A Guide To Hiking In Pocahontas County, West Virginia

From solitary backcountry wilderness to beautiful boardwalks and relaxing rail trails, Pocahontas County is the place for hikers of all levels to break in — or wear out — their trail shoes! With nearly 400 miles of trails offering everything from gentle strolls to challenging treks, Pocahontas County caters to all hiking enthusiasts. Explore plenty of places to wander and discover loops to suit your pace, whether you want to stroll, lope, stride or run.

Hiking Hubs 

Family Friendly 

Pocahontas County features a variety of trails perfect for families of all ages and interests. Explore unique ecosystems, discover historical sites and enjoy scenic wonders together.

Easy Adventures:

  • Cranberry Glades Botanical Area: Take a boardwalk loop through a rare tundra ecosystem, home to plant life typically found only in Canada!
  • Honeycomb Rocks Trail: Stroll along a short, gravel trail past fascinating rock formations created by unique geological processes. This quarter-mile round-trip trail is located near the Tea Creek Campground. Allow 45 minutes for a leisurely walk. 
  • Overlook Trail: Unwind on the peaceful Overlook Trail, a short 0.6-mile loop near Marlinton. This easy hike is perfect for a quick escape into nature and offers amazing views without the crowds.
  • Widney Park Trail: Walk through railroad dreams of the past to the kid-friendly Widney Park on the Widney Park Trail, a one-mile section of an old railroad corridor. This trail is accessible in the town of Durbin via the West Fork Trail, another family-friendly rail trail that follows the West Fork River. 

Moderate Hikes:

  • Falls of Hills Creek: Descend the Falls of Hills Creek Trail to viewpoints for the three waterfalls. Explore a paved path leading to an observation platform for the Upper Falls. More adventurous families can tackle the single-track dirt trail and stairs to reach the Middle and Lower Falls. (Be aware of stairs for those with mobility limitations.)
  • High Rocks Trail: Embark on a moderate 2.5-mile round-trip hike with your family and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Stamping Creek watershed and rolling farmlands of the Little Levels. 

State Park Routes:

  • Watoga State Park: At West Virginia’s largest state park, choose from the easy 0.75-mile Buck and Doe Trail loop or the longer 4.5-mile Brooks Memorial Arboretum Trail. Relax afterward in a cozy cabin or at one of the many campsites. For families who crave a wilderness experience, Calvin Price State Forest which borders Watoga, provides a more rustic setting. 
  • Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park: Hike where Civil War soldiers once walked and learn about West Virginia’s first state park, established in 1928. 
  • Beartown State Park: Amble along a one-mile boardwalk and marvel at the unusual rock formations at Beartown State Park. 
  • Greenbrier River Trail: Explore the 78-mile paved and graveled path, perfect for a leisurely family stroll. The Greenbrier River Trail is the longest rail trail in West Virginia and passes through the village of Seebert, the town of Marlinton and the early 1900s logging town time capsule, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Highland Scenic Highway 

Tackle the diverse trails along the Highland Scenic Highway

  • Black Mountain Trails: Start your adventure on the Black Mountain Fire Interpretive Trail (#413) and learn about the area’s fire history. Extend your journey on the Black Mountain Trail (#412) for a scenic 2.2-mile loop with stunning views of the Williams River Valley and Big Spruce Overlook.
  • Red Spruce Knob Trail: Enjoy a leisurely walk or birdwatching on this easy 1.2-mile out-and-back trail (2.4 miles total).
  • Gauley River Trail: For experienced hikers, the Gauley River Trail is a challenging 5.1-mile trek from the highway to Mine Road near Slatyfork. This former logging road features singletrack mountain terrain that will test even seasoned hikers.

Cranberry Wilderness

Embark on a true wilderness adventure in the Cranberry Wilderness. This vast 47,815-acre area confers 15 trails totaling 77.6 miles, catering to all skill levels. Day hikers can explore the backcountry, while backpackers can find challenging trails and peaceful campsites. Anglers will find plenty of opportunities to fish in the Middle Fork of the Williams River and the North Fork of the Cranberry River. Take a break at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, enjoy a picnic lunch with scenic views, explore the native plant garden and discover kid-friendly nature trails.

Laurel Fork South Wilderness

Walk amidst lush landscapes on the trails of Laurel Fork South Wilderness. This 6,000-acre area has nine miles of wilderness trails, following mostly old railroad and logging roads. 

Monongahela National Forest 

The Monongahela National Forest offers a range of experiences for every hiker.

  • Mower Basin Trails: Trek through a variety of landscapes on six different trails ranging from a quarter of a mile to 2.5 miles. Meander through restored meadows, high-elevation spruce forests and hardwood forests. Difficulty levels cater to day hikers, backpackers and backcountry campers.
  • Tea Creek Trail System: Discover a hidden gem with 12 trails totaling 44 miles. Hike on boardwalks or challenging singletrack trails, with varying difficulty levels. This former logging road network provides stunning scenery and dramatic elevation changes. For those sporting souls who like to hike and cast a line, the Williams River Trail is a perfect option to follow the fish in the peaceful Williams River.
  • Gaudineer Knob: Hike through a remnant of virgin forest in the Gaudineer Scenic Area. This unique area resulted from a surveying error by a logging company and is named after a heroic 1930s Forest Ranger, Don Gaudineer.

Seneca State Forest 

Spend some time in West Virginia’s oldest and largest state forest, encompassing 12,844 acres. Rent a classic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) cabin from the 1930s and enjoy easy access to fishing at well-stocked Seneca Lake. You might even be lucky enough to catch a leftover Golden Trout from the West Virginia Gold Rush!

Snowshoe Mountain Resort 

Combine luxurious accommodations and easy access to adventure at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Explore 11,000 acres of backcountry trails with options for all skill levels. Conquer a scenic hike to the fire tower overlook and cool off with a refreshing swim in Shavers Lake afterward.

Elk River Area

Carving its way through the heart of Pocahontas County, the Elk River area is home to a network of trails. But be forewarned, while the scenery is undeniably breathtaking, the challenging terrain makes these trails unsuitable for young children.

  • Beginner Trails: Meadow Loop (0.45 miles) and Minnies Loop (0.75 miles)
  • Intermediate Trails: Mine Road (1.8 miles to Millers Flat, 3.5 miles to Gauley Mountain Trailhead), Props Run Trail (8 miles) and Springhouse Trail (0.8 miles)
  • Advanced Trails: Millers Flat Trail (1.8 miles), Old Field Fork (2 miles) and Steep Access Trail (0.15 miles) 

Fuel Your Adventure

Plan your unforgettable experience with the local experts at Elk River Touring Center. Their knowledgeable guides will lead you on the most scenic routes and share fascinating stories about the area’s rich history. The Center also offers rentals for fishing and winter sports, ensuring you have everything you need for your outdoor adventure.

Rest and Recharge

Unwind after a day of exploration at the Elk River Inn and Cabins, a welcoming haven for outdoor enthusiasts for over 40 years. Choose from eight guest rooms and four cozy cabins, all providing comfortable relaxation after a day on the trails. Enjoy river views from the adjoining decks, or relax in the inviting sitting rooms or lounge. The Elk River Inn even has an outfitter’s shop for any last-minute gear needs.

Allegheny Trail

The Allegheny Trail, West Virginia’s first long-distance trail, traverses Pocahontas County. The 86-mile trail passes through Durbin, Marlinton, Cass, Seneca State Forest, Calvin Price State Forest and a portion of Watoga State Park. The trail also runs along the ridge of the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank.

Outfitters & Points of Interest

Pocahontas County Towns:


Hillsboro is a wonderful community to stay in, with many Airbnbs located in town. The town is close to Watoga State Park and the Greenbrier River Trail, as well as 19 miles from the Cranberry Backcountry Trail System. Hillsboro also has amenities like gas and groceries as well as quaint cafes and stores. 


The town of Marlinton, a Mon Forest Town, is a hub for those looking to be close to the outdoor scene. A short drive from most of the trail systems, Marlinton has a variety of vacation rentals and camping options. Aside from its location and lodging amenities, Marlinton is home to many shops, wonderful restaurants and special events. Rivertown Cafe, located below the Shops at Rivertown, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers space for live music on the weekends. Other hot spots include Dean’s Den (if the Monte Cristo Sandwich is the special, we highly recommend giving it a try), Dari-Land (indulge in a specialty milkshake), Greenbrier Grille (a beer and burger by the Greenbrier River, say no more) or Alfredo’s (mouthwatering calzones and gyros to refuel you after a long ride). Rayetta’s Lunchbox, Subway and Dairy Queen also have options for a quick meal on the run. In the summer and fall months, Marlinton is a buzz with events, live music and festivals. The Pocahontas County Opera House and Discovery Junction host many family-friendly functions, from music performances to First Fridays where individuals can enjoy activities, dining specials and music from the green space. For a nightcap, the Old Mountain Tavern on Main Street is an excellent spot to grab a cold beer or a cocktail.


Durbin is a charming town located at the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River, creating a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventure. The town has convenient access to legendary trails like the Allegheny Trail and the Greenbrier River Trail. After a day of exploring, unwind at Station 2 Lodge, a historic train station transformed into a comfortable inn, or pitch a tent and reconnect with nature at the East Fork Campground, located right next to the water. Fuel up for your hikes with a delicious meal at Simply Sweet Cafe

Pocahontas County Business:

Jack Horner’s Corner 

Located along the Greenbrier River Trail and at the entrance to Watoga State Park, Jack Horner’s Corner is a great place to purchase apparel and grab everything you need for your camping trip! Not to mention, Jack Horner’s Corner offers some of the best soft-serve ice cream in the county along with pizza, barbeques, sandwiches, wraps and salads. 

Hillsboro Public House

Just a little over three miles south on Route 219 in Hillsboro, Hillsboro Public House serves delectable Appalachian-inspired grub and West Virginia craft beer, wine and cocktails — not to mention they host incredible live music during most weekends!

The Levels Depot 

Make a pit stop at The Levels Depot, which sells meats, cheeses and other produce and products from local farms, as well as houses the Levels Cafe — a great place to enjoy lunch and a latte.

Pocahontas County Outfitters:

Appalachian Sport

You can rent bikes, kayaks and canoes from Appalachian Sport and request shuttle services as well. Located off Route 219 in Marlinton, Appalachian Sport sells everything from fishing and hunting supplies to camping gear and apparel. And if you’re in need of some lodging, Appalachian Sport offers units above the shop.

Greenbrier Shuttles

Needing shuttle services? Check out Greenbrier River Shuttles, a female-owned shuttle service that offers vehicle shuttling for guests looking to embark on long-distance hikes. 

Ski Barn (Slaty Fork) & Snow Creek (Silver Creek) 

With two locations, Ski Barn and Snow Creek offer rentals and guide services both at the base of the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Slaty Fork and at the entrance of Silver Creek. Not only are the two shops well-equipped with rentals, but offer gear, apparel and an array of outfitting, shuttling and guide services for your hiking adventure. The expert staff at Ski Barn and Snow Creek have been exploring these area trails for years, not only in Pocahontas County, but across the region in neighboring counties, so their expertise is valuable for those seeking the best hiking experience. 

Monongahela National Forest Offices :

Marlinton Ranger District: This office serves as your central hub for information about the Monongahela National Forest in Pocahontas County. Located conveniently in Marlinton, they can answer your questions about trails, camping, permits and more.

Cranberry Mountain Nature Center: A fun and educational stop for the whole family, the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center has interactive exhibits, informative programs and exciting activities for children. Learn about the region’s unique flora and fauna or explore the native plant garden and nature trails.

Greenbrier Ranger District: This office is located in Bartow. Some of the district’s highlights include Laurel Fork Wilderness, which offers a solitude-filled wilderness adventure for those looking to be a self-reliant traveler. Gaudineer Scenic Area features a gorgeous scenic overlook with an interpretive trail and a secluded picnic area.

The Monongahela National Forest has a variety of camping options to suit your needs. Choose from designated campgrounds or the secluded Middle Mountain Cabin for a comfortable base camp during your exploration of the area.

Plan Your Hiking Adventure Now

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