips have several destinations to choose as do those who seek a rushing rapid and splash of water in the face. Many of these outfitters provide additional amenities like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and lodging so families and friends can enjoy the most of West Virginia’s outdoors over several days. The state has nearly 2,000 miles of mountain streams coursing through its land. The state’s rivers and lakes are unbeatable for beauty, history, excitement and accessibility‚ whether it’s by raft‚ boat‚ canoe or kayak.
Speaking of having the most of something‚ West Virginia is the rock-climbing destination for any east-of-the-Mississippi state. More than 1‚100 climbing routes are marked in the New River Gorge National Recreation Area and another 300-plus climbs wait on the 1‚000-foot sandstone face of picturesque Seneca Rocks.
If one prefers to move fast‚ then the 1‚000-plus miles of trails open to mountain bikes fills that void. Most of the 300 miles of the state’s converted rails-to-trails are set in wooded areas. The state’s two longest rail trails – North Bend Rail Trail and Greenbrier River Trail – are state parks. The state park system has few equals across the country with quality and diversity of outdoor offerings.
The State Park system is unparalleled when it comes to options for guests. With great spring and summer packages, weekend specials‚ four resort parks with golf courses and naturalists ready to share their knowledge of the parks‚ everyone can enjoy a getaway to the mountains.
If one wants to really move fast, then head for the southern coal counties to the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Trail System. Here‚ 550 miles of professionally designed mapped and marked trails await ATV and dirt bike enthusiasts. Land that was once mined and timbered is now home to the country's best and most scenic off-road trails.
Golfers will never find the cookie-cutter golf courses found in flat states. West Virginia’s numerous mountain courses both challenge and charm one’s ability. Many of the game’s legendary names like Nicklaus‚ Palmer‚ Snead‚ Dye and Jones have designed courses found in West Virginia. And then there’s Oakhurst Links in Greenbrier County, the first organized golf club in America where one still plays the course with hickory stick clubs and gutta purcha golf balls and the sheep maintain the greens.
West Virginia has great recreation opportunities underground. Commercial caves such as Lost World Caverns‚ Organ Cave‚ Smoke Hole Caverns and Seneca Caverns are underground attractions that amaze thousands of visitors every year. Outfitters in West Virginia are ready to custom plan your caving adventure through these and the hundreds of non-commercial caves that provide for challenging adventures.