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Hatfield McCoy Trails, West Virginia - April 25-29, 2007

Several Members on the ODSC website talked about the off-road trail system in West Virginia and gave it great ratings.  A group was heading down at Easter but a chance arose to take a mid-week trip with Dennis Lever so we decided to do it conditionally - we'd check the weather a few days before and head down if it looked good.  The weekend the ODSC guys were there, a huge storm went across most of the Eastern USA and we wondered what happened.  Monday Toronto Star had this picture 

I'd just booked our hotel, the Super 8 in Logan, WV, a few days earlier and asked about restaurants.  "We have a Shoney's and a Taco Bell right at the door" they said. Well, we decided to go anyway and, sure enough, it was our hotel but fortunately the waters had receded and we had great weather there.  Look at the "Before/After" picture.   Turns out we made a good choice - the hotel is centrally situated for most of the spread out trail system, it was only $58/night and they offered free Hi-Speed Wi-Fi. 

Heading south after a long winter
Our hotel had remained above the flood level!

The Hatfield McCoy trail system comprises 6 separate riding areas - all on private land, mainly owned by mining and logging companies - check out their website here..  There's a great variety of trails for everyone from novice to expert, with all the trails being well mapped and signed.  It's really impossible to get lost there so leave your GPS at home (I may as well have, as I forgot my RAM mount and could not use it!) - the printed maps are so good, and they are available at each area showing the trails open that day.  The storm that went through the previous weekend had caused a lot of damage and flooding, resulting in some areas being closed and some trails being "open, with caution".  The areas are so extensive that we really weren't inconvenienced. 

Dingess Rum and Browning Fork Trails, near Logan
Dennis at Dingess Rum
Lot's of ATVs there - guess they are attracted by the mud holes
Bet this was impassible a few days earlier
Brownings Fork

Most riders trailered their bikes to the different areas but we were able to ride there and I found most of the roads were more fun than many of the trails.  I'd gladly go back there on my V-Strom and stay on the pavement!

Getting there ...
Great paved roads in West Virginia

The storm on the previous weekend had caused a lot of damage and many sections were completely closed to all traffic, according to their website.  If you checked at the Ranger Office you found which areas were passable with caution.  Actually, when buying a Trail Pass you must sign a waiver and all riding is at your own risk and they don't require vehicles to be insured!

Storm damage
Many fallen trees still not cleared
Some "closed"areas were "Open at your own risk".
Buffalo Mountain entrance from the town was closed

We rode Dingess Rum trails on Thursday, Browning Fork, with a side trip to the Buffalo Creek flood Disaster site, on Friday morning and Pinnacle Creek later in the afternoon. On Saturday we went north to Little Coal River , and then I headed over to Buffalo Mountain after Dennis decided to quit for the day, as we were heading home the next day.

Other Trails
Little Coal River
Buffalo Mountain
Pinnacle Creek

Overall observations:  an excellently managed trail system with lots a variety of trails to suit all riding levels.  Reasonably priced at $18 for a day pass and $39 for 3-7 days and $80 for an annual pass.  WV residents get their annual pass for $27!  Many of the riding areas are heavily wooded and there are surprisingly few scenic overlooks - if your riding involves "smelling the roses" you may grow weary of riding seemly similar looking trails all day.  If you are riding Dualsport, then try riding between the different areas, the paved roads are amazingly good.  On a saftey note, be aware there are many ATVs on the trails and you may meet one, or another motorcycle, head-on around any corner.  Insurance is not required to ride there and you are entirely at your own risk.  Would I go again?  Probably not, there are equally good trails in Ontario if you know where to look :-)

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This page last updated on July 10, 2007