There is a lot of hiking to be had in West Virginia, but what if you want to take your kids with you and you know a 6-mile hike up a mountain would never work? Well, here are 11 kid friendly hikes that are just for you.
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1. Ritter Park
The bridge leading across Fourpole Creek at Ritter Park In Huntington will lead you straight to the famous rose garden, but if you turn left after the first bridge, a series of short trails will take you into the woods, but not so far that you can get lost. A short hike for your short tyke. The address is 910 13th Ave.
2. Beartown State Park
This state park is an amazing place to take the little one. The half-mile boardwalk trail is easy to navigate and filled with amazing views as it passes through both lush forests and impressive rock faces, some a deep green color due to moss growth. Interesting fact: the series of rock faces you pass between are actually massive cracks in a single formation that broke apart a very long time ago. The park's address is 4800 Watoga Park Rd. in Marlinton.
3. Bear Rocks Preserve
This area, part of the Dolly Sods area of Monongahela National Forest, is comprised of many rocks that shifted down from Canada during the Pleistocene Epoch between 2.6 million years ago and 11,700 years ago. Bear Rocks sits at an overlook of this larger area that deposited these foreign rocks, along with foreign fauna and flora, so long ago. The hike is short and the view is breathtaking. The address is Forest Rd. 75 in Davis.
4. Pipestem Resort State Park
This park is largely comprised of short trails. Of its 15 trails, 10 of them are 1 mile or under. These include the Canton Rim Trail, North Side Trail, Lake View Trail and Long Branch Trail. These beautiful trails offer views of Bluestone River Gorge, Mountain Creek Lodge, forests and arboretums. The park is located at 3405 Pipestem Dr. in Pipestem.
5. Camp Creek State Park
This park and campground offers 14 trails to hike, but if you are taking the little ones with you, stick to the Mash Fork Falls Trail, Waldron Spur Trail and the Horse Bypass Trail. The park has a large campground and several picnic areas along the trail system. The address is 2390 Co. Hwy. 19/5 in Camp Creek.
6. Cathedral State Park
This is the perfect park for kids because all the trail here are short, marked at 1 mile or less. You will be able to view gorgeous stands of virgin hemlock and if you come in July, the rhododendrons will be in full bloom. This park is the states largest old-growth forest, filled with ancient trees. The park is located at 12 Cathedral Park Dr. in Aurora.
7. Beech Fork State Park
Beech Fork is a great park for families, both for camping and recreation. If you want to take your kids on a short hike, the Nature Trail loop is the way to go. Also great for kids is a boat ride on the lake or an afternoon at the park's small beach. The address is 5601 Long Branch Rd. in Barboursville.
8. Lindy Point
The short trail to Lindy Point is a must for a great scenic view. Located at Blackwater Falls State Park, Lindy Point overlooks Blackwater Canyon, probably the most impressive view of our state you are likely to find. It is one of the largest canyons in the state, stretching eight miles from the town of Davis to the confluence of Blackwater River and the Dry Fork tributary. Blackwater Falls State Park is located at 1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd. in Davis.
9. Elakala Falls
These falls are another destination at Blackwater Falls worthy of its own entry. Elakala is actually a series of four waterfalls along Shays Run. The waterfalls range in height from 15 feet to 40 feet. All descend into Blackwater canyon. The first two waterfalls are relatively easy to access, the other two, not so much. But the kids are sure to enjoy the accessible ones.
10. Main Waterfall - Blackwater Falls State Park
The third trail in Blackwater Falls leads to the "Great Falls," one of the most impressive and oft-photographed spots in West Virginia. The falls, which sit at the head of Blackwater Canyon, are 62 feet high, spilling over a cliff comprised of Connoquenessing sandstone, an ancient rock formation dating back about 300 million years.
11. Sandstone Falls
Like Beartown State Park, this is another boardwalk trail. Leading to the largest waterfall on the New River, this quarter mile trail crosses two bridges that lead to multiple observation decks and islands where you can view these impressive falls. The trail is also ADA accessible, so it is literally designed for everyone. The falls have a GPS waypoint of
37.75833N 80.90556W along the New River in Sandstone.
Have you ever visited these parks? What other kid-friendly hikes would you recommend? Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.