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Get Outside, Enjoy Nature

Spring is in the air. Beautiful, sun-kissed days. Cool, crisp nights. The sights and smells of Mother Nature’s reawakening surrounds us following a gray winter.

There’s no better way to enjoy these wonderful days than with a visit to a local or state park — or even a nearby national park, particularly if you include some hiking.

Getting outside and active really is as easy as a jaunt to Wheeling Park or Oglebay Park. There are paved trails; there are trails through the woods. The hikes can be as easy or as strenuous as you can handle.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and are seeking a day trip to celebrate the outdoors, visit a state park. Within two hours of Wheeling are a few gems:

– Coopers Rock State Forest, located east of Morgantown, has some of the best views and hiking imaginable. There are plenty of trails to satisfy the beginner or more experienced adventurer, and the overlook always is worth a visit.

– Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio is just two hours from Wheeling and, much like Coopers Rock, offers just about every type of outdoor adventure imaginable. Old Man’s Cave is a wonder.

– Another nearby gem is Ohiopyle State Park in Ohiopyle, Pa. The Jonathan Run Trail leads you to Jonathan Run Falls, a sight to see following a 2-mile hike. There’s also excellent whitewater rafting along the Youghiogheny River — beginners or families with younger children can float the Middle Yough, while those looking for a world-class whitewater adventure can be challenged on the Upper Yough.

If you’re looking for more, head to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in Fayetteville, W.Va., where you can hike, raft the New River or the Gauley River and explore the nation’s newest national park.

The most important thing, folks, is to get outside, get active and enjoy nature.

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