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What to expect

West Virginia has 714 trails including medium, difficult, easy, and extra difficult trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Virginius Island and Hall's Island Loop Trail and the one with the least climb is the Lumberjackand Huckleberry Trail. The longest trail is Greenbrier River Trail at 129 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 6 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Blackwater Falls Road Out and Back a t 200 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Triple Creek Trail, Lick Branch Trail, Acorn Ridge Trail, Uplands Trail - Outer Loop and Riverview Trail, and Wilson Cove Trail.

Guide to hiking in West Virginia

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FAQs about hiking in West Virginia

What is the climate like for hiking in West Virginia?

West Virginia experiences distinct seasons. Summers can be hot and humid, ideal for exploring the state's waterfalls and rivers. Fall brings cool temperatures and spectacular foliage, perfect for hikes. Winters can be cold and snowy, and while challenging, offer beautiful snowy landscapes for the hearty adventurer. More information here.

Do I need a permit to hike in West Virginia?

Hikers in West Virginia generally do not need permits for day hikes. Some areas, such as the Dolly Sods Wilderness, require a self-issue permit available at trailheads. For overnight backpacking, permits might be needed. Check with the National Park Service or local Forest Service offices. More information here.

Is wild camping allowed in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, wild camping is permissible in National Forests unless otherwise posted. Campsites should be 200 feet from trails and water sources. Campfires may be restricted; check local regulations. Backcountry camping in state parks might require permits.

Are there mountain rescue services in West Virginia?

In emergencies during a hike in West Virginia, dial 911. The state police coordinate search and rescue with local resources. Local search and rescue teams also work with the Appalachian Search & Rescue Conference. Understand your responsibilities and plan

Are there dangerous plants in West Virginia?

West Virginia is teeming with diverse flora, ranging from rhododendron and laurel bushes to hardwood forests. Each offers shelter and sustenance to wildlife. The valleys also harbor stunning wildflowers, especially during spring. Check the WV Department of Natural Resources' guide to get to know the state's rich flora.

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in West Virginia?

West Virginia's dense forests house deer, foxes, and black bears. Hikers may also encounter insects like ticks and mosquitoes, especially during warmer months. Awareness and preparation are essential. Check here for more details about the state's wildlife. Protect yourself by wearing appropriate clothing and using insect repellent.