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The region that would eventually become Kanawha State Forest was owned by a mining and lumber company, which razed the area for its natural goods. Alarmed about the lack of wilderness, the state of West Virginia began buying up that land in the 1930s. As a part of the New Deal established by President Roosevelt, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) descended upon the plundered hills. They planted tens of thousands of trees, removed mining structures and tools, built roads, and constructed log cabins that park rangers would later use, and picnic shelters. They also blazed several miles of trails, many of which are still used today. Upon completion, Kanawha State Forest was officially established as a state forest.
The closest large town is Charleston, which is the capital of the state. One of its most famous residents was Daniel Boone, who was a well-known frontiersman. Today, the city is well known for hosting several annual events, festivals, and fairs, at which people flock for miles around for delicious food, one-of-a-kind art, and crafted goods. Start the perfect RV camping adventure today, and search for an RV in Kanawha County, WV.
Over 9,300 acres sprawl over mountains, valleys, babbling creeks, and meadows. Twenty-five miles of established trails meander and weave through second-growth trees. Though only a few decades old, they stand tall, their branches reach out to form a lacy canopy that filters dappled light onto the forest floor below. Some of these trails are designated multi-use, shared with bikers who enjoy whizzing by over gnarled roots and fallen trees. There are around 25 miles of additional trails that hikers are allowed to explore. However, no longer maintained or marked, it may be easy to lose the trails. Hikers are cautioned to be familiar with reading maps and orienteering.
Fish teem in the creeks bouncing and twisting through the forests of Kanawha State Forest. Anglers can expect to catch a couple of species of trout, bass, and bluegill.
Kanawha State Forest also operates a shooting range, though only paper targets are permitted. All participants must have appropriate gun licenses and basic gun safety.
For even more recreational fun, head to one of the neighboring state parks and state forests. The Forks of Coal State Natural Area is a small, but underrated park. Near Washington, WV, the Forks has a few miles of hiking trails that pass by unique geological features like small caves, waterfalls that appear and disappear with snowmelt, and the foundations of the original homesteads that are estimated to be from the early 1800s.
Wake up in the comforts of an Airstream rental as birds serenade dawn. Listen to bullfrogs and crickets as they prepare for the coming of night. Kanawha State Forest RV campground has 46 sites, and 25 of these also have electric and water hookups. There are two bathrooms and a coin-operated laundry room. All sites come with a fireplace that can be used for grilling supper and a picnic table. One catch, though: this campground is the original facility created by CCC, and in those days, vehicles were not very large. As a result, this campground can accommodate vehicles only up to 26 feet long.
There are a few other campgrounds in the area that may be good options to consider. Ole Henry’s Camping Retreat near Branchland, WV, is a year-round facility that boasts several amenities like a country store, restaurant, and bathrooms. ATV trails pass by the campground, and there is a short spur that guests can use to access these trails. It also offers full or partial hookups, WiFi, and kayak rentals.
Charleston is a small but bustling city of around 60,000 residents. The city has several museums, art centers, and galleries, and festivals held throughout the year. The small towns of West Virginia shouldn’t be discounted; they too have interesting attractions and features. Stop in one of the remote towns in a motorhome rental and search for the perfect souvenir to take home to remind you of the perfect RV camping trip in Kanawha State Forest.
Hamlin is a small mountain town that’s best known for being the hometown of famed aviator pilot, Chuck Yeager, who some say is the first test pilot in America. He was the first man to surpass the speed of sound in a flight. Samuel Shrewsbury House in Belle, locally known as the Old Stone House, is one of the oldest fieldstone homes in West Virginia that’s still standing today. It, along with several other architectural homes in the area, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At the end of an exciting day of sightseeing and outdoor adventure, kick up your heels outside a camper rental and watch twinkling stars appear in the night sky.