Free Outdoor Recreation

With more than 1.5 million acres of public lands and more than 2,000 miles of trails, the Mountain State is the perfect place to leave the stress of work at home and find new meaning amid the fresh mountain air.

What exactly does free outdoor recreation mean?

In the Mountain State, you can go for a hike in your backyard or try your hand at high adventure with rafting, mountain biking and climbing. To help you explore your new home, all Ascend WV participants will receive a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities across the state through the Digital Outdoor Recreation Pass. This exclusive-to-members pass is valid for one year and begins either May 1 or November 1 to maximize our four seasons of adventure.

Once you’ve been accepted to the program, you’ll have the opportunity to opt in to either the May 1 or the November 1 start date. *Dates valid for 2023.

We recommend that you choose a date with a good buffer after your expected move date, as you’ll want plenty of time to settle in before activating the pass (expires after 1 year).

This exclusive-to-members passport to adventure is valid for one full year within your two-year Ascend WV program period. With exhilarating experiences provided by outdoor partners from across the state, this is the perfect way for you to get to know the state of West Virginia on an intimate level. From whitewater rafting excursions to zipline adventures, you will have no problem jumping right in! Here’s a sneak peek of the adventures you’ll get to experience with the pass.

Ready to nail down your first road trip or plan the perfect adventure before you make the move? Get a head-start by checking out endless itineraries and inspiration from our friends at West Virginia Tourism.

Explore Ascend Featured Excursions


Hit the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System for some rugged adventure off the beaten path. Whatever off-road vehicle you choose, you are sure to catch some speed on the trail.


Soar through the looming tree-tops of West Virginia and release all of your cares to the wind. On this exhilarating flight, take in unbeatable scenic views and fresh mountain air.


Carve through the mountains on a roaring river rapid as you enjoy a day on the water. Enjoy a whitewater heaven, where rafters gather from around the world.


Take a swing on the green for a golf getaway in Almost Heaven. With courses found throughout the state, there are plenty of fairways to choose from with spectacular mountain views.


Shred down powdered trails. Explore the mountains of West Virginia by skiing, snowboarding or tubing. When the snow begins to fall, winter sports in Almost Heaven are just getting started.


Enjoy a camping or lodge stay at one of West Virginia’s state parks and forests. No matter which park you choose to stay at, incredible adventures and lasting memories are sure to follow.


2 Years Of Free Outdoor Gear Rentals

Don’t have your own kayak to hit our waters in? No problem! Ascend WV participants will have access to outdoor gear rentals to be used with friends and family throughout the duration of the program. In the Ascend WV gear library you will find an array of equipment to really get acquainted with our mountains. Check out some bouldering equipment or grab a bike and hit the trail. Rent a tent or grab a paddleboard for a lakeside adventure. Find specialty equipment that will get you outside, on us.

West Virginia Outdoor Recreation By The Numbers

Ascend Featured Partners

Hatfield-McCoy Trails

The Hatfield-McCoy Trails are one of the world’s largest off-road trail systems with over 800 miles of mountain adventure.

River Expeditions

River Expeditions is a locally owned and family-operated adventure outfitter located in the heart of the New River Gorge.

Pipestem Resort State Park

Adventure awaits, with the longest zip measuring up to 1600 feet and speeds up to 50 mph on the Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour.

ACE Adventure Resort

Nestled in the heart of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve lies ACE Adventure Resort.

Twin Falls Resort State Park

Twin Falls Resort State Park is ideal for nature lovers in the foothills of Southern West Virginia.

West Virginia Golf Association

With 85 member clubs and over 11,000 golfers, the WVGA has access to a total of 67 golf courses across the state.

River Riders

River Riders is a family adventure resort that offers the best of everything Almost Heaven has to offer.

Snowshoe Mountain

Known as West Virginia’s premier adventure destination, Snowshoe Mountain is a world all on its own.

Blackwater Falls State Park

Blackwater Falls State Park is one of West Virginia’s most iconic landmarks and shines all four seasons.

Mountain Trail Rides

Breathe in the fresh mountain and explore Almost Heaven as intended – on horseback with Mountain Trails Rides.

Lost World Caverns

Head below the Earth’s surface and discover the depths of Almost Heaven at Lost World Caverns.

Greenbrier Outfitters

Greenbrier Outfitters is known across the United States for their outdoor adventures.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park

Located on a high plateau in the Allegheny Mountains, Canaan Valley Resort State Park is a beautiful four-season destination.

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

Take a journey in the mountains of West Virginia with the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad.

Adventure WV Canopy Tour

Located inside Cooper’s Rock State Forest, Adventure WV Canopy Tour combines ziplining and knowledge regarding nature in Almost Heaven.

West Virginia State Parks

With 39 parks, 9 forests and 3 rail trails, the West Virginia State Parks system your home for adventure.

Grand Vue Adventure Park

Soar among the tree tops and challenge yourself on an adventure course at Grand Vue Adventures.

North Bend State Park

At North Bend State Park, explore the 72-mile rail trail that follows an old railroad corridor.

Elk River Get-A-Way

Float and paddle to your heart’s content with Elk River Get-A-Way.


Padlz, a family-run business, is ready to help you get out on the water at Bruceton Mills Lake.

Tygart Lake Adventure Lake

Tygart Lake State Park offers guests with a quiet vacation spot and breathtaking views.

Appalachian Boarding Company

Explore West Virginia’s pristine waterways on a stand-up paddleboard with Appalachian Boarding Company.

Arrowhead Bike Farm

Brews and bikes? What more can you ask for! Bike around the New River Gorge then enjoy a craft beer at Arrowhead Bike Farm.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

Disconnect in the wilderness while fishing on peaceful lakes and hunting on unspoiled land with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Stonewall Resort State Park

Stonewall Resort State Park offers a secluded retreat surrounded by rolling hills.

Winterplace Ski Resort

Winterplace Ski Resort makes winter fun for everyone, with activities ranging from snow-tubing to skiing.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

I love to be outdoors. What adventure opportunities are there in West Virginia?

West Virginia is sitting on some of the best natural resources on the East Coast. With over 2,032 miles of whitewater in the state, an IMBA awarded mountain biking Silver Ride Center and over 4,000 rock climbing routes and bouldering problems in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve alone, year-round adventures await. In West Virginia, breathtaking views inspire us and mountain landscapes are always within reach, with an abundance of public lands and the nation’s newest National Park. Reach out to for more information!

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How many spots are available?

The Ascend WV program is a long-term talent attraction program. Applications for Ascend Lewisburg are now open! The first cohort of 50 in Morgantown has been selected, with more to be added next year. Stay tuned for announcements on when Shepherdstown will launch applications. Ascend WV is a long-term program that will continue to evolve to include more mountain towns across West Virginia, so make sure you keep checking our website for updates! Reach out to for more information!

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Where is West Virginia?

West Virginia is located in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is within a day’s drive of many East-Coast favorites. Our Ascend WV communities are strategically located near major metropolitan markets for quick and convenient access for business travel. Reach out to for more information!

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Picture Yourself In #AlmostHeaven