Due to the fact that West Virginia is mostly mountains and 80% forested, it is no wonder that backpacking is popular here.

A quick survey of a trailhead parking lot on a busy weekend will show that people come from all over the east coast to backpack on the public lands in WV. Why? Lush forests, mountain streams, big views, and backcountry swimming holes call to those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Most of the backpacking areas in WV are in the Monongahela National Forest, located in the eastern part of the state. Are you looking for big views? The North Fork Mountain trail has 26 miles of them. Are you looking for an area that will absorb a week long trip? Cranberry Wilderness/Backcountry is one of the largest wilderness areas in the east. Are you looking for an easy hike along a creek for a first time trip for the kids? Dolly Sods, Otter Creek and Laurel Fork wilderness areas would all fit the bill.

Best time to go:

Backpacking is great in all seasons, but the best times are in the spring and fall when the weather is cool and the number of hikers has decreased.


Snowglobes & Bear Prints:  The Rewards of Winter Backpacking (Highland Outdoors)
Backcountry Angling: Fishing WV's Remote Drainages (Highland Outdoors)

Other Resources:

WV Trails Map

Backpacking Education/Safety:

American Hiking Society - Hiking 101U.S. National Park Service- Hike SmartTrip PlanningCamping, Hiking,   United States Forest Service - Know Before You Go

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