Canaan Valley State Park and Resort
It may be a little-known fact outside the state, but West Virginia’s state park system is among the best in the nation. Far beyond scenic overlooks and picnic shelters, our state parks know how to show off the best parts of the Mountain State. Canaan Valley State Park and Resort is a case in point.
This sweeping public land marks the third largest state park in West Virginia and is one of America’s Best Parks according to Frommer’s Travel Guide. We tend to agree. The park is situated in the highest valley east of the Mississippi. Being the highest low point is an odd designation, but it’s true nonetheless. And it’s an apt description of a park full of seeming contradictions—wilderness and luxury, mountaintop views, and lowland ecology.
The 6,014-acre park, nestled in the oldest mountain range in the U.S.—the Appalachians, Canaan Valley State Park was established relatively recently in 1963 when land-owner S. Maude Kaemmerling willed a portion of land to the state for recreational use with the stipulation that 3,000 more acres of adjacent land be purchased.
What exists today as Canaan Valley State Park was formerly known as Weiss Knob Ski Area after speculators identified the valley as an excellent location for a ski resort where the shaded mountainside kept snow cover into April. Opening in 1971, the park became the first ski resort in the state. Since then, development of all-season outdoor pursuits has made CVSP a top destination in the southeastern U.S.
Certainly, Canaan Valley State Park and Resort is best known as a ski resort, and for good reason. Averaging 150 inches of snow each winter, the park’s rolling landscape accommodates downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and a long, meandering snowtubing course.
Yet, the warm-season adventure to be had is nothing to scoff at. Perhaps the most notable amenity is the 18-hole, par 72, championship golf course. Rated four stars by Golf Digest Magazine, the course features 65 sand bunkers and 8 water hazards.
For those looking for something a bit more rugged, there are abundant trails for hiking and biking, streams for fishing and wading. Bike rentals make it easy for tourists to skip town without loading the car with gear. The trails range from easy to moderate and offer views of the valley and wildflower meadows.
In summer and fall, scenic chairlift rides are the best way to take in the entirety of the valley. Organized activities range form sporting clays and archery to mini-golf and geocaching. Kids love the climbing wall and Euro Bungee.
Staying at Canaan Valley State Park and Resort
No matter what you have in mind for your getaway, Canaan Valley State Park and Resort has the amenity to suit your taste. The resort proper contains 150 full-service rooms and suites. To get a little closer to nature while retaining modern conveniences, there are 23 adorably appointed cabins. You’ll be able to enjoy the wildlife up close and personal but without foregoing indoor plumbing. It’s a win-win if you ask us. But, don’t worry; camping opportunities from rustic to less-rustic abound. Thirty-four tent sites and RV hookups beckon visitors who seek the full Canaan Valley experience.
Relaxation is always within reach, no matter the season, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, and a sauna. A luxury spa offers a full menu of massage options, facials, and couples packages. The arcade and fitness club round out the available amenities within the resort.
Get Your Fill
What’s a resort experience without food and beverage? Canaan Valley State Park and Resort doesn’t skimp when it comes to restaurant and bar choices. The Hickory Room, the resort’s main dining room, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you’ll get more than a full belly. The floor-to-ceiling windows facing the valley offer a panoramic feast for the eyes. In wintertime the enormous fireplace roars.
Laurel Lounge is your destination for a hand-crafted mixed drink and light fare in the middle of a jam-packed itinerary of activities. No time to rest on your laurels? (Ha! See what we did there?) Stop in at Season’s Café to grab a bite and head on your way.
During a full day of hitting the slopes, the Bear Paw Food Court makes for the perfect landing zone and meet up. This cafeteria-style food court is the perfect midday refueling station. And, at the end of a long day of shredding, meet up with friends at Quencher’s Pub. After your last run, you can kick the snow off your boots and enjoy a cold one at this slope-side watering hole.