Morgantown is a unique community in West Virginia. With West Virginia University as the largest employer, the core cultural influence on the town and of course the reason that there are thirty thousand students, it is definitely a college town. Opportunities to experience sporting events, theater, music and other cultural events create a more cosmopolitan community than other West Virginia cities.
Morgantown's outdoor resources are a big part of the culture of the area, with many people participating in a wide variety of adventure sports in all seasons. With opportunities to recreate right in town as well as just outside of town, adventure based day trips are plentiful. Located near both the Pennsylvania and Maryland borders, there are also great opportunities just across state lines.
Morgantown has many businesses that cater to visitors. Check out the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau to find information about hotels, restaurants and other local businesses. The City of Morgantown has information on government resources. Two outdoor stores cater to those who need gear for adventure excursions - Pathfinder is a general outdoor store with clothing, bicycles, camping gear, climbing gear, ski gear, boats, etc. It is located in downtown Morgantown. Wamsley's is a bicycle shop located along the rail trail in the Seneca Center.
Urban Trail Running In Morgantown (Highland Outdoors)
Outdoor Recreation Locations near Morgantown
With the introduction of the Monongahela River Trail and Deckers Creek Trail in the 1990s, bicycling in Morgantown became much more accessible. For those who are just looking for a casual ride, there are multiple trail access locations right in town. If you are looking for a longer ride, head into Preston County or to Fairmont or check out Road Cycling around Morgantown. The Cheat Lake Trail is just outside of town.
There are a few campgrounds in the Morgantown area, all located on Chestnut Ridge to the east of town. Coopers Rock State Forest has two campgrounds, an RV and tent campground and a new tent -only more primitive loop. Chestnut Ridge County Park also includes a campground. All three of these options allow close access to the other activities and recreation resources at Coopers Rock area.
Since the introduction of the Monongahela River Trail, there has been a greater focus on the Monongahela River as a recreational resource. City parks on the river downtown and in Star City as well as access locations and docks just outside of town have given canoeing and kayaking a boost in popularity. Cheat Lake offers multiple locations for access and does have no wake zones to get away from power boats. Dunkard Creek, Big Sandy Creek, Tygart River (Grafton) and Tygart Lake are locations within forty five minutes of town that also offer great river or lake canoeing.
Cross Country Skiing
If you want to take a hike in town without doing much or any driving, check out these locations: Arboretum, Monongahela and Deckers Rail Trails, Krepps Park, White Park. Just outside of town there are a few more great local hiking destinations: West Run/Bakers Ridge, WV Botanic Garden, Cheat Lake Trail, Snake Hill WMA & Coopers Rock.
Three locations in town offer mountain biking that you can get to without driving. White Park has been a pet project of local riders and trails have been built and improved over the last few years. Westover City Park has newly built trails and is a good location for beginners. Coopers Rock area has been a riding destination for years. Quebec Run Valley Falls and Big Bear are located within forty minutes of town and offer larger trail systems. MAMBA (Morgantown Area Mountain Bike Alliance) is the new IMBA chapter in town and is working on supporting and improving mountain bike resources in the area.
When the summer temperatures get hot and you want to take a dip, there are a number of places around Morgantown to choose from. Cheat Lake and Chestnut Ridge Park have swimming areas. Deckers Creek includes a few waterfalls and swimming holes. Blue Hole, the Cheat Canyon and the Cheat Narrows offer classic swimming holes all near town.
Without a lot of fanfare, whitewater rivers and creeks offer the largest number and quality of adventure recreation spots near Morgantown. There is a wide variety of runs that kayakers and rafters can play on close enough to town that an evening paddle is quite common. Whiteday Creek, Little Sandy Creek (Upper), Little Sandy Creek (Lower), Cheat River Canyon, Big Sandy Creek (Upper), Big Sandy Creek (Lower), Three Forks Creek, Valley Falls, Cheat River Narrows.