The Kanawha State Forest is located only seven miles from Charleston, West Virginia, off the I-64 take exit 58A.
The state forest offers many different recreational options for visitors. Visitors can camp in the forest from mid April through the deer hunting season, tent camping or one trailers is allowed per site. There are 46 camp sites available which are equipped with fire places and picnic tables. 25 sites are available with electricity and water facilities. There are two bathhouses in the camp area and a coin operated laundry. Firewood, ice and a dump service are all available. Reservations are only taken during peak holiday seasons. It may be difficult for campers over 26 feet to navigate the roads into the park; it is recommended that visitors with large campers speak with the forest office before arrival to discuss access to the forest.
Recreational activities at the forest include, Mountain Biking on certain trails, these trails can be located on maps that are available from the forest office or downloaded of the forests website. There are over 25 miles of trails for hiking, from the most serious hiker to the trail known as the `Spotted Salamander', which is a paved level trail with Braille interpretive nature stations for visually and physically challenged hikers. Individuals who hold the correct license are able to fish in the Ellison Pond for trout, bass and bluegill from June to February.
The Mountain Biking trails include the Ballard Trail which is 1 1/2 miles and includes a tricky rocky overhang creating a challenging ride for experienced bikers. Or there is the 1 mile steep Black Bear Mountain trail which has an alternative route down the steepest section - `spectator falls'. There are the moderate 3/4 mile trails Mossy Rock Trail and Pigeon Roost trail.
Majority of the hikes in the forest are moderate hikes. The moderate to difficult hike trails are the Lindy Trail - 1/2 mile, the Overlook Rock Trail - 1 1/2 miles and the 1 miles Rattlesnake Trail. Other hiking trails in the forest are the #1 Store Trail which is a moderate 1/4 mile hike starting at the campgrounds. Visitors to the forest who wish to do this hike are able to park at the campgrounds to complete this hike. There are two 2 mile hikes, the Rocky Ridge Trail and the White Hollow trail, as these hikes follow an access road and a ridge top gas well road, hikes are asked to ensure they follow trail blazes carefully. The only easy trail is the interpretive 3/4 mile CCC Snipe Trail.
There are many picnic areas in the forest grounds, which are equipped with grills, tables and bathrooms facilities close by. There are nine large picnic areas that are available for visitors to hire for a small fee through the forest office. Three of the picnic areas are handicapped accessible, play areas for children are located within the picnic areas also.
Special events are held throughout the year at the forest. These events range from special walks that may help raise funds for certain foundations, kids camping events, Birthday Celebrations, such as the West Virginian birthday with concerts being held.
Read about other Charleston West tourist attractions:
- The Beckley Exhibition Coal and Youth Museum, a place to learn the history and culture of an uncommon coal mining region
- Charleston Town Centre is the premier shopping and dining destination in the Tri-State Area
- Avampato - The Clay Centre for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia
- The Shops at Kanawha Plaza, formerly The Kanawha Mall
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