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Visiting West Virginia on Your Next Road Trip
Whoaaaaaa, West Virginia! There’s so much to experience in this state’s grand outdoors. Whether they’re searching for shimmering lakes or magnificent mountains, cranberry bogs or caves, rushing rivers or green valleys, travelers find what they’re looking for, and even more, in the "Mountain State."
Beech Fork Lake is in the hilly southwestern section of West Virginia near the town of Lavalette, about ten miles south of Huntington. Swimming, fishing and boating are the main events at this U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waterway. There’s a special spot reserved for swimmers at Stowers Branch Beach and anglers should note that Beech Fork Lake is stocked with largemouth and hybrid bass, black crappie and channel catfish. Beech Fork’s boaters appreciate use of an on-site marina, well-equipped with launching and docking facilities, as well as watercraft rentals. For higher and drier times, hiking and biking are alternative activities, with bicyclists permitted to ride on primary park roads.
The central eastern portion of West Virginia is the home of Monongahela National Forest. The rugged Monongahela is known for its high elevations, rivers, streams, valleys and rocky escarpments. It’s a forest full of action-packed adventures for high-energy visitors. There are hundreds of miles of trails open to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. Experienced rock climbers crave the challenges presented by Monongahela’s 900-foot-high Seneca Rocks formation, and once at the top, they can enjoy sweeping views of South Branch Valley.
Water enthusiasts will delight in the area’s multitude of streams, ideal for canoeing.
The town of Davis in north central West Virginia is the home of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a National Natural Landmark designee. Canaan is the state’s biggest freshwater wetland; a blending of cool marshes, bogs and swampy forests nestled in the Allegheny Mountains at an exceptionally high elevation of 3,200 feet. Since the weather and habitats in Canaan Valley are characteristic of more northern climes, the plants and animals found there are also out of the ordinary.
Seneca’s Caverns are in Riverton, West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Seneca is the "Mountain State’s" largest cave system, and due to its massive size and numerous subterranean formations, it’s been titled "West Virginia’s Underground Wonderland." Lighted, guided trail tours at Seneca show off a series of fascinating chambers and mineral configurations like stalagmites and stalactites.
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