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‘Trails day’ can be any day in these state parks and forests

By Rick Steelhammer, Staff Writer
Bikers along the North Bend Rail Trail, one of several places in West Virginia where National Trails Day events took place on Saturday. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Department of Commerce)

A 10-mile hike along the Bluestone National Scenic River and a 7.5-mile round-trip bike ride along the North Bend Rail Trail between North Bend State Park and the Ritchie County town of Cairo were among thousands of National Trails Day events that took place across the nation on Saturday, June 3, during the organization’s 25th anniversary.

A project of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is observed on the first Saturday in June as part of an effort to connect beginning muscle-powered trail users of all ages and abilities with trails in their area and the clubs and individuals who use and maintain them. Guided hikes, bicycle trail rides, water trail paddling events and trail maintenance projects drew more than 168,000 people to events along some of the nation’s 200,000 miles of trails last year.

Free guided hikes were held throughout West Virginia on Saturday. So you missed National Trails Day? No problem -- you can still get outside and try some of these outdoor adventures on your own or with a group:

- A 10-mile hike along the Bluestone Turnpike, a former wagon trail that runs the length of the Bluestone National Scenic River between Pipestem Resort State Park and Bluestone State Park. For more information about this hike, email or call 304-894-2129.

- A two-hour round-trip bike ride along the North Bend Rail Trail from North Bend State Park to the town of Cairo, where participants can explore shops, get something to eat and learn about the history of the area. Start at North Bend’s Nature Center. For more information, call Ken Zebo at North Bend State Park at 304-643-2931.

- A two-hour hike under the canopy of Cathedral State Park’s old growth forest along the Giant Hemlock and Cathedral trails. Hemlocks up to 21 feet in circumference and 90 feet high can be found in the park, which contains the state’s largest fragment of virgin forest. Participants are urged to bring water. For details, call 304-735-3771 and leave a message.

- A hike along some of Watoga State Park’s 40 miles of trail. Hikers are urged to bring food and water and wear closed-toe shoes or boots. Set up camp at Riverside Campground, and hit the trails. For more information, call 304-799-4087.

- A four-hour hike along some of the five trails found at Moncove Lake State and surrounding wildlife management area, located near Gap Mills in Monroe County. Hikers are urged to bring water and a lunch or snack, and wear closed-toed footwear. For details, call 304-722-3450.

Bird watching along the Pigeon Roost and Black Bear trails in Kanawha State Forest. Hikers are should bring water and a snack and be prepared to walk over difficult terrain. For details, call 304-558-3500.

Note: An earlier verison of this story appeared June 1 in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.


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