Meet the New Year outdoors at West Virginia’s state parks and forests – First Day Hikes planned Jan. 1, 2016

Edited from a Press Release
Meet the New Year outdoors at West Virginia’s state parks and forests – First Day Hikes planned Jan. 1, 2016

Chilly or warm, West Virginia’s state parks and forests are embracing First Day Hikes, a nationwide outdoor activity promoted by the America’s State Parks organization (


“Park chiefs and directors across the United States are encouraging the use of state parks on the first day of the new year. Hiking is one of the top activities enjoyed by visitors on trails and pathways year-round at our parks and forests,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England.


First Day Hikes encourage anyone to participate in a scheduled hike on the first day of January. Individuals participating in scheduled First Day Hikes will receive the West Virginia First Day Hike patch in the mail.


West Virginia state parks participating in the guided First Day Hikes include Blackwater Falls, Pipestem Resort, Cacapon Resort, Twin Falls Resort, Bluestone, Cass Scenic Railroad, Tygart and Kanawha State Forest.


First Day Hikes are open to the public without charge. Contacting the park for weather conditions is recommended. Many of these areas have New Year’s Eve dinners and dances and overnight accommodations for hikers looking to make a long holiday weekend.

Blackwater Falls State Park
Meet the park naturalist in Blackwater Lodge Lobby at 10 a.m. to embrace the new year with this brisk wintry walk along park trails looping back to Blackwater Lodge. The First Day journey begins along Shay Trace Trail, then side tracks along Balanced Rock Trail and loops back to Blackwater Lodge along Elakala Trail with short interpretive stops along the way. This is approximately 2 miles round trip. Sturdy shoes required.
Leader: Paulita Cousin, 304-259-5216,

Pipestem Resort State Park
Hikers start from Pipestem’s McKeeever Lodge lobby at 1 p.m. for an afternoon hike. Dress appropriately. Plan on about 1-1/2 to two hours in the afternoon to be outdoors. Layer for the weather. Leader: Kim Hawkins, 304-466-1800,

Cacapon Resort State Park
Connect with nature by engaging in physical activity, and promote healthy lifestyles all year long. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Thomas Ambrose Nature Center at Cacapon State Park to explore the natural beauty of the Ridge Trail. This trail is approximately 1 ½ miles with a few hills. Leader: Renee Fincham, 304-258-1022 ext. 5209,

Twin Falls Resort State Park
Starting at 10 a.m. from Twin Falls State Park lodge, this hike is a walk along the roadside and golf cart pathways depending upon the weather. Dress appropriately for weather conditions. About one hour. Leader: Cody Cochran, 304-294-4000,

Bluestone State Park
It’s a Tree!mendous Hike at Bluestone State Park starting  at 10 a.m. from the boat launch below the park office. The hike will focus on trees of Bluestone. The hike should last between 30-45 minutes. Sturdy shoes required. Leader: Ben Leedom, 304-466-2805,

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Meet at the Cass Visitor's Center at 11 walk a section of the Greenbrier River Trail. Leader: Monica Fleming, 304-456-4300,

Kanawha State Forest
Beginning at 2 p.m. from the swimming pool parking lot at Kanawha State Forest, join the park superintendent and volunteers to venture on an afternoon hike to begin a new year. Bundle up; dress in layers. Leader: Kevin Dials and volunteers, 304-558-3500,

Tygart Lake State Park
Check out the sights and sounds of Tygart Lake State Park for a hike along the Lake Trail. Meet at the Park Office/ Nature Center at 10 a.m. Leader: Nichole Streets, 304-265-6144,

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