National Trails Day is a national event promoted by the American Hiking Society. West Virginia’s state parks joins other states in inviting visitors and guests to take a walk, hike or stroll or to ride a bike on June 2, National Trails Day.
“Visiting a state park or state forest on June 2 should include a short or long hike on a trail,” said Sissie Summers, programming services administrator with West Virginia’s state parks. “Parks encourage hiking or a leisurely walk on parks and forests as part of the nationwide program. Folks are asked to record the length of the walk or hike taken on June 2 and send that information to our central park office.”
Log cards are available at all state park and state forest offices for use and are available online at www.wvstateparks.com under “special notices.” Completed mileage reports submitted will receive a Trails Day patch and certificate of completion. Log cards can be turned in at the park or forest or mailed.
“Hiking on National Trails Day can be an individual pursuit or individuals may participate in a scheduled hike at the state park or forest,” Summers said. “We recognize that some people prefer self-guided walks, while others appreciate having a park naturalist guiding the walks.” Parks and Forest offering a led hike or walk or a broader trails program include:
Hike Across West Virginia at Cacapon State Park
Hike a short cross-section in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle and essentially walk across the state along a 10-mile stretch across the ridge of Cacapon Mountain. This activity is on Saturday, June 2, and starts from the nature center at 9 a.m. The hike is moderate to strenuous and hikers should bring water and snacks. Appropriate footwear is required. For activities and hike information, contact Renee Fincham, naturalist, at 304-258-1022 or visit www.cacaponresort.com
Trails Day Hike at Watters Smith Memorial State Park
A guided hike on June 2 is scheduled at Watters Smith State Park and will be led by Superintendent Andy Bennett. Bennett, an avid birder, celebrates National Trails Day with a guided bird walk that begins at 8 a.m. “We start from the activity building and look for song birds and birds of prey,” said Bennett. The activity is free of charge. Attendees should bring binoculars and wear sturdy hiking or walking shoes. Following the hike, refreshments and prizes will be given away. Watters Smith State Park is located at Lost Creek in Harrison County and is a day-use area with a focus on heritage farming and natural history. The park website is www.wattersmithstateparks.com
Twin Falls Trail Work for National Trails Day
Trails Day at Twin Falls State Parks includes trail maintenance and cleanup in various spots throughout the park, according to Bryan Danford, park naturalist. “This is a great way to see a great park in southern West Virginia and feel a sense of accomplishment.” Trail maintenance begins at 9 a.m. at the ball field area. “At 1 p.m. there will be a plant identification and Tracking 101 programs.” Following these hands-on programs will be a guided hike on Horsepen Knob, as well as, a guided bike ride on different trails in the park. It is strongly recommended participants bring work gloves, water, and a sack lunch. There will be some water and snacks provided throughout the day. For any questions or for more information, email Bryan Danford at [email protected] or call 304-294-4000. Twin Falls’ website is www.twinfallsresort.com.
Canyon Rim Center Starting Point
Jim Phillips, Pipestem State Park naturalist, will lead a hike beginning at 10 a.m. starting from the Canyon Rim Center at Pipestem Resort. “We’ll do some plant and bird identification and enjoy about one-and-a-half hours outdoors exploring nature.” The hike will be along the Country Roads Walk or the Bluestone River if the tram is available. For hiking and trail information at Pipestem State Park visit www.pipestemresort.com or call 304-466-1800 Ext 344.
Family Trails Day at North Bend State Park
The most extensive National Trails Day weekend program is at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County. Nature Center visits, bird walks, sponsored races, rides and dinners by area associations and friends of North Bend are planned. “National Trails Day is a day that promotes hiking. We are adding other activities to promote additional outdoor recreation,” said Ken Zebo, park naturalist at North Bend.
Other activities over the June 1-3 weekend include a “Marvelous Mammal Hike” at 3:30 p.m., a Luminary Hike at 8 p.m. and an 8:30 p.m. Night Hike on Friday, June 1. June 2 features a bird walk at 9:30 a.m. and an Overlook Trail Hike beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday includes a noon start time for “Race Around the Bend,” a West Virginia Mountain Bike Association point series race with prizes. There is an entrance fee for this activity. Race Around the Bend is sponsored by the North Bend State Park Foundation along with the River Valley Mountain Bike Association.
A complete list of events and activities at North Bend is posted at www.northbendsp.com under Events tab or call North Bend State Park at 304-643-2931.
West Virginia’s state park system maintains more than 800 miles of hiking trails. Scheduled hikes and hiking trails maintained by state operated parks and forests are open to the public without charge. Trails range from easy walks such as the Gentle Trail at Blackwater Falls or the Twin Oaks Trail at Twin Falls Resort to mountainous trails at Holly River or Coopers Rock State Forest. The West Virginia state park system encourages outdoor activities as part of its mission statement.