West Virginia Journeys That Should be on Every Adventurer’s Bucket List

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Tucked among the miles and miles of outdoor playground in the Mountain State are a few shining gems— truly once ­in ­a ­lifetime experiences.

We’re not just talking about world­class adventures. These are experiences that you can’t find anywhere else.

These are the real adventures in West Virginia you should try at least once:

1. Walk Hundreds of Feet, Straight Up
If you’re not a seasoned rock climber, the V​ia Ferrata at NRocks​offers a chance to experience the ascent without the technical training. Part climb and part hike, it’s a stunning journey up a cliffside on steel rung steps, reaching heights of 200 feet— 300 if you’re bold enough to scale the optional challenge stretch at the end.

2. Get Eye­Level with Eagles at Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory
Hanging Rock is not the only migration observatory, but, as any experienced birder who has been here will tell you, it’s the most awe­inspiring. The hike out brings you to the peak of a mountaintop boulder, then you’ll climb even higher to a rustic outpost. At the top, you can see the rolling peaks of the mountain range for miles on end, eye­level with majestic hawks, falcons and eagles.

3. Climb the East Coast’s Most Remote Peak
The only “true peak” on the East Coast, S​eneca Rocks​is a default must for climbers. But just because you can’t reach the pinnacle without climbing doesn’t mean you can’t hike far enough up for an amazing view. The trek up the jagged rock fins is steep, but offers plenty of rest stops.

4. Leap at One of the World’s Only BASE Jumping Sites
Bridge Day​brings together the world’s most seasoned BASE jumpers for the chance of a lifetime, just once a year. Hundreds of spectators gather to watch them leap from the 876­foot­high New River Gorge Bridge into the canyon below. A few hopefuls even get the chance to take a tandem jump, joining the tight ranks of only a few thousand people who can say they have ever made such a leap.

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5. Stunt through the Skies on a WWII Biplane
Experience razor­sharp aerial maneuvering in a WWII biplane. Chris at Wild Blue Adventure Company is every bit as graceful as his WWI counterparts, and you can best appreciate his skill and precision from the passenger’s seat. Strap­in and experience thrilling aerobatic moves in this real restored warplane.

6. Bike or Hike a Rare ‘Epic’­Level Trail

One of only a handful of trails in the world to be awarded “Epic” distinction by the International Mountain Biking Association for its rugged beauty, the 25­mile North Fork Mountain Trail traces backcountry ridges overlooking the natural wonder of Seneca Rocks. This scenic route is not for the faint of heart. There are no easy bail­out points, and no water available either, so you have to come fully prepared. But it will be one of the most amazing journeys of your life.

7. Raft a World­Famous Waterfall on the Gauley
Although this elusive world­class river route is only runnable for a select few days in the fall, the Gauley River has earned legendary status as one of the T​op 10 Whitewater Rivers in the World.​ It’s not strictly for experienced paddlers, but its swift pace and massive rapids make it a worthy challenge. The highlight is the famous “Big 5′′ rapids, which ends with a ride over the 14­foot Sweets Falls.

How many of these once­in­a­lifetime adventures have you completed, and which are on your bucket list?

Discover more bucket­list adventures in WV.​

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