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DNR, W.Va. State Parks announce First Day Hikes across the state

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) and West Virginia State Parks announce nine First Day Hikes at West Virginia state parks and natural areas. These free guided hikes, part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks, invite participants of all ages and abilities to explore the natural beauty of West Virginia while learning about park history and wildlife.

Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, and bring water and a snack. While trekking poles or a walking stick are helpful, they are not required. Hikers should arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time.

“Join us on January 1 and let your adventure begin in one of West Virginia’s beautiful state parks and natural areas,” says WV DNR Director Brett McMillion. “Happy hiking, and I’m looking forward to a year filled with exploration, appreciation for our great outdoors, and endless adventures in Almost Heaven. These hikes are a fantastic opportunity to start a new tradition with friends and family. ”

Blackwater Falls State Park

  • Time: 10:30 a.m.
  • Meeting Point: Blackwater Falls Lodge lobby
  • Details: Explore portions of three Blackwater trails with Naturalist Paulita Cousin, experiencing the beauty of the forest with interpretive stops along the way. Leashed dogs are welcome. The hike is approximately 2 miles or 90 minutes.

Bluestone State Park

  • Time: 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
  • Details: 10:00 a.m. Mary Ingles Trail – Meet Park Naturalist, Jonathan Lipscomb, at the Pits parking area for an easy hike along this scenic and historic trail. The trail is an out and back trail for a total of 4 miles.
    • 1:00 p.m. Eagle Point Trail – Meet Park Naturalist, Jonathan Lipscomb, at the overlook on the park road between the office and Route 20. This is a challenging hike one mile up to a rewarding overlook of the Bluestone and New River Gorges. Not recommended for pets and young children. Hiking boots recommended. 

Cacapon Resort State Park

  • Time: 10:00 a.m.
  • Meeting Point: Nature Center
  • Details: Naturalists Valerie Chaney and Allen Miller will lead a brisk wintry walk, starting at the nature center. Sturdy shoes, water, and a snack are recommended. Participating is free, and attendees will receive a First Day Hike patch.


Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

  • Details: 1:00 p.m.
  • Details: Meet at Cass visitor’s center to set out for a 3-mile round trip First Day Hike which lasts approximately an hour and a half. The hike will be flat walking on the Greenbrier River Trail. Good walking shoes or boots and layers of winter wear for winter walking are recommended 

Cedar Creek State Park

  • Time: 10:00 a.m.
  • Details: Hikers should report to the barn building near the campground entrance for parking. The First Day Hike will be on the Two Run Trail up to the North Boundary Trail and is approximately one mile and should take about an hour. The terrain is moderately challenging with some hill sections. Warm clothes and boots are recommended. 

Forks of Coal Natural Area

  • Time: 12:00 p.m.
  • Details: The First Day Hike at the Claudia Workman Wildlife Education Center is open to all ages. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided after the hike.

Kanawha State Forest

  • Time: 1:00 p.m.
  • Details: Kanawha State Forest is offering several options for the First Day Hikes. All hikes will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Forest Headquarters. The following hikes are being offered:
    • Spotted Salamander Trail is an 0.3 mile ADA accessible interpretive loop and is an easy hike.
    • CCC Snipe Trail and Shrewsbury Hollow Road is an approximately two mile easy to moderately challenging hike.
    • Old Growth Forest Hike is an approximately three mile moderately challenging hike on Wall Fork or Hoffman Hollow Interpretive Trails.
    • Overlook Rock Trail is an approximately two mile hike rated moderate to difficult.
    • Forest Loop hike is an approximately six mile hike along Davis Creek, Middle Ridge, Mossy Rock and CCC Snipe Trails and rated moderate to difficult. 

Pipestem State Park

  • Time: 1:00 p.m. 
  • Details: The hike is suitable for all ages and abilities with no charge to participate. Participants receive a First Day Patch, cocoa and cookies upon finishing the hike.

Tygart Lake State Park

  • Time: 10:00 a.m.
  • Meeting Point: Campground
  • Details: Join naturalist Jacob Jackson for a two-mile round trip on the School Bus Loop Trail. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy boots, and arrive at the campground 10 minutes before the hike.

Ring in the New Year at a West Virginia state park, natural area, or forest. Learn more at wvstateparks.com/calendar.

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