Top 10 Forests in West Virginia, United States

May 16, 2022 Brain Ambrose

As you would expect, The Mountain State displays rustic charm with dramatic river gorges, large limestone caverns and spectacular mountain views. West Virginia hosts outdoor enthusiasts and family vacationers looking for fresh-air activities and serene mountain atmosphere. If stimulating city holidays are your preference, Charleston combines warm hospitality with a lovely riverside location. A family-friendly destination, you’ll discover children’s theatre, river park recreation and popular Bridge Road for shopping and dining. Smaller towns blend outdoor adventure with quaint village atmospheres. Set between the New, Greenbrier and Bluestone Rivers, Hinton is an historic rail town filled with turn-of-the-century architecture and a host of water activities at its doorstep – rafting, fishing, kayaking and more. In the heart of West Virginia, Summersville is a “Mountain Water Playground.” Its lakeside location encourages outdoor recreation from swimming and boating to scuba diving and rafting. And history buffs can trace Civil War battles throughout the states historic sites and state parks. Hiking or horseback riding along trails through deep hardwood forests is another family favorite, especially when you stop for a picnic along a clear mountain stream.
Restaurants in West Virginia

1. Kumbrabow State Forest

Huttonsville, WV 26273 +1 304-335-2219 [email protected] http://www.kumbrabow.com/
Excellent
90%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 10 reviews

Kumbrabow State Forest

2. Monongahela National Forest

200 Sycamore St, Elkins, WV 26241-3932 +1 304-636-1800 https://www.fs.usda.gov/mnf
Excellent
90%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 10 reviews

Monongahela National Forest

Monongahela National Forest, in the northcentral highlands of West Virginia, is a place where visitors can enjoy breathtaking vistas, peaceful country roads, gently flowing streams, and glimpses of the many plants and animals that live here. Explore your Forest!

Reviewed By Renee54101 - North Smithfield, United States

If you like remote wilderness, this is the place for you. Love to see a place where nature is maintained! We stayed at the Williams River Campground-Nice, quiet and remote-Just the way we liked it!

3. Fernow Experimental Forest

Parsons, WV 26287 http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/ef/locations/wv/fernow/
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 4 reviews

Fernow Experimental Forest

Reviewed By Karen123WV - Elkins, United States

This is a lovely drive through the forest. There a signs that explain how the forest is managed. I saw a number of trails but we only took the one that is marked specifically as a hiking trail. There's a trail to a catch and release spot there as well. Can't wait to go back in the fall when the leaves have changed. The road was good so pretty much any vehicle could do the loop.

4. Monongahela National Forest

200 Sycamore St, WV 26241 https://www.fs.usda.gov/mnf
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

Monongahela National Forest

An 830,000-acre preserve with campsites and hiking trails.

Reviewed By pattelbert - Alexandria, United States

We went to the Otter Creek area of the park. We walked the roads and trails for a couple of miles. The campsites looked well-maintained, and the compost toilet had plenty of paper. We'd go back to actually camp!

5. Babcock State Park

486 Babcock Rd Butt, Clifftop, WV 25831-7240 +1 304-438-3004 [email protected] http://wvstateparks.com/park/babcock-state-park/
Excellent
70%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 210 reviews

Babcock State Park

One of West Virginia’s most iconic locations, Babcock State Park has 4,127 acres of stunning scenery. Located 20 miles southeast of the New River Gorge Bridge, the park is most known for the Glade Creek Grist Mill, a fully functional replica of the original Cooper’s Mill, which once stood on the grounds. Other attractions include recreational activities like hiking, fishing and mountain biking, as well as whitewater rafting nearby in the New River Gorge. The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park is a popular destination for nature and landscape photographers and artists capturing the beauty of this iconic setting.

Reviewed By 491brandyl

Babcock is a beautiful state park. It has cabins for rent, picnic areas, playground, a lake where you can rent paddleboard, and a old mill. Park was much larger than I thought it would be. Lots of hiking!

6. Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

Route 150 take Forest Service Road 102 north, WV 24946 http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mnf/recarea/?recid=9913
Excellent
70%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 74 reviews

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

The Cranberry Glades botanical area is one of the largest and most botanically significant bogs in the Appalachian Mountains. The Glades resemble an arctic tundra misplaced in these southern mountains. Found here are many of the same rare plants, birds, mammals, and even reindeer moss which are commonly found in bogs of the far north. Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk and learn about this amazing ecosystem.

Reviewed By barbt425 - New Lebanon, United States

This is one of our favorite places in all of West Virginia, immediately upon entering the trail head you will know you aren't in Kansas anymore. It is like stepping back in time to Jurassic Park and you will find yourself watching for dinosaurs around every turn. The giant ferns sprawl out endlessly along the train. If you look closely you may even spot the carnivorous Pitcher Plants. If you are lucky, a bear or two might be seen. To one side of the walk is pure jungle vegetation and a wild bog up to 20 feet deep and on the other side mountain and forest splendor with a carpet of cranberry plants and wildflowers growing everywhere. Fall is spectacular as is the spring blooming season. The interpretive signs tell the story of the bog well and the rangers, when present are very knowledgeable of the area. The boardwalk can be rough in spots when the beavers are active so wheelchairs may not have access. Be sure to check for warning signs on this before entering the boardwalk portion of the trail. There is no elevation to the hike, sturdy, non-slick shoes are recommended as the boardwalk can be wet or muddy in places. Pets are welcome on leases. Be careful with pets as they may be tempted to step off the boardwalk to get a drink only to find themselves up to their ears in bog. The walk is a short one but allow about an hour to complets. Another West Virginia Delight.

7. Coopers Rock State Forest

61 County Line Dr, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525 +1 304-594-1561 [email protected] http://wvstateparks.com/park/coopers-rock-state-forest/
Excellent
75%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 263 reviews

Coopers Rock State Forest

Established in 1936, Coopers Rock State Forest boasts some of the most iconic views in Almost Heaven. Located just off I-68, about 13 miles from Morgantown, the park features canyon overlooks, historical sites, picnic shelters, 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, sandstone cliffs for climbing and bouldering, cross-country ski terrain, a lake perfect for reeling in trout and a nearby river for rafting. Winter Note: Coopers Rock State Forest main gate is closed until April 1st, 2021. The forest is still accessible by foot or bike, however, vehicles may park at the day use parking area. It is roughly 3-miles from the parking area to the main overlook along the road or roadside hiking trail.

Reviewed By martin_aka_marty - Wickliffe, United States

A beautiful state park with miles of trails of all kinds leading through the forest. Also offering tons of amazing views and also picnic areas for rent and well as a gift shop near the top of the mountain. Very worth the hike to get to the top or you can drive up there to see the overlook view. It is stunning at the top. I would say a must see for this area.

8. North Bend State Park

202 N Bend State Park, Cairo, WV 26337-6744 +1 304-643-2931 [email protected] http://www.northbendsp.com
Excellent
60%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 94 reviews

North Bend State Park

Found among the Mid-Ohio Valley’s rolling hills, lakes and streams, North Bend State Park offers a multitude of recreational facilities in a beautiful pastoral setting. Named for the horseshoe curve of the North Fork of the Hughes River, this year-round park is lush with hiking trails and abundant wildlife. Located near Cairo and Harrisville, North Bend State Park is best known for the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, which follows a railbanked B&O Railroad corridor with several tunnels along the way.

Reviewed By HLSWoods720 - Dundalk, United States

This was our third time visiting North Bend State Park for access to the Rail Trail. Only this time, we were there in Spring (instead of late Fall) and we were able to see all the lush green vegetation in bloom. We come for the Rail Trail as it is a fantastic place to walk our dogs. The North Bend Trail is about 72 miles long and stretches from Cedar Grove to Wolf Summit. The North Bend Rail Trail’s many points of interest and history include the former Stage Coach Inn in Pennsboro, a marble factory, hand-blown glass factories, outlet stores, arts-and-crafts markets, fairs and festivals, sites of train robberies, veterans memorials, a bike shop/general store and the legend of the ghost of tunnel 19, the Silver Run tunnel, which was the big draw for me. Even the unhaunted train tunnels are pretty cool. There is a small gravel lot near Shelter 3 within North Bend State Park where we park and walk to the Rail Trail. In the Spring there is plenty of tree cover on the access path that end up disappearing once you actually get to the rail trail. There are plenty of spots to picnic once you are on the Rail Trail and awesome train tunnels that are fun to mess around in (meaning scare your walking buddy, test the echo, etc.). Definitely a lovely and awesome place to walk the dogs.

9. Bickel Knob Observation Tower

Forest Rd 91A, Elkins, WV 26241 +1 304-478-3251 http://elkinsrandolphwv.com/place/bickle-knob-observation-tower/
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 28 reviews

Bickel Knob Observation Tower

Reviewed By JohnnyNVA - Manassas, United States

Loved this old observation tower. Great views and an easy climb to get there. This definitely felt like a locals only destination, not really publicized for tourists. I highly recommend this stop to anyone in the area.

10. Kanawha State Forest

7500 Kanawha State Forest Dr, Charleston, WV 25314-9298 +1 714-856-5533 http://www.kanawhastateforest.com/
Excellent
51%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
3%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 136 reviews

Kanawha State Forest

Located seven miles from Charleston, Kanawha State Forest is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest has more than 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and diverse wildflower, tree and bird populations. Amenities include picnic shelters, playgrounds and camp sites. In-season hunting is permitted in specified areas for hunters with a valid license.

Reviewed By bcasey1 - Plant City, United States

Peace, serenity, plenty room for social distancing and enjoying the great outdoors. Lovely drives through the park, and nice to park and hike along the way. Creeks, small (this time of year, probably a lot bigger during Spring) waterfalls and a nice lake to see. Friendly ranger with maps and a small gift and snack shop.

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