Take in the beauty of the Cheat River Gorge and its seemingly unending canopy of green in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia.

Coopers Rock State Forest in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia (photo courtesy of West Virginia Department of Natural Resources)

Step onto the overlook at Coopers Rock State Forest for one of the best views of the summer. A stone and wood fence is all that separates you from the edge of this lofty sandstone outcropping. From the elevated perch, take in the summer beauty of the Cheat River Gorge and its seemingly unending canopy of green. (Return in the autumn to marvel at the beauty as the forest turns brilliant orange and fiery red or visit during the winter when a dusting of snow coats the bare tree branches.)

Coopers Rock State Forest is a must-see spot for those interested in local legends, as its famous namesake suggests. The story goes that a fugitive cooper — or barrel-maker — once used the area as a hideout. History enthusiasts will also enjoy visiting the picnic shelters built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public works relief program that employed men during the Great Depression. See if you can find the Henry Clay Furnace, an abandoned, moss-covered iron furnace along the trail near Cheat Neck.

After exploring any of the forest’s 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, check in at Mountain Creek Cabins. These wood-paneled deluxe cabins offer a touch of home amid West Virginia’s natural wilderness and are available year-round.

For those who prefer traveling RV-style, park your vehicle at the McCollum Campground. Internet, electrical hookups and a bathhouse still promise a comfortable trip. For the traditional campers, Rhododendron Campground provides a tents-and-hammocks-only location to better connect with the natural beauty of West Virginia. Sleep outside and take in the star-filled summer sky.  

61 County Line Dr., Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, 304/594-1561, wvstateparks.com