The Best Outdoor Adventures in Parkersburg

Parkersburg, West Virginia, is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, or just exploring nature, this city has something for everyone. With many parks, trails, and rivers, you won’t run out of things to do. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure in Parkersburg!

Key Takeaways

  • North Bend Rail Trail offers 72 miles of scenic horseback riding and biking paths.
  • McDonough Wildlife Refuge is perfect for spotting local wildlife like deer and foxes.
  • The Ohio River provides great opportunities for kayaking and fishing.
  • North Bend State Park features 14 hiking trails for all skill levels.
  • Mountwood Park offers 30 miles of horseback riding trails and camping facilities.

1. North Bend Rail Trail

The North Bend Rail Trail is a 72-mile path that starts near Parkersburg and ends close to Clarksburg. This trail is perfect for those who enjoy the journey as much as the destination. It spans 72 miles from Happy Valley Rd/CR 47/26 (Cedar Grove) to School St/Old US 50 (Wolf Summit).

Along the way, you’ll cross 36 bridges and go through 10 tunnels, including the "haunted" Silver Run Tunnel. The trail offers easy riding and is known for its beautiful mountainous scenery. It’s a great spot for both beginners and experienced riders.

Whether you’re hiking a few miles or embarking on a thru-hike, the North Bend Rail Trail offers a unique adventure.

If you’re looking for more challenges, North Bend State Park is nearby with its rugged singletrack trails. Mountain bikers can also explore the 35 miles of trails at Mountwood Park, which surround a pristine lake.

2. McDonough Wildlife Refuge

The McDonough Wildlife Refuge spans 277 acres and offers a fantastic opportunity to see West Virginia’s wildlife. Visitors can spot white-tailed deer, turkey, red and gray foxes, and even coyotes along the well-marked trails. This refuge is perfect for hiking, biking, and bird-watching.

Activities to Enjoy

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Bird-watching
  • ATV driving
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Boating

Whether you’re an avid nature lover or just looking for a peaceful retreat, McDonough Wildlife Refuge has something for everyone.

3. Ohio River

The Ohio River offers a variety of outdoor adventures for everyone. You can explore the river with guided tours, enjoy wildlife sightings, or find perfect swimming spots. Kayaking is a popular activity here, with 39 miles of the Ohio River and 18 miles of the Little Kanawha River available for paddling. The gentle currents of the Little Kanawha make it ideal for all skill levels.

For those who love biking, the scenic routes along the river are a must-try. Historical landmarks dot the area, adding a touch of history to your adventure. Family-friendly activities abound, ensuring everyone has a great time.

Remember to stay safe with essential tips and enjoy your time on the Ohio River.

4. North Bend State Park

North Bend State Park outdoor adventure

North Bend State Park is a hidden gem in the Mid-Ohio Valley, surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, lakes, and streams. This park is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, or boating, there’s something for everyone here.

The park boasts 14 hiking trails, making it a great spot for beginner hikers or those who prefer to stay within the park. If you love mountain biking, you’ll find challenging singletracks that circle the park’s lake, campgrounds, and lodge. For those who enjoy water activities, the park offers excellent fishing and boating opportunities.

  • **Park Activities: **

    • Biking
    • Boating
    • Camping
    • Fishing
    • Geocaching
    • Hiking
    • Outdoor Adventures
    • Swimming
  • **Nearby Activities: **

    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Aerial Tours
    • ATV Riding

You might have to travel a bit off the beaten path to get to North Bend State Park, but that just adds to the adventure. Plan your trip today and explore the best trails and nature escapes in Parkersburg.

The park also features cozy cabins and an updated lodge, perfect for a relaxing stay. With 75 total campsites, including options for RVs and campers, you can enjoy a comfortable nature retreat. Book your getaway today and experience all that North Bend has to offer.

5. Mountwood Park

Mountwood Park outdoor adventure

Mountwood Park is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers a wide range of activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone. One of the highlights is the 30 miles of horseback riding trails, where you can bring your own horse from April 1 through October 31. The park even provides a campsite with showers and stalls for your equine friend.

Visitors can also enjoy:

  • Mountain biking
  • Rail trail biking
  • Kayaking
  • Bird-watching
  • Hiking
  • ATV driving
  • Fishing
  • Boating

The park’s clearly marked trails make it easy to explore and spot local wildlife, including white-tailed deer, turkey, red and gray fox, and even coyote. Whether you’re looking to camp, hike, or simply enjoy nature, Mountwood Park is the place to be.

Mountwood Park truly lives up to its slogan, "something for everyone."

6. Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem for nature lovers. This refuge offers a unique opportunity to explore the charm of West Virginia‘s natural beauty. In summer, a wide diversity of wildlife becomes visible, from tiny insects to larger animals. Visitors can enjoy various activities, including kayaking tours and wildlife safaris.

  • Summer Safari: On July 23, 2024, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, join a guided tour to see the diverse wildlife.
  • Kayak Tour: On July 26, 2024, from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm, paddle through the backchannel of Middle Island.

The Mid-Ohio Valley region is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature. The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge offers a peaceful escape with its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife.

7. Greater Parkersburg CVB

outdoor adventure Parkersburg

The Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is your go-to resource for exploring the great outdoors of Parkersburg. Located at 113 Ann Street, this bureau offers a wealth of information to help you plan your visit. Whether you’re looking for places to stay, eat, or explore, they’ve got you covered.

You can request or download a free visitors guide, which is packed with tips and recommendations. The CVB also offers a newsletter to keep you updated on local events and attractions. If you love everything about Parkersburg, this is the place to start your adventure.


  • What To Do
  • Where to Stay
  • Where to Eat
  • Media & Blog
  • Events
  • Local Services
  • Area Info
  • Contact Us
  • About Us
  • Groups & Meetings

A Small Town with a Big Heart – that’s how Parkersburg is often described, and the CVB is here to make sure you experience it to the fullest.

8. Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains offer a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures near Parkersburg. This vast mountain range is perfect for hiking, camping, and exploring nature. The scenic views are breathtaking, making it a must-visit for nature lovers.

State Forests

  • Cabwaylingo
  • Calvin Price
  • Coopers Rock
  • Greenbrier
  • Kanawha
  • Kumbrabow
  • Panther
  • Seneca

Rail Trails

  • Elk River Trail
  • Greenbrier River Trail
  • North Bend Rail Trail

State Parks

  • Audra
  • Babcock
  • Beartown
  • Beech Fork
  • Berkeley Springs
  • Blackwater Falls
  • Blennerhassett Island
  • Bluestone
  • Cacapon
  • Camp Creek and Forest
  • Canaan Valley
  • Carnifex Ferry Battlefield
  • Cass Scenic Railroad
  • Cathedral
  • Cedar Creek
  • Chief Logan
  • Droop Mountain Battlefield
  • Fairfax Stone
  • Hawks Nest
  • Holly River
  • Little Beaver
  • Lost River
  • Moncove Lake
  • North Bend
  • Pinnacle Rock
  • Pipestem
  • Prickett’s Fort
  • Stonewall
  • Summersville Lake
  • Tomlinson Run

The Appalachian Mountains are a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. Whether you’re hiking through dense forests or exploring historic rail trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

9. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a gem located between Akron and Cleveland. This park offers a variety of outdoor activities that cater to all ages and interests. With over 145 miles of trails, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. The park is also home to beautiful waterfalls, a historic covered bridge, and stunning views that will leave you in awe.

For those who love winter sports, the park has ski resorts that are perfect for a snowy adventure. The wonderful information center provides all the details you need to make the most of your visit. Whether you’re looking to explore the trails or simply relax in nature, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has something for everyone.

10. Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. Located about 30 minutes from Parkersburg, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities. You can explore stunning caves, hike scenic trails, and enjoy breathtaking waterfalls. The park is perfect for both relaxation and adventure.


  • Hiking: Numerous trails ranging from easy to challenging.
  • Waterfalls: Visit popular spots like Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls.
  • Wildlife: Spot local animals and birds.

Nearby Attractions

  • Wayne National Forest: Ideal for extended hiking and camping.
  • Ohio University: Just a short drive away for a quick educational trip.

Hocking Hills State Park is a gem for anyone looking to connect with nature and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.


Parkersburg is a treasure trove of outdoor adventures waiting to be explored. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, horseback riding, or simply enjoying nature, there’s something for everyone. The beautiful trails, scenic rivers, and abundant wildlife make it a perfect destination for adventure seekers. So, pack your bags, grab your gear, and head to Parkersburg for an unforgettable outdoor experience. Don’t forget to share your adventures and keep the spirit of exploration alive!

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities can I do at North Bend Rail Trail?

You can enjoy horseback riding, biking, hiking, and even bird-watching along the 72 miles of the North Bend Rail Trail.

Is McDonough Wildlife Refuge good for wildlife spotting?

Yes, you can see white-tailed deer, turkey, red and gray fox, and coyotes along the trails at McDonough Wildlife Refuge.

Can I go kayaking on the Ohio River?

Absolutely! The Ohio River is perfect for scenic kayaking adventures.

What can I do at North Bend State Park?

North Bend State Park offers hiking, biking, camping, bird-watching, and fishing among its 14 trails and various outdoor spots.

Are there horseback riding trails at Mountwood Park?

Yes, Mountwood Park has 30 miles of horseback riding trails and facilities to accommodate your horse.

What makes Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge special?

The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge is known for its unique islands that provide habitats for various wildlife and offer great spots for fishing and kayaking.

Where can I find information about outdoor activities in Parkersburg?

The Greater Parkersburg CVB is a great resource for tips and information on all the outdoor activities in the area.

Are the Appalachian Mountains near Parkersburg good for hiking?

Yes, the Appalachian Mountains near Parkersburg have some of the best hiking trails, offering stunning views and varied terrain.

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