W.Va. State Parks hosts guided hikes January 1 in eight parks

Blackwater Falls in winter

Guided hikes are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022 at eight West Virginia state parks, in conjunction with the national First Day Hikes program. The hikes vary in length and difficulty, although most range from one to three miles and are suitable for all ages.


the Day one hikes are free and designed to showcase the natural beauty of the parks, and guides will provide participants with information on local history, wildlife, and points of interest. Hikes are planned in the following parks.

Hikers should dress in layers to prepare for winter temperatures. Even on the hottest winter days, park officials advise hikers to wear a coat, gloves and hat.

Sturdy boots or shoes are essential to stay comfortable on the track. Hikers can also bring water and snacks for longer walks.

Cold weather hike

The American Hiking Society, a promoter of the national First Day Hikes initiative, offers the following tips for hiking in cold weather:

Dress in layers. While it might be nice to have a huge, fluffy parka on the ski slopes, it really isn’t practical for the slope. Instead, grab several layers that you can peel off or put on when you stop and go out on the trail. Your base layer should be an absorbent fabric that will pull your sweat away from the skin. Overheating is a dangerous threat because excessive moisture that cannot escape can freeze and cause hypothermia. If you’ve ever wondered why some of your jackets have armpit zippers, it’s to circulate air and keep your clothes from getting wet.

Wear a hat! Our heads are filled with oxygen-carrying capillaries that fuel our brains and consume a third of the body’s energy. During the colder months, it is important to keep your head covered to maintain function and not to lose precious body heat. You may want to bring a warmer / heavier hat for downtime.

Keep your water bottle warm. Whether you’re at the campsite or on the trail, a foam sleeve like a koozie will help keep water from freezing in a bottle. Nothing warms your body or mind like hot liquid near a campfire. Boil some water to take with you on your hike. Plus, to keep the water from freezing, keep your water bottle inside your jacket – tightly sealed, of course.

Use a sleeping bag liner. You don’t need to pack yourself up with a heavier sleeping bag for winter camping. Putting a liner in a 20 degree bag is an inexpensive way to increase your bag rating to about 10 more degrees.

Do not throw away sunscreen. While this is very important if you are hiking in a snowy area, winter hikers often overlook the reflections of the sun reflecting off the white snow.

Be prepared for shorter days. From October, twilight sets in earlier and faster than in summer. Get a good idea of ​​the usable daylight hours before you hike. Always carry a headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.

In addition to these tips and tricks, remember to follow normal safety practices also when hiking in winter. Make sure you have the equipment you take with you and if you have specific questions ask a local outdoor expert so you can stay safe.

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