Over 800 miles of trails lead to high mountain peaks, cascading rivers and thunderous waterfalls.
A vast network of hiking and biking trails can be found throughout the county in the Monongahela National Forest and within our state parks, state forests, and rail-trails.
|Greenbrier River Trail|
|West Fork Trail|
|Cranberry Wilderness Area|
Greenbrier River Trail
One of West Virginia’s most successful rail-to-trail conversions, the Greenbrier River Trail has been named the Millennium Legacy Trail for West Virginia. Extending 78 miles and traversing 35 bridges and two tunnels, the Trail parallels the longest free flowing river in the east, the Greenbrier River, and features some of the most spectacular pastoral and woodland scenery West Virginia has to offer.
The Trail can be accessed from several points, including the southern terminus in Greenbrier County near Caldwell and the northern terminus near Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
West Fork Trail
The West Fork Trail, located in northern Pocahontas County, follows the old railroad grade 26 miles along the West Fork of the Greenbrier River, from the south trailhead in Durbin north to Glady. The Trail has a very gentle grade and is exceptionally scenic with wildflowers in the spring and summer months and gloriously colored vistas in the autumn.
The Trail offers access to a more remote section of the Greenbrier watershed and provides an excellent backcountry experience. Durbin, at the southern end, provides perfect access and supplies. Backpacking and camping are also popular on this nearly flat trail surface of crushed limestone. Loop opportunities off Burner and Allegheny Mountain offer two-day hikes and all day bike riding. Cross country skiing is exceptional along this trail in the winter.
Road biking in Pocahontas County provides some of the most popular and scenic routes in the state. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the mountains, dramatic fall foliage and an opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural setting.
A good trail in the northern end of the county is the 16 mile Arbovale Loop which takes you from the parking lot at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to farm fields, old churches and beds of wildflowers. There are two other side trips available on this route.
The Denmar Road in the southern part of the county begins in Hillsboro and travels east, passing 18th century cemeteries, rolling corn fields, and brightly painted red barns. Stop and enjoy one of the areas last standing covered bridges, Locust Creek Bridge, before turning to get on Route 219 north into Hillsboro.
More challenging and dramatic trails include Lobelia Road and Back Mountain Road, each with available side trips for your appreciation.
West Virginia’s first long-distance hiking trail traverses Pocahontas County, passing through Durbin, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, the town of Cass, Seneca State Forest, and a portion of Watoga State Park. The Trail is good for hiking, walking, or backpacking, but horses and wheeled vehicles should be refrained.
The 330 mile trail is maintained by volunteers who divide the work over four separate tracts of trail. The Trail starts at the northern terminus on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border at Bruceton Mills and continues south to Peters Mountain in Monroe County, West Virginia.
The West Virginia Scenic Trail Association link to the right publishes several outstanding pieces of literature which are highly recommended for anyone wanting to hike the Trail.
Cranberry Wilderness Area
One of the most beautiful, serene, and primitive areas in the region is the Cranberry Wilderness Area which straddles Pocahontas and Webster counties within the Monongahela National Forest. Offering over 35,000 acres of opaque forest, towering mountains and rushing streams, this wilderness area has approximately 60 miles of hiking trails.
The Cranberry is one of the east's great Wilderness Areas. It includes the entire drainage area of the Middle Fork of the Williams River and the North Fork of the Cranberry River. Typical of the Allegheny Plateau, the broad and massive mountains are dissected by steep, narrow valleys.
The primary forest cover is secondary and includes mixed hardwoods White and Red Oaks, maple, cherry, and poplar. Hemlock and Red Spruce are common at the highest elevations - 4,600 feet atop Black Mountain.
The Area supports a rich variety of wildlife including American Black Bear, White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey, grouse, Snowshoe Hare, cottontail rabbit, Bobcat, both Gray and Red Fox and a diversity of birds, and snakes. Streams within the area are not stocked.
The Area is open to hikers and birders but no hunting, horseback riding or mechanical travel is allowed.
Adjacent to the southern side of the Cranberry Wilderness Area between Forest Service Road 102 and the Frosty Gap Trail is an additional 26,000 acres of forest known as the Cranberry Back Country. Either slope of Kennison Mountain holds several trails good for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking.
Those hiking Pocahontas County for the first time, may want to check out some basic packing and trip planning at the hiking tips Web site. It has great hints on what to pack and how to be safe out in the wild, including safety precautions to take.