Closest national parks to the Morgantown area

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Visitors look down on the New River Gorge from a national park overlook Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Grandview, W.Va. Under legislation passed by Congress in 2020, some of America’s most spectacular natural settings are getting a makeover. Historic masonry grills have been restored near the Grandview Visitor Center. (AP Photo/John Raby)

While there are not very many national parks close to West Virginia, if visiting national parks is on your to-do list for 2022, Stacker made a list of national parks closest to Morgantown that can help get you started.

Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story—when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Today, the country’s 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.

Stacker compiled a list of the closest national parks to Morgantown. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Morgantown, WV Metro Area and each national park. Estimated driving times are from Here and are only available within the lower 48 states. All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.

Be sure to check with individual parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

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#1. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

– Distance: 104 miles
– Driving time: 4.2 hours
– Date founded: December 26, 1935
– 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 199,223.77 acres

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#2. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

– Distance: 122 miles
– Driving time: 2.6 hours
– Date founded: December 27, 2020
– 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 7,021 acres

3 / 63Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

– Distance: 150 miles
– Driving time: 3.3 hours
– Date founded: October 11, 2000
– 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 32,571.88 acres

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#4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

– Distance: 335 miles
– Driving time: 7.1 hours
– Date founded: June 15, 1934
– 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 522,426.88 acres

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#5. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

– Distance: 378 miles
– Driving time: 7.3 hours
– Date founded: July 1, 1941
– 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 54,011.91 acres

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#6. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

– Distance: 400 miles
– Driving time: 8.5 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 2003
– 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,476.47 acres

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#7. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

– Distance: 409 miles
– Driving time: 7.9 hours
– Date founded: February 15, 2019
– 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 15,349.08 acres

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#8. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

– Distance: 562 miles
– Driving time: 9.8 hours
– Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
– 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 192.83 acres

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#9. Acadia National Park (Maine)

– Distance: 683 miles
– Driving time: 14.9 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 49,076.63 acres

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#10. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

– Distance: 735 miles
– Driving time: 15.4 hours
– Date founded: April 3, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 571,790.30 acres

11 / 63Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#11. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

– Distance: 809 miles
– Driving time: 14.3 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1921
– 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 5,554.15 acres

Stacker’s full list includes 63 national parks ranging from 100 to almost 7,000 miles away. To see the full list, click here.

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