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West Virginia: Your Ultimate "Get Outside" Destination


We put together a list of the best summer activities to do in the great outdoors of wild, wonderful West Virginia!

  • Tygart River Outfitters
  • Tygart River Outfitters
  • Tygart River Outfitters

INTO THE WOODS

Mon River Trails: Just across the Pennsylvania border in beautiful Morgantown, West Virginia, the Mon River Trails offer nearly 50 miles of scenic trails for walking, jogging, and cycling. Made up of three hiking trails, each one offers a distinct hiking experience: the urban Caperton trail that cuts through city parks near numerous restaurants and shops, the flatter Mon River Trail that ambles through the shady river valley, and the challenging Deckers Creek Trail that climbs at a 2 percent grade for 1,000 feet over 19 miles. Whatever type of hiker you are, you’ll find your perfect hike along the Mon River Trails. 

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Horseshoe Creek Riding Stable: What’s a trip to the West Virginia countryside without a horseback riding adventure? Located in Hico, West Virginia, Horseshoe Creek Riding Stable offers fun for the whole family, including the little ones! From pony rides for the tots and one-hour trail rides for those six and up, to longer trail rides through the breathtaking New River Gorge, even to overnight rides…you’ll find it all at Horseshoe Creek Riding Stable. It’s the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Plus, if riding isn’t really your thing, the stables offer relaxing carriage rides through West Virginia, too. Don’t forget your camera (and your closed-toe shoes!) for this adventure. 

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Adventure WV Canopy Tour: If you’d prefer to take in West Virginia from the air rather than the ground, check out West Virginia University and Adventure WV’s Canopy Tour. Made up of four zip-lines, ranging from 201 to 750 feet, an aerial bridge and ladder, and a tandem rappel station to exit the course, the canopy tour provides both an educational and exhilarating experience. Take in the lush greenery of Morgantown as you zip and fly through the trees in this non-stop thrill ride! Following the course, participants must hike back to their starting point, so this outing is not for the faint of heart. 

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ON THE WATER

Tygart River Outfitters: Although West Virginia is renowned for its amazing white watersnotably “the Beast of the East” Gauley River and the classic New Riverthe Tygart River is a well-kept secret. At Tygart River Outfitters, you can kayak or raft your way down the Tygart, Buckhannon, and Middle Fork Rivers on either guided or unguided tours. Plus, new for the 2017 season, Tygart River Outfitters is offering a Covered Bridges Historic Paddle Run, a completely unique guided tour through the undisturbed wilderness. The four to six hour trip will take you through Class II-III White Water and under two covered bridges constructed in the 1800sthe perfect trip for thrill-seekers and history buffs alike! Plus, throughout the summer, Tygart River Outfitters features free Friday adventures for kids 15 and younger (but make sure you accompany your child!) and an arrowhead search every Saturday and Sundaya great activity for both kids and parents! 

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Sutton Lake: Created by the Sutton Dam, Sutton Lake is a 1,440-acre lake situated along 14 miles of the beautiful Elk River. Untouched by commercial development, Sutton Lake is the perfect spot to venture away from city living and simply relax. If you’re an avid paddleboarder or want to pick up this fast-growing sport, Sutton Lake’s 44-mile stretch of shoreline is a great place to start! And, if you want to explore even more of the clear water and towering mountains, Sutton Lake Marina can set you up with rentals like houseboats or pontoon boats so you can enjoy endless hour on the water. 

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Elk River: If you’re not satisfied with simply floating atop the water, get your feet wet and step into the Elk River to catch some of West Virginia’s famous trout. A limestone spring creek that originates in the Allegheny Mountains, the Elk River includes a catch-and-release section locally known as “The Dries” that is said to be home to massive rainbow troutso massive, in fact, that they’re often mistaken for steelhead trout! Elk River is considered to be one of the best fly fishing destinations in the eastern United States, so get out there and reel some in! 

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STAY THE NIGHT

Spruce Knob: The highest peak in the Allegheny Mountains, Spruce Mountain stands at nearly 5,000 feet! Considered the darkest stargazing site in the Mid-Atlantic, Spruce Knob comes alive after dark, lit up by the millions of stars the make up the Milky Way. However, the trail to the top isn’t for beginners. Featuring dirt roads and hairpin curves (and not featuring any guard rails), only the truly determined can make it to the Summit Observation Tower. After you take in the wonders of the heavens, spend the night in the Spruce Knob Mountain Center, a 400-acre nature preserve that rents sustainable yurts with skylights, so you can sleep under the stars without worrying about bug bites. 

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Allegheny Trail: West Virginia’s first long-distance footpath is the place for every adventure imaginable, combining all of the charm of the state into one trip! Along the Allegheny Trail, you can camp, get in an extended hiking trip, take in the sights of rural farms, cool off in a creek, and enjoy some quality trout fishing. Over 300 miles divided into four distinct sections, the Allegheny Trail caters to any and all outdoor desires, passing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and winding its way through Seneca State Forest, Blackwater Falls State Park, and Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. To take in nearly all of West Virginia in one spot seems a herculean task, but with the Allegheny Trail, you can certainly try! 

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Big Bear Lake Camplands: Tucked in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, this privately owned campground is unlike many campgrounds and RV parks, offering deeded property for your family to enjoy. But, if you simply want to spend a weekend, Beaver Creek Village—located in the same 5,000 acres as Big Bear Lake Camplands—features 25 rental camping sites, plus two rental cabin sites for those who don’t want to rough it. Enjoy swimming and fishing in the two nearby lakes, numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking, plus miniature golf, tennis, the Bearfoot Springs Water Park, and special activities throughout the campsite. Whether you love the outdoors or simply want to be near nature, Big Bear Lake Camplands is full of fun! Looking for your next family vacation spot? You found it!

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