A trip to Grant County is the cure for any family’s case of winter blues or cabin fever. With a variety of opportunities for outdoor adventures, the area has a getaway in store for families of all experience and comfort levels. Choose from a plethora of activities, locations and lodging to fit your group’s interests and abilities.
If someone in your crew has a sweet tooth, consider attending the Mountain State Maple Days Festival on March 20. Hosted by the West Virginia Syrup Producers Association, the festival is a part of a movement to help connect farmers with one another to share insight regarding equipment, technique and practices. Besides acting as a testament to Grant County’s neighborly atmosphere, the maple festival offers visitors an opportunity to explore the farms with self-guided tours, demonstrations and syrup tastings.
If your family prefers to find their own sweet treats, consider visiting one of the area’s “U-Pick” farms for blueberry and huckleberry picking. For a list of farms open for picking, visit pickyourown.org.
Travel through the trees
Grant County is also home to Monongahela National Forest. Known for its versatility in trails for hikers of all experience levels, the forest is the best way to introduce newcomers and city-lovers alike to backcountry exploration. One of Monongahela’s trails, Spruce Knob Lake, is an easy one-mile loop around a stunning lake that gives the perfect backdrop to a family photo. A more moderate hike, High Falls Trail, is a 7.7-mile out-and-back trail that is sure to get hearts pumping with a gorgeous waterfall at the end.
Within Monongahela National Forest is also the beloved Seneca Rocks. The 900-foot rock formation is a well-known destination to outdoor enthusiasts, as its 1.3-mile trail winds to the top, offering a breathtaking view of the valley below. Just 30 minutes from Petersburg, a day on top of Seneca Rocks is an easy activity to add to your family’s itinerary.
Just as popular is Dolly Sods Wilderness, a 17,000-acre section of Monongahela best known for sweeping vistas and unique flora and fauna. Dolly Sods has nearly 50 miles of trails, the most notable summits include Coal Knob, Breathed Mountain and Blackbird Knob.
Rocks and recreation
For families looking for a little more excitement, Nelson Rocks (lovingly called NRocks) is a short drive away. Nelson Rocks is full of sky-high activities with 12 ziplines, three sky bridges and a 40-foot rappel. The adventure center also offers guided climbing adventures and wild caving. Of course, all activities include plenty of safety gear and expert instructors.
Travel below ground at Smoke Hole Caverns for a guided tour of the stunning, otherworldly stalactites and stalagmites that run alongside a cold, clear stream of water. Learn about the history of the caverns and the many people that benefited from its resources — from Seneca Indians smoking wild game to settlers stilling corn whiskey. No matter what your loved ones’ ages, the bizarre-looking formations created in the caverns are sure to make for an unforgettable trip.