SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Fall is a wonderful time to hike, and WonderFALL Walks make getting outside even better. WonderFALL Walks are guided walks and hikes at six West Virginia state parks and forests scheduled in October.
“Cooler temperatures and landscapes draped in deciduous brilliance are an invitation to enjoy fall color,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England. “We also invite people to join a park naturalist for a walk and some interpretative information along a trail or path.”
State parks offering WonderFALL Walks are Cass Scenic Railroad, North Bend, Tygart Lake, Blackwater Falls and Cacapon Resort, along with Kanawha State Forest. Walks are free to attend and open to the public.
WonderFALL Walks are scheduled in October, which is generally prime fall color season. Participants should bring water and snacks, wear sturdy walking shoes or boots, and dress for the weather.
Individuals completing a WonderFALL walk or hike with a naturalist will receive a special patch, one of four special hike patches offered during the year. Others are First Day (Jan. 1), Green Day (March), and National Trails Day (June) walks or hikes. The WonderFALL Walk patch is presented to individuals who complete a hike, walk or stroll with the naturalist, while patch supplies last.
Guests who would like to stay overnight can visit wvstateparks.com to book a lodge room, cabin or campsite.
WonderFALL Walks schedule:
Oct. 5, 2019 – Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Naturalist/interpreter Kailey Price will lead the walk, departing from the Cass Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m. It is an easy 3-mile round trip on a flat crushed gravel surface of the Greenbrier River Trail and will take about 90 minutes.
Oct. 12, 2019 – Kanawha State Forest
Meet naturalist and birder Dave Dendler at 10 a.m. for a 4.5-mile hike that includes the CCC Snipe, Mossy Rock and Teaberry trails. Stops along the way will feature interpretative stories and information about fall colors, vegetation, migratory birds and wildlife. Hikers should gather at the Camp Kanawha parking lot where Picnic Shelters No. 8 and No. 9 are located.
Oct. 12, 2019 – North Bend State Park
A 10-mile hike along the North Bend Rail Trail will be led by Naturalist Ken Zebo and staff. Hikers will see the haunted Silver Run Tunnel, the historic towns of Petroleum and Cairo, one of the original abandoned stone tunnels, and several bridge crossings. Registration is required by Oct. 10 so that shuttle service can be arranged to the starting point at Petroleum. To register, call Ken Zebo at 304-643-2931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 12, 2019 – Tygart Lake State Park
Armed with historic insight and flora and fauna knowledge, Naturalist Jacob Jackson will lead the walk starting at Tygart Lake Lodge at 2 p.m. Stops along the way will include interpretative stories and information about fall colors, vegetation, migratory birds and wildlife that may be observed at the park and at Tygart Lake.
Oct. 11, 12, 13, 2019 – Blackwater Falls State Park
Three hikes will be led by Naturalist Paulita Cousin and are pet-friendly.
PASE POINT HIKE – Oct. 11
Meet at Blackwater Falls Nature Center for a 10 a.m. hike that borders the Monongahela National Forest and goes to an unrestricted rock outcropping with a spectacular view of Blackwater Canyon. The trail is intermediate with short but steep inclines, about 3 miles round trip taking three hours.
NORTH WOODS WALK – Oct. 12
Meet at the Blackwater Falls Sled Run for a 2:30 p.m. walk through a northern hardwood forest. This is a 1-mile hike at a slow pace, taking about 90 minutes.
TEAS AND TONICS WALK – Oct. 13, 12:30 p.m.
Meet at Blackwater Falls Nature Center for an interpretative stroll along Pendleton Lake trails discovering something edible or medicinal about some of the plants encountered along the way. It starts at 12:30 p.m. and will last about 70 minutes for the 1-mile walk.
Oct. 18, 19, 2019 – Cacapon Resort State Park
Two hikes will be led by Naturalist Valery Chaney.
LAUREL TRAIL – Oct. 18
Meet at Cacapon Lodge for a 2 p.m. hike of about 3 miles. Laurel Trail is a loop hike combining several trails to allow enjoyment of the fall scenery.
CENTRAL TRAIL – Oct. 19
Meet at Cacapon Lodge for a 10 a.m. hike. Participants will caravan to the Batt picnic parking lot to hike a portion of the Central Trail. This 3-mile loop winds around the Middle Fork Cabin loop, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, taking in the views, changing leaves and mountain streams at Cacapon Resort State Park.
About West Virginia State Parks
West Virginia’s state parks and forests are the vacation destination of choice for more than 7 million people each year. Made up of 35 parks, 9 forests and two rail trails, the West Virginia State Parks system provides endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. Make memories that last forever. Book your adventure at www.wvstateparks.com.
West Virginia State Parks is managed by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, a division of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.