Featuring some of the most rough and rugged mountain biking in the East Coast, see for yourself what makes Pocahontas County, WV a mountain biking mecca!
The Cranberry Botanical Glade Area is one of the county's most unique areas. Several species of wild orchid inhabit the Glades as well as interesting birds such as the American Woodcock and the Saw-whet Owl. Visitors can stay at one of the comfy cabins in the region or the Hillsboro B & B. Dine at the Pretty Penny Cafe in Hillsboro or at Watoga State Park.
The scenic East Fork Trail follows the East Fork of the Greenbrier River through hemlock stands and pine plantations and past many small waterfalls, extending 8 miles from the Island Campground in Bartow to Pig's Ear Road (Forest Service Road 254). During the winter thaw and spring rains, this is a very wet and muddy trail, with stream crossings at mile 2.5 and near mile 6. You can avoid the first crossing by staying on the east side of the stream and looking for the trail blazes within 300 yards.
Some years before the Civil War a speculating land company bought a tract of 69,000 acres on the slope of Shavers Mountain. Their tract fronted for about seven miles along the eastern side of the mountain. To survey and mark their holdings the company hired a crew of men who must have found rough going in this wilderness. The crew did a good job, but its chief forgot one thing – the fact that a compass needle points to magnetic, not true north. In this area the angle of declination is about four degrees, a significant source of error on a seven-mile front. An experienced Virginia surveyor, in checking the data, discovered the error but said nothing about it. Presently, however, when the sale was being concluded and the deeds recorded, he brought the error to light, and under a sort of “doctrine of vacancy” claimed the wedge of land left by a corrected survey. His title was established, and he and his heirs found themselves owner of a seven-mile strip of forest, aggregating almost 900 acres. The tract was eventually purchased by the Forest Service at the insistence of former MNF Supervisor Arthur A. Wood, who believed that future generations should know what an Appalachian spruce stand was like. In October 1964 the Regional Forester designated this area as a Scenic Area and the Forest Service began to manage it as such. In December 1974 the GSA was designated a Registered Natural Landmark for its exceptional value. In May 1983 it was registered by the Society of American Foresters as an outstanding example of a vegetative community in a near natural condition dedicated for scientific and educational purposes.
A surplus of food, water, and habitat insure you'll see plenty of birds along the Greenbrier River Trail. Stop in at a picnic area along the way and just see all the birds who greet you.
The 78 miles Greenbrier River Trail offers of meadows, cool stream sides, and dozens of both conifers and hard wood trees. Such variables makes for a most perfect day of birding.
Species you'll see along this stretch include woodpeckers and flycatchers, as well as vireos of every type. Always keep an eye open for hawks.
Whether you drive a Chevrolet, Cannondale or Harley, the ride along the Highland Scenic Highway, a beautiful corridor through the Monongahela National Forest, is a visual masterpiece! The inimitable ride gives you a bird’s eye view of expansive dense hardwood forests, capped with opaque spruce
The Highland Scenic Highway, a National Forest Scenic Byway, is the highest major roadway in West Virginia and extends 43 miles from Richwood to U.S. Route 219, seven miles north of Marlinton. The Highway follows State Route 39/55 for 21 miles from Richwood to the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center. It then turns onto State Route 150 for the 22 mile Parkway section and rises from an elevation of 2,300 feet to over 4,500 feet. Four scenic overlooks located along the Parkway portion of the Highway provide spectacular views of the Allegheny Highlands. Each stretch of road offers breathtaking scenery, intriguing perspectives, and incomparable glimpses. The heart-stopping dips take your breath away. Bird watching along roads and paths along the Highland Scenic Highway are some of the best in the region. You can travel along this same highway day after day and always see something new and inviting. Bring your camera and your binoculars as the wildflowers and birds you can find in this region are plentiful and gorgeous.
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.