West Virginia’s state parks extend an invitation to take a hike to help celebrate The American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day event. This year the national promotion is set for Saturday, June 1, 2013.
“Public parks, organizations and outdoor enthusiasts recognize walking and hiking as healthy lifestyle activity. In West Virginia, the state park system supports the country’s largest celebration of trails by inviting anyone to come out and walk a trail,” said Sissie Summers, programming services coordinator. “We will offer several guided walks and hikes, but we’ve discovered there are many visitors who prefer setting their own pace and trail selection, and they are encouraged to participate too.”
Guided hikes have the added benefit of a naturalist or leader knowledgeable about the area, trails and natural aspects of a trail contributing to the hiking experience, according to Summers. “Regardless of whether you join in a planned hike or venture out on your own, the first day of June in 2013 is an appropriate opportunity to take a walk or a hike, preferably at a West Virginia state park.”
Hikers and walkers on June 1 are encouraged to keep a mileage log, available online at www.wvstateparks.com under Special Notices. Postcard-style log sheets also are available at state park offices or visitor centers to pick up on June 1. Information is recorded and submitted by the hiker and mailed to the central state park office. A participation certificate and trails patch is mailed to participants after June 30.
State parks offering guided hikes on June 1, 2013 include:
Cacapon Resort State Park (Morgan County) www.cacaponresort.com
The 10-mile hike across the Ridge of Cacapon Mountain begins at 9 a.m. at the Cacapon Nature Center. After a moderate start, the trek is fairly level hiking on the Fire Trail and opens into a wonderful view shed. A shuttle is provided for the return. An advance call to participate is requested. Hikers should wear appropriate hiking shoes or boots (no flip-flops) and are encouraged to bring water and snacks. Guide: Renee Fincham, naturalist. 304-258-1022 or email [email protected] to register.
North Bend State Park (Ritchie County) www.northbendsp.com
Multiple hiking activities are part of Family Trails Weekend at this popular destination. A full weekend schedule is posted on www.northbendsp.com that includes Friday hikes as well as many Saturday activities such as kayak demonstrations, area tours, scavenger hunt, fishing derby, and mountain bike races. Highlighted hikes and walks on June 1 include: a 9 a.m. bird walk with naturalist Ken Zebo departing from the lodge; 1:30 p.m. Tunnel 13 Hike on the North Bend Rail Trail; a herp hunt at 4 p.m.; and night hike at 9 p.m., all beginning at the Nature Center. Guide: Ken Zebo, naturalist. 304-643-2931
Pipestem State Park (Summers County) www.pipestemresort.com
Two hikes in one along the Bluestone River begin at 10 a.m. at Mountain Creek Lodge. Access to Mountain Creek Lodge is by aerial tramway and the ride cost is $2. Allow 15 minutes for the tram ride down.
The shorter hike is The National Park Service Bluestone River Walk, which is about two miles. The 10-mile hike is the annual Bluestone Turnpike Hike that ends at Bluestone State Park with a shuttle service back to Pipestem. At the turn-around point on the River Walk, those wishing to make the longer hike will continue along the old Bluestone turnpike for 10 miles to Bluestone State Park. Hikers are encouraged to carry water and snacks and to wear proper foot wear. Flip flops and open toes shoes are discouraged. Registration is requested to plan in advance for shuttle services.
To participate in the River Walk (the shorter hike) call 304-466-0417 or email [email protected] with the National Park Service. To take the 10-mile Bluestone Turnpike Hike, contact Jim Phillips by calling 304-466-1800 extension 344 or stop by the Nature Center to sign up. Registration is requested by May 31 before 4:30 p.m. Please leave a message. To register by email, [email protected], subject Turnpike Hike and include the names of hikers planning to take the long hike.
Stonewall Resort (Lewis County) www.stonewallresort.com
The Rush Run Challenge is a six-mile hike promising picturesque stops and wildlife habitats to observe. Participants can take up to four hours to complete. The hike is non-competitive and open to any age to walk, hike, run or bike. There is a $20 registration fee which includes a dry-fit event t-shirt and a donation to the Stonewall State Park Foundation for future trail maintenance. To register, visit www.stonewallresort.com/i/downloads/Celebrate_National_Trails_Day.pdf. This Web page provides more details about the terrain and the starting point for the activity. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Contact [email protected] or call 304-269-8820.
Twin Falls State Park (Wyoming County) www.twinfallsresort.com
Trail work begins at 9 a.m. to help maintain a selected area at Twin Falls State Park. Additionally, a hike to Horsepen Knob at 1 p.m. departs from the park’s ball field. The hike will be about two miles. Geared to any age, the trail will showcase deciduous forest and some field habitat. Guide: Bryan Danford, naturalist. Please call 304-294-4000 or email [email protected] if an individual or group is planning to help with trail maintenance.
Tygart Lake Park (Taylor County) www.tygartlake.com
Trails and Tails Hike are offered at Tygart Lake State Park, one at 10 a.m. and the second at 5 p.m. The activity is open to hikers and their four-legged friends on leash. For information email [email protected]. Guide: Stephanie Bailey, naturalist 304-265-6144
Watoga State Park (Pocahontas County) at www.watoga.com
The Mad Ann Bailey Hike begins at 10 a.m. and is six miles. Hikers should meet at the Ann Bailey Trail head for a leisurely stroll. If the hiking group is interested, a side hike to the Workman’s Cabin is planned. Advance registration is not required but wearing appropriate footwear is mandatory. Guide: Cheryle Boggs, naturalist. 304-499-4087
Watters Smith State Park (Harrison County) www.watterssmithstatepark.com
Celebrate National Trails Day with a guided hike and some bird watching. Departing the activity building at 8 a.m., hikers can expect to hear a variety of song birds and enjoy wildflower identification stops along the trail. Following the hike, refreshments and prizes will be given away. Bring binoculars and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Guide: Andy Bennett, park superintendent. 304-745-3081
Daily activities at Blackwater Falls, Cacapon, Holly River, North Bend and Pipestem state parks are generally posted on the specific park website under the “To Do” tab. These activities include nature center hours, hayrides, night hikes, and general interest about nature topics throughout a given week. Special events and activities at West Virginia state parks are posted on www.wvstateparks.com, “Events Calendar.”
Logo courtesy West Virginia Division of Natural Resources