When it comes to outdoor recreation, the Advantage Valley region offers a wealth of options.
West Virginia Tourism
It’s easy to take advantage of Advantage Valley’s outdoor recreation opportunities. Numerous parks, hiking trails, and rivers can be explored throughout the region, and most are a short drive (or walk) away. So hop out and fill your adventure bucket list with everything the region has to offer, from river valleys to mountain peaks.
1. Check out America’s newest national park
The New River Gorge is the deepest (1,600 feet) and longest (53 miles) river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains and received official national park and reserve status in 2021. Located 80 miles southeast of Charleston, the park covers over 70,000 acres.
2. Explore the Elk River
Whether kayaking, canoeing or tubing, there are many ways to spend the day along this 170-mile (270 km) tributary. Elk River Get-A-Way and Yak House Rentals can outfit you with all the gear you need for a leisurely trip through forests, farmlands, and charming small towns.
3. Play pickleball
Advantage Valley has embraced this rapidly growing sport, combining elements of tennis, table tennis and badminton. The new Huntington Pickleball Club has quickly grown to more than 100 members, and courts have been established around the city at Ritter Park and Westmoreland Park. Pickleball courts are also available at Barboursville Park and the City of Ceredo pickleball courts.
4. Try skeet shooting
West Virginia Clays in Hernshaw has two skeet fields, a combination skeet/trap field and a new five berth clay field. While annual memberships are available, the club is also open to the public and can be reserved for events.
5. Go fishing at Elk Fork Lake
Some mighty bass can be found in this deceptively small lake. Located between Charleston and Parkersburg near Ripley, Elk Fork Lake is a compact 209-acre lake. But the water depth and clarity within this area make it an ideal habitat for bass – and anglers – to thrive.
6. Paddleboard at Kanawha Falls
Mountain Surf Paddle Sports offers guided tours along a shallow section of the Kanawha River below this 20-foot, river-wide waterfall system. The falls are also clearly visible from Route 60, which runs along the river for more than 40 miles.
7. Descend the Elk River Rail Trail
Formed from a former railroad corridor, this rail-to-trails system stretches nearly 54 miles along the Elk River from Clendenin to Gassaway. The trail is open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and there are several river access points for fishing and boating along the trail.
Canaan Valley Resort
8. Explore the Kanawha State Forest
This 9,300 acre recreation area is just 7 miles from Charleston. But the city feels much further away as you stroll the 40km of quiet hiking trails or relax at one of the 46 secluded campgrounds.
9. Make trails at Meeks Mountain or Eleanor City Park
Runners and cyclists will find a trail to suit their needs in Advantage Valley. Meeks Mountain, adjacent to Hurricane City Park, has more than 20 miles of trails out of a total of 26. Meanwhile, the 18-mile Eleanor City Park Trail offers a cardio test with roughly 1,800 feet of climbing. Must-ride trails are Faceplant and Gun Range.
Canaan Valley Resort
10. Get off the beaten track along the Hatfield-McCoy Trails
There’s no arguing when it comes to picking the greatest trail system in West Virginia. The expansive Hatfield-McCoy Trails offer 1,000 miles of off-road fun across 10 routes (including the Ivy Branch Trail between Huntington and Charleston). The system sold a record 95,000 hiking permits in 2021.
11. Get some rest
After all the adventure, you can take a scenic break. Secluded getaways can be enjoyed at WV ATV Resort, Pappy’s Cabin at the Pond, Mountain Mama Lodging, Ole Henry’s Camping Retreat and Ivy Branch ATV Resort. Rustic Ravines is another good option that offers cabin rentals and a range of activities.
To learn more about the Advantage Valley region, read the latest issue of Livability: Advantage Valley, West Virginia.