We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nearest touch of nature”

Kanawha State Forest
Ranked #8 of 49 things to do in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A convenient location, just seven miles south of Charleston, plus a large swimming pool, playground, hiking and biking trails and a 9,300-acre forest, make this recreational area one of the most popular in West Virginia.
Charleston, West Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Nearest touch of nature”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

A beautiful little park about 15 minutes outside of Charleston. Not particularly well advertised or famous (likely the reason it remains pristine), it has a good reputation with local botanists and mountain bikers as well as those who just want to walk and enjoy the woods.

A note for the unwary: You will have NO PHONE SERVICE here. It doesn't matter what your carrier is. Take a map to get you out of the area and be prepared for a few hours without phone calls, texts, or internet service.

Visited June 2013
8 Thank Sasha S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

108 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Berea, Kentucky
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Hidden Treasure”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

It is so close to Charleston, and it is surprising how unblemished it is. The walking trails were nice, and we got to see a lot of unusual plants including a Ghost Plant and a Coral Fungus. I would have liked to have had either a trail map or better signs for their trails, but I had printed out the hiking trail descriptions so we knew difficulty and location before we started out.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank KYTravelingMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, West Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2013

I walk and ride my bike around Kanawha State Forest often. The wildflowers in the spring are wonderful and I love the streams, picnic areas. The camping area is very nice as well.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Debbie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“How about some maps?”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

Beautiful State park, however, there wasn't a map to be found and there were poorly marked trails as to what you would see once yo ustarted down the path and/or the length. These items would help. Also, my hotel didn't have any info so brochures provided to area hoteliers would be helpful.

Visited June 2013
3 Thank WNC G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, WV
Level 5 Contributor
30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Kanawha State forest has a wealth of things to do and see. There is a small, wheelchair accessible nature trail (the trail is flat). There's a swimming pool, several playgrounds, picnic shelters, a kids' and handicap-accessible fishing pond, a gun range, a campground, and a really huge netowrk of trails. The trails are where it's at in Kanawha State Forest. The map offered by the Forest Office is OK- but not anything to write home about. If you're good at finding your way around, it will do. More than that- you may want to stop at Charleston Blueprint and pick up the topo maps of the area. The trail network is somewhat difficult, because it consists of a mix of old and current logging roads (and gas well access roads) that you access via genuine old-fashioned trails. The trails are all pretty steep (but relatively short) to get you to the "roads." The network creates a really large variety of trail combinations you can do - pace yourself. In the past, there have been some security issues in the parking areas - particularly the ones further back in the park - don't leave your stuff sitting out in your car. They are occasionally broken into. Because of the steepness of the mountains, you'll find cell service and GPS reception can be difficult. You can always get cell service by tromping to the top of a trail. You'll find some amazing attractions back in the forest - beautiful waterfalls, rocky ridges, Alligator Rock - that really looks like an alligator, an old coal mine entrance, loads of amazing wildlife. It is an overall great place!

Visited May 2013
6 Thank rpdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Kanawha State Forest also viewed


Been to Kanawha State Forest? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing