West Virginia’s tourism industry is more than whitewater rafting and snow skiing. For a growing number of people, the Mountain State is a good place to come and ride ATVs on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System currently offers more than 700 miles of trails in seven West Virginia counties, with plans to add several hundred more miles of trails in two more counties.
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System was created by the West Virginia Legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. All of the trail systems are open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, and utility vehicles.
Many of the trail systems also offer community-connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia. Current trail systems include:
- The Bearwallow Trail System located near the town of Logan.
- The Buffalo Mountain Trail System located between Williamson, Delbarton, and Matewan.
- The Cabwaylingo Trail in the Cabwaylingo State Forest, whose name is a combination of the four closest counties surrounding the forest — Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, and Mingo.
- The Devil Anse Trail System links up to two other Hatfield McCoy Trail Systems — Rockhouse and Buffalo Mountain — totaling over 300 miles. The trailhead is located in the town of Matewan.
- The Indian Ridge Trail System is located near Ashland, W.Va., comprising approximately 63 miles of trails.
- The Ivy Branch Trail System is located just 20 minutes from West Virginia’s capitol city of Charleston.
- The Pinnacle Creek Trail System, located near the town of Pineville, consists of approximately 79.6 total miles of trail.
- The Pocahontas Trail System begins in the historic town of Bramwell.
- The Rockhouse Trail System, located between the towns of Man and Gilbert. Rockhouse is popular with riders who are looking for an extreme experience.
- The Warrior Trail System is located in the City of War, which is West Virginia’s most southern city. This trail system also accesses the ATV-friendly City of Gary.
User permits are required for all riders and passengers who use any of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. Cost is $26.50 for West Virginia residents, and $50 for non-residents. Permits may be purchased online, at the visitor center on U.S. 119, 19 miles south of Charleston, at a staffed trailhead, or at select retailers.
For additional details, rules and regulations, or to purchase a permit, visit the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System on the Web at www.trailsheaven.com or call 800-592-2217.
More to explore
The Mountain State hasn’t cornered the market on ATV adventure. Nearby counties of Kentucky and Ohio also offer plenty of trails to explore, plus some races and special events.
Rush Off-Road is a 7,000-acre tract of land with more than 100 miles of trails, headquartered at 100 Four Mile Road in Rush, Kentucky, just outside of Boyd County.
Trails consist of novice, intermediate, and advanced levels. There are smooth, wide trails for the beginners and challenging hill climbs for the more advanced riders. There are three ponds on the property that offer fishing, with one that is easily accessible from the trail head.
Permit Prices are $99 a season, or $45 per week or $30 per day. Permits are sold per vehicle and each permit is good for up to two vehicles. Only one vehicle per permit is allowed in the park at a time. Permits can be purchased online at https://rushoffroad.com/permits/
Primitive camping is allowed at the trailhead, with purchase of permit. Camping is also available nearby at KOA, 80 KOA Lane, Argillite, Ky., 606-929-5504. There are several hotel and motel accommodations throughout eastern Kentucky.
For more information or to plan your trip, visit www.rushoffroad.com.
Wayne National Forest
The Wayne National Forest, in the hills of southeastern Ohio, is a patchwork ownership that covers over a quarter-million acres of Appalachian foothills. The Forest is divided into three units managed out of two Ranger District offices located in Nelsonville and nearby Ironton, with a field office in Marietta.
The Forest features more than 300 miles of trails for hiking, all-terrain vehicle riding, mountain biking, or horseback riding in season. The trails are open from April 15 through Dec. 15.
Camping is permitted at trail heads. All riders must wear both helmet and protective eyewear. Alcohol is prohibited within 100 feet of the centerline of the designated off-highway trails.
The closest trails to the Tri-State Area are the Hanging Rock Trail System, which includes 26 miles of trail, and the Pine Creek Trail System, with 20 miles of trail, both in Lawrence County, Ohio. There is also the Monday Creek Trail System, comprising 75 miles, in Athens and Perry counties.
Each of these trail systems is open to ATVs, OHMs, mountain bikes, and hikers. Trails are marked with orange diamonds. If not marked, the trail is closed. All riders must stay on designated trails.
Individuals using ATVs (all terrain vehicles) and OHMs (off-highway motorcycles) are required to have a Wayne National Forest permit and stay. Permits are sold to a specific individual and may be used for any number of machines. Proof of a valid driver’s license is required.
There are three types of permits:
- Seasonal, $35: Permit is good for the trail season, April 15-Dec. 15.
- Three-day, $20: Permit is good for any three-day ride. Dates are punched on the permit.
Trail permits are available from any Wayne National Forest office, from a variety of local vendors, or online. A list of vendors, plus a ton more information about the Wayne trails, is posted at www.fs.usda.gov/wayne.
The Ironton Ranger District office, in Lawrence County, Ohio, is located at 6518 Ohio 93, Pedro, Ohio. It is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The phone number is 740-534-6500.