Life is better in hiking boots. Here are five of our favorite hikes in and around town.
Ask around for a short after-work or weekend mood-boosting hike, and you’ll get several recommendations. Some love WVU’s Core Arboretum, and some love the trails at BOPARC’s White Park. But lately, we are fans of the Falling Run Greenspace. Opened just two years ago, this urban oasis can be accessed from Outlook Street—practically downtown—and its planned five miles of trails are more than half complete. It has the only waterfalls anywhere in town, so it’s a great place to relieve stress and enjoy the great outdoors close to home.
If you have a couple hours, adjust your altitude at Coopers Rock State Forest at Exit 15 of Interstate 68, where you can find many hiking trails. The Virgin Hemlock Trail there is a serene one-mile loop alongside the babbling Laurel Run. Or check out the West Virginia Botanic Garden. The reservoir loop is wide and makes for a great spot for a conversational walk with a friend. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the different species of plant life this former reservoir offers.
If you have three hours and are looking for a jaw-dropping view, pack a picnic and visit Raven Rock Trail—arguably the better overlook at Coopers Rock. Raven Rock is also less crowded than the ever-popular overlook, so it’s a win-win.
For a more distant adventure and a landscape that is reminiscent of places in Canada, take a hike at Cranesville Swamp. Be sure to take your binoculars because this swamp is a bird watcher’s paradise. You may even see some carnivorous plants. The trails are shorter in length, so beginners are welcome. While you’re in Preston County, head to Screech Owl Brewing outside Bruceton Mills for a bite to eat and a great brew.
To summit all up, hiking is the answer—who cares what the question was? Coming soon: a two-mile loop trail at Elizabeth’s Woods in Tom’s Run Preserve, just seven miles south of town. Look for more information in our upcoming August / September issue—subscribe now to get it in your mailbox.
photo by Nikki Bowman