This exciting West Virginia town has a secret: a variety of easily accessible scenic trails! Snow skiing, rock climbing, rail hiking, and mountain biking are entryways to awesome wildlife, fresh air, and spectacular views.
Have a picnic at the Rail-Trail, which is open for cycling, jogging, roller blading, walking, and even non-motorized use. It features a smooth durable surface for wheelchairs and all types of bicycles.
Chestnut Ridge Park offers visitors great hikes, like the Mile Trail and Great Gorge Trail. If you are adventurous, check out the Bruceton Mills Dam. There is whitewater on Little Sandy Creek for those looking for a thrill!
Cranesville Swamp, featuring a magnificent range of mammals and birds, makes for an unforgettable day trip. On display are rare birds, like the northern water shrew. You may even sneak a peak of a bear rummaging around the shrubs next to Muddy Creek. Bring binoculars because you could catch a glimpse of the saw-whet owl, Blackburnian warbler, alder flycatcher, or any one of the more than 100 bird species.
Cathedral State Park, which stretches 133 acres, is one of the last living commemorations of the vast virgin hemlock forest, which once thrived in Appalachia. Majestic trees, up to 90 feet in height and 21 feet in circumference, form avenues for visitors. Over 50 species of wildflowers and upwards of 170 species of vascular flora have been catalogued at the park.
The Coopers Rock State Forest offers hikers many trail options, ranging in all types of difficulties. Whether you want to take it easy or go on a daylong hike, Coopers Rock State Forest has great variety for hikers, featuring nearly 50 miles of trails. Discover the famous Rock City, with 30’ boulders and a plethora of top rope routes, and the breathtaking 1,200 ft. scenic overlook. In the winter, many of the park’s trails are suitable for cross-country skiing.
Biking and Walking trails
Decker’s Creek Trail
From slightly west of Reedsville, WV in Preston County to Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park in Morgantown. The rail-trail follows scenic Deckers Creek upstream with an elevation change of 1,000 feet over 19 miles. Landscapes are very scenic and secluded with hardwoods, hemlock and rhododendron, and rock outcroppings. This trail provides easy access to the Arthurdale Heritage District and Museum on Route 92. The trail also provides close-up views of the Bretz Coke Ovens and Greer Limestone. Parking is available in Masontown and Reedsville, as well as Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park and in Sabraton at Marilla Park in Morgantown.
800-458-7373 | Website
Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, offering visitors recreational camping and outdoor activities. Enjoy the beauty of the West Virginia mountains on hiking trails where you will find some of the most unique birds and wild flowers in the country. For those who need a more challenging outdoor experience, bikers can enjoy 24 miles of mountain bike trails. The mountain bike and hiking trails are open from January 1st thru October 1st. In the summer, visitors can swim, fish, or lay on the beach. Rt3 Box 204, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525.
304-379-4382 | Website
Nature Trails: Walking/hiking, Leaf Peeping, Bird Watching
Chestnut Ridge Park
Chestnut Ridge Park encompasses over 16,000 acres of recreational areas, featuring a campground and park surrounded by the West Virginia University Forest and Coopers Rock State Forest
Rt.1 Box 267, Bruceton Mills, WV 26527.
304-594-1773 | Website
Cathedral State Park
Cathedral State Park, which stretches 133 acres, is one of the last living commemorations of the vast virgin hemlock forest, which once thrived in Appalachia. Majestic trees, up to 90 feet in height and 21 feet in circumference, form avenues for visitors. Over 50 species of wildflowers and upwards of 170 species of vascular flora have been catalogued at the park.Located on Rt. 50 near Aurora, WV, approximately five miles west of Red House, MD.
304-735-3771 | Website
Visitors will see 1,650 acres of beautiful arboreal bog harboring plants and birds that are protected by The Nature Conservancy. 10 miles south of I-68 on the border with Maryland. Just east of the town of Cranesville on State Route 42, turn south onto the unpaved Burnside Camp Road. After 1 mile turn left onto a country road and follow the Nature Conservancy signs into the parking area.
301-897-8570 | Website
Skiing and Tubing
Chestnut Ridge Park
In the late fall and winter seasons, visitors can enjoy skiing, sledding, and snowboarding at Chestnut Ridge Park. (exit 15 / Coopers Rock). Rt.1 Box 267, Bruceton Mills, WV 26527.
304-594-1773 | Website