Exploring the Wilds of West Virginia: A Guide to the Different Types of National Parks

West Virginia is a state known for its stunning mountain landscapes, dense forests, and rich history. While it doesn’t have traditional national parks, it is home to several national park sites, national historical parks, and scenic rivers that highlight the state’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Here are some notable national park sites and protected areas in West Virginia:

1. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is located in southern West Virginia and is known for its dramatic cliffs, deep canyons, and the iconic New River. The park offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, and camping. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives, explore historic sites, and take in breathtaking views of the gorge.

2. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in West Virginia. The park preserves the history of Harpers Ferry, a historic town that played a significant role in the American Civil War. Visitors can explore museums, visit historic buildings, and learn about the town’s industrial past and John Brown’s raid.

3. Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretches across 14 states, including a portion in West Virginia. The trail is a renowned long-distance hiking route that traverses the Appalachian Mountains. In West Virginia, hikers can enjoy scenic stretches of the trail, take in panoramic views, and experience the beauty of the state’s mountains and forests.

These national park sites and protected areas in West Virginia offer opportunities to explore the state’s natural landscapes, learn about its history, and engage in various outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in hiking along the New River Gorge, delving into the history of Harpers Ferry, or embarking on a section of the Appalachian Trail, these sites provide unique and memorable experiences for visitors in West Virginia.