Wednesday, September 16, 2015

National Lands: West Virginia

Lower Railroad rapid on the New River, just do...
Lower Railroad rapid on the New River, just downstream from the Cunard access point in the New River Gorge.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although it does not have a national park, West Virginia has many national areas. This state is one of fourteen states through which the Appalachian Trail runs. The trail provides 2,185 miles of hiking opportunities for visitors. The trail enters the state at Harpers Ferry. Only four miles of the trail are in West Virginia before the it straddles the state line with Virginia for fifteen miles. The nearest interstate to Harpers Ferry is Interstate 81.

West Virginia is known for its white water rapids. The nearest interstate to the area is Interstate 64/77 south of Charleston to Beckley. To the east is Gauley River National Recreation Area. This river is famous for its rapids which are Class V and above. To the south of this area is the New River Gorge National River. This beautiful area also has white water rafting opportunities.  The upper river offers Class I - III rapids while the lower gorge features Class III - V. The famous bridge near Fayetteville permits rappelling and BASE jumping on the third Saturday of October. Finally, Bluestone National Scenic River is located near Hinton which offers ten miles of protected river and a beautiful gorge. Interstate 64 is to the north and Interstate 77 is to the west.

Areas that honor significant events of history or heritage include the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. This park of 184 miles honors the canals as a major method of transportation. Interstate 68 and Interstate 81 are the closest to this area. The Coal National Heritage area presents the history and conditions of coal mining in the state. Interstate 77 is in the southern section of the area. The Wheeling National Heritage Area features the architecture and history of this city which is located on the Ohio River. Interstate 70 runs through the city. Museums, trails and battlefields are some of the attractions available at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. To the north is Interstate 68 and to the west is Interstate 81. Finally, West Virginia is part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network which is part of 170 museums, trails and water areas.

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