7 amazing mountain hikes even the kids will love
Share wonder with your kids on a jaw-dropping mountain hike.
Even these rolling Mountain State trails can be smooth enough for the little ones to tackle. Give them a sense of awe along these interesting (but easy) paths:
1. Seneca Rocks Trail
The 3-mile trek up to the iconic peak of Seneca Rocks may be all uphill, but winding switchbacks lead you gently and gradually upward, which makes it manageable even for the little ones. It’s a popular one for families, so on a nice day, you’ll see plenty of folks taking the stroll.
At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the valley from the viewing platform. Stop into the visitor’s center before you begin the hike to learn more about the surrounding forest.
2. Bluestone Turnpike Trail
Hoping to get away from the crowds for some disconnected family time? This historic trail may be the most popular in the Bluestone National River, but it’s far from busy.
You can only get to this remote wilderness hike through the neighboring Pipestem and Bluestone state parks, but the little ones might find Pipestem’s route a little more magical: swoop from the clifftops all the way down into the gorge on an aerial tram.
From there, meander 10 smooth, scenic miles along the peaceful riverbed.
3. CCC Snipe Trail
With some of the most diverse plant and wildlife, Kanawha State Forest near Charleston is a perfect place for curious youngsters. Most of the trails are moderate and hilly, but the flat 3/4-mile CCC Snipe Trail is an easy-peasy trek.
A footbridge over the creekbed adds rustic charm, and you’ll also pass a historic sealed mine. Learn more about it and the diverse natural wonders on a guided hikes with the park rangers.
4. Beartown State Park boardwalk
Take the antsy little ones on a short but remarkable trail that’s sure to keep them marveling. Beartown State Park in Hillsboro is a giant rock formation, with sunken dips deep enough for a half-mile walkway to wind through. The sandstone towers up around you in a ‘city of rocks,’ with caverns of every size carved into the cliffsides.
5. WV Wildlife Center Trail
There’s nothing more magical to a child than seeing a majestic wild animal. You’re guaranteed to see a few furry critters along the zoo-like nature trail at the WV Wildlife Center in French Creek. It winds past owl, raccoon, fox, cougar and other habitats so you can get a look at wildlife in its natural environment.
6. Trout Pond Loop
Loop 4 miles around the waters of the state’s only natural lake at Trout Pond Recreation Area in the scenic reaches of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. Stop off to dip a line in the water, or treat everyone to an optional 2-mile side route to a panoramic overlook of Rockcliff Lake.
7. North Bend Rail Trail
While you won’t be taking on all of this 72-mile rail trail, there’s plenty to discover together on an out-and-back trek of any length. You may come across parks, small communities, haunted tunnels, craft markets, historic factories and more. Stop in and explore as you go!
Which trails in West Virginia do you enjoy with your kids?