Stay in shape for the holidays, the fun and scenic way!

Do you feel stuffed from too much Thanksgiving stuffing? Wondering how to prepare for Christmas feasts and upcoming holiday celebrations? Here’s what you can do to burn off those extra treats.


Let’s face it: neighborhood walks get pretty boring. But in the mountains, there’s always something to explore. Changing seasons and terrain make exercise engaging, too. Intrigued? You won’t go wrong with New River Gorge’s nationally acclaimed trails.

Top favorites include:

Nuttallburg Trails

  • Keeney’s Creek Rail Trail (easy): a 3-mile venture that combines manmade intrigue with natural beauty. Look forward to historic trestle bridges, picturesque forests, and streams.
  • Headhouse Trail (moderate): this hike’s claim to fame is a historic coal conveyor, which stretches more than 1,000 feet long. Expect steep terrain and a total distance of 1.25 miles.
  • Conveyor Trail (hard): twisting paths, uneven terrain, and steep sections make this path a workout. But the 0.8 mile trail rewards you with lovely views of the gorge and mine.

New River Gorge Trails

  • Fayetteville Health Trail (easy): accessible from downtown Fayetteville, this 1.1-mile path loops through a local park and tranquil forest.
  • Hawks Nest Rail Trail (easy): located at the state park in Ansted, this scenic 1.8-mile path traces along Mill Creek. Waterfalls and mining remnants line the route.
  • Oak Hill Rail Trail (easy): this flat 7.8-mile path takes you through quiet forests and occasional neighborhoods. It’s popular with bike riders, too.
  • Endless Wall Trail (moderate): winner of multiple national awards— including USA Today’s “Best National Park Hike” for 2015— this 2.4 mile-long trail is famous for its breathtaking vistas. The clifftop ridgelines and river views are sublime.
  • Kaymoor Miners’ Trail (hard): this mile-long path has vigorous twists and turns. Hang in there for fascinating mining remnants, including old signs and stone foundations. If you need to burn off extra calories, descend 821 steps deeper into the gorge, where you’ll discover coke ovens and a coal processing plant.

Bike trails

  • Arrowhead Trails: this award-winning stacked-loop system has paths for all types of riders. There are scenic workouts for beginners and twisty turns for experts.
  • Craig Branch Trail (easy): glimpse outstanding views of the gorge along this 2.4-mile (one way) path. Add the Kaymoor Trail if you want to explore a historic mine!
  • Kaymoor Trail (moderate): this 8.6-mile path keeps you motivated with exhibit signs, mining artifacts, and lovely woods. It also connects to other trails.

Winter sports

Winterplace, WV

True fact: you burn more calories when it’s cold outside. That’s because your body needs lots of fuel to keep warm. And at Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, it’s easy to stay outdoors all day. Mountain slopes, terrain parks, and snowtubing lanes entertain you from dawn to dusk. Who knew “exercise” could be so much fun?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Skiing: with a top elevation of 3,600 feet, Winterplace has lots of wild, wonderful room to roam. There are 27 trails for beginners and experts alike. You can even ski at night!
  • Snowboarding: Winterplace boasts 2 terrain parks with obstacles. You’re also free to glide down the trails.
  • Snowtubing: don’t want to ski? Try West Virginia’s largest snowtubing park— all 18 lanes of it! No experience required. For extra winter magic, play at night.

Winterplace makes snow, too. That way, you can play even when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Other perks include equipment rentals, lessons, restaurants, and lodging.

The resort is open from December through March, weather permitting.

How do you like to stay trim during the holidays? Share your ideas!