Tri-State boasts several trails
The Tri-State is blessed with many great trails and walking areas that can help keep you fit.
Here’s a quick look:
RITTER PARK: OK, this is a no brainer since the 9/10th of a mile circular path along 13th Avenue and 12th Street is one of the most trodden loops in the Tri-State, but not everyone knows that the lower path (which follows Fourpole Creek) can be taken for a 2-mile, one-way walk or 4 miles round trip from the west side of 8th Street all the way down past the Memorial Arch to 14th Street West.
ROTARY PARK: Trails abound through Rotary, the largest of the parks maintained by Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District. Try the two 18-hole disc golf courses or park at the top and hike the paved path, hike the roadways or the disc golf courses. Call the park district at 304-525-5183 or go online to www.ghprd.org.
HUNTINGTON MUSEUM OF ART: You easily can do the Huntington Museum of Art trails at lunch or hit it at sunrise or sunset. Access the Tulip Tree Trail behind the right side of the building (look for the giant eagle steel sculpture). In the woods below, connect to 1 1/2 miles of trails including the Tulip Tree, which has just been adorned with sculptures from Glenwood, W.Va., artist Earl Gray. In 2009, the museum is opening a new sensory trail that will connect with the existing trail at the museum. Call 304-529-2701.
BEECH FORK LAKE: Both sides of Beech Fork Lake (the state park side south of Barboursville and the Corps of Engineers side near Lavalette) are blessed with good trails. On the State Park side, check out Lost Trail. On the Corps side, check out Rock Hollow Trail (a half-mile loop trail) and the1.4-mile loop Spillway Trail. Longer trails include the Beaver Pond and the Twin Coves Trails on the Corps side. Call 304-525-4831.
LAKE VESUVIUS: For a longer day hike and a great wintertime hike through the rocky outcroppings around Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area, take the 8-mile hiking loop around the lake, which is located just north of Ironton.
GREENBO: Greenbo Lake State Resort Park near Greenup, Ky., has a great system of multi-purpose trails for mountain biking and hiking. Just a few of those trails include the Michael Tygart Trail, the Claylick Loop, Carpenter’s Run and the Nature Trail. Call 606-473-7324.
CARTER CAVES: Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill, Ky., may be more known for its subterranean world, since Carter County is filled with more than 200 caves, but the state park is also blessed with nearly 30 miles of trails and some of the best loop trails in the region. Check out the Three Bridges Trail and 4 C's Trail that takes you past some of the region's best natural bridges. Call 606-286-4411.
HOCKING HILLS WINTER HIKE: Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio, hosts a winter hike every January, but you can take that scenic 6-mile trek from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave anytime. Layered clothing and good footwear are recommended. Call 740-385-6841.
GRANDVIEW AT NEW RIVER: Winter season is a great time to explore the rugged beauty of the New River Gorge. Grandview, at exit 129 on I-64 east of Beckley, only minutes from town, is a great place to get outdoors and experience a winter natural area. Numerous overlooks and five miles of trails provide long healthy walks, unsurpassed views of the New River Gorge and wildlife watching. Call 304-456-0508.
JESSE STUART: The Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve, just outside Greenup, Ky., off Kentucky 2443, offers an easy three-mile trail that winds its way through the 733-acre preserve dedicated to Kentucky's late poet laureate, whose words still sing on the breeze. Bring along a blank pad and pen and/or "Man With a Bull-Tongue Plow" for inspiration.
SHAWNEE STATE PARK: Shawnee, Ohio's largest state forest, boasts 60,000 acres and also contains one of the state's premier backpack trails. It lies about an hour northeast from Huntington near Shawnee State Park, just around an Ohio River bend or two from Portsmouth, Ohio, near Friendship, Ohio. This often strenuous, 43-mile backpack trail marked with orange blazes can be broken into any number of loops. There are seven water sources along the trail and designated camping areas. Call (740) 858-6685.
ZALESKI BACKPACK TRAIL: The 23-mile Zaleski Backpack Trail in southeast Ohio, marked by orange blazes, loops its way along old roads past abandoned mines, former farms and an Indian ceremonial mound. Call (740) 596-5781.
KANAWHA TRACE: A well-kept secret, Kanawha Trace is a more than 40-year-old trail maintained by the Boy Scouts. It follows portions of the James and Kanawha River Turnpike, the Midland Trail and Hannan Trace. The trail is 31 miles and contains a number of shelters, including Blackjack School, an old one-room schoolhouse. Call the Tri-State Council of the Boy Scouts of America at 304-523-3408. Trail guides are available for $7. A permit to hike the trail costs 50 cents.
GREENBRIER RIVER: Backpacker Magazine ranks the 77-mile Greenbrier River Trail, with 35 bridges and two tunnels, as one of the top 10 hiking trails in the United States. With restroom facilities every 8 to 10 miles and bed and breakfasts dotted along the way, this is a perfect multi-day bike trip. Also, it is a great bike trip for those who love fishing because the beautiful Greenbrier River flows alongside the trail. Call the Pocahontas County (W.Va.) Visitors and Convention Bureau at (800) 336-7009 or call the Lewisburg Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 833-2068. Or go online at www.greenbrierrivertrail.com.