Hiking in the springtime is a treat I’ve never experienced. The snowpack and cold weather kept us out of the mountains until June in Colorado, and the thunderstorms, heat, and crowds that follow made hike often unbearable. It’s a whole new world out here in West Virginia.
We arrived in Audra State Park around noon and enjoyed the flowing water of the Middle Fork River while we ate sandwiches before our hike. A handful of cars awaited the return of their owners in the main parking lot, but otherwise, we had the park mostly to ourselves.
Middle Fork River’s clear, turquoise waters draw people to this state park. The water glides slowly down the mountain, collecting in several pools where swimming is permitted. I love sticking my feet in some cold water, but not April cold, so I can’t confirm whether you should get in it quite yet. Regardless, it’s beautiful.
Alum Creek and Cave Trail
Distance: 3.0 Miles
We completed this hike counterclockwise, starting at the high road per the recommendations of other hikers on AllTrails. This option gets your incline out of the way early and leaves the prettiest parts of the hike for last.
The hike begins with an easy incline through a well-marked trail. The plants in this section are further from the water and still waking up from winter.
Moss-covered boulders provide beautiful contrast for your eyes to explore.
Rainforest-like scenery soon surrounds you when you turn the corner to the lower road. I’ve never felt such spongey ground, even on hikes in Hawaii. The roots and decay are pleasant to walk on for the remainder of the hike.
The river starts to peak through the trees and budding Rhododendron plants.
The hikes ends with the main attraction: the boardwalk through Alum Cave. Water dripped from the rocky overhang onto the steps leading down to the boardwalk. Latty, who refused to walk down the wet steps herself, enjoyed her river views from my arms.
The boardwalk provides stunning views of the river. It’s a real treat.
Audra State Park is a mountain gem. The staff and volunteers beautifully preserve it, making it a place we’ll be coming back to for years to come. The Rhododendron plants were about to bloom. Maybe a trip back will come sooner than we first thought.
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All pictures were taken by me (or my husband if I’m in it). All Rights Reserved.