Looking to relax and unwind with the sights, sounds and scents of nature? Find a hammock, or hang your own, and you can do just that.

If you decide to hang your own hammock at a state park or local trail, it’s important to know helpful tips and stay courteous of other visitors in the area.

No matter if you travel with a portable hammock or you brought your own to hang, both are welcome for use in most parks and trails at Canaan Valley. Whether it’s Blackwater Falls State Park, the National Wildlife Refuge, Dolly Sods or another favorite location, it doesn’t hurt to check with administrators of the park or natural area before hanging, for some may have rules and regulations regarding hammocks.
When hanging the hammock, first look for trees that appear alive and healthy with a solid bark, and contain no overhead hazards. A good 10-12 feet apart is a recommended diameter to choose, but distance may also depend on the length of your hammock. Try avoiding trees that are too close together, so you’re not hanging low to the ground.

Always use large, flat-webbing straps to attach to the trees. Keep in mind, the straps should wrap around a wide part of the tree trunk, about five feet from the ground. Make sure to pull until the straps are tight around the trunk and do this on both sides. If the cords are too narrow, they can cut into the bark and cause damage.
If you’ve been exploring the outdoors and decide to take a moment to relax, remember to never hang your hammock across trails. Same can be said for portable hammocks, too. What may be a beautiful overlook for a hammock view, can also take away from other hikers’ nature experience. Find a quaint spot a little off of the trail where you feel safe and comfortable.

Want some extra relaxation after your outdoor adventures? Luckily, there are many stand-alone hammocks at several Canaan Valley resorts. You can still get a taste of the outdoors without straying too far. Whether it’s at the lodge, on your back porch or under a shady tree, lie down and let the kids play or spend the evening reading a book. It’s doesn’t matter how you relax–there are plenty of options as long as you have a hammock nearby.