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2010 GO! Readers' Choice Awards

Cumberland Falls, KY. Photo by Attila Horvath.

We asked again. You answered again – what are your favorite destinations in the Ohio Valley? The results are the best places for adventure, chosen by those who know – GO! readers.

Best Overall Destination: Cumberland Falls, KY
With so many destinations to choose from, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park comes out the winner. And there is some justice in this world – Cumberland Falls deserves the nod. The so-called Niagara of the South – the East’s second-largest falls by volume – is home to the rare moonbow phenomenon. It has high-quality hiking trails, a nice lodge and cabins, and a whitewater run below the falls. Check it out this year. You’ll be glad you did.

Best Adventure Town: Louisville, KY
The big city takes the prize this year – Louisville beats out last year’s winner, Fayetteville, WV and Pennsylvania’s premier adventure town, Ohiopyle. “Louisville is truly living up to its goal of becoming the City of Parks,” says Stacey Shepherd Yates, vice president of marketing communications for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, “From the nation's largest municipal urban forest to work on one of the most expansive urban park projects in North America, Louisville is proving it's possible for people to ‘get out’ and enjoy the city.”

The Louisville Loop, a 100-mile walk and bike trail to connect all city parks is already 25 percent complete. The city has hosted an Ironman race since 2007 and was recently selected to host two upcoming international cyclocross events. Louisville Extreme Park has been ranked as one of the world’s top public skate parks. Add in the country’s oldest bike club, the Louisville Bicycle Club, and the Louisville Rowing Club, one of the largest along the Ohio River, and you’ve got plenty of people to enjoy the outdoors with.

Best Bike Path: Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, OH
Athens County, OH - represent! The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, just a stone’s throw from GO! headquarters is this year’s winner for best bike path. “The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is the Miles Davis of bike paths. It’s smooth and cool,” says the smooth and cool John Lefelhocz of Cycle Path bike shop in Athens. “It follows the river under a canopy of sycamore, buckeye, and paw paw trees, as well as many other native species. It winds ever so slightly through farmland, sandstone cliffs and wild flora and fauna. It's big fun.” Check it out late April through May for the spring wildflower show.

Best Urban Park: E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, Louisville
For the second year in a row, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, near Louisville, wins the title Best Urban Park. It is an all-around park serving organized sports teams and others with trails, a dog park, a BMX course and an archery range. “We meet big city needs with a small country community feel and scenery,” says park manager Chris Head.

Best Whitewater River: New River, WV
The New beats out its neighbor, the Gauley River, for best whitewater river this year. “We absolutely have international-class paddling here,” says Maura Kistler, owner of Fayetteville’s Water Stone Outdoors gear shop. The lower New River (actually one of the oldest rivers in North America) runs through a gorge that’s 1,000 feet deep; it is always running and usually warm (in season), making it a haven for rafting class III-V whitewater, and there is no shortage of outfitters ready to take you. The upper New has class I-III paddling for guided or DIY trips.

Best Backpacking Trail: Pine Mountain Trail, KY
“Pine Mountain is one of the longest uninterrupted ridges in our region,” says Pine Mountain Trail Conference treasurer Roy Crawford, “It’s about 110 miles from the breaks to the Cumberland Gap – that’s how long the trail will be.” That’s right – will be. As of now, 44 miles of the trail are complete, from Breaks Interstate Park to US-119. The 16 miles between US-23 and US-119 has two shelters. Don’t just enjoy it – volunteer to help finish building the trail.

Best Ski Resort: Snowshoe Mountain, WV
The Shoe takes it by a mile. Speaking of measurements, here’s Snowshoe by the numbers: 11,000 acres, elevation at 4,800 feet, 180 inches of natural snow every year, 60 slopes and trails, 100-plus miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, 22 restaurants and bars, 12 shops. It’s not too late to go – Snowshoe has extended its 2010 season to April 5.

Best Mountain Bike Trails: Frick Park, PA
In the heart of the Steel City lies the ultimate locals-only mountain biking: “The official map does not show the bicycle trail system really at all,” says local rider (duh!) Rick Lithgow. Enter Frick Park’s 561 acres and start looking. Here’s a hint: Take the Iron Gate Trail from the environmental center. Even if you don’t have knobbies, check out the plentiful hiking trails or even the tennis courts and lawn bowling. Lawn bowling, who knew bowling could be cool?

Best Cave: Mammoth Cave, KY
Here’s another no-brainer. The world’s largest cave system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a U.S. National Park … drumroll please … the Ohio Valley’s own Mammoth Cave. It even has some fee-free days this year. If you haven’t yet been, don’t even tell us. Just go. Now.