Within the border of Pocahontas County, WV is more than one-third of the 900,000-acre Monongahela National Forest, a vast paradise of forest land and natural wilderness areas. It is home to literally hundreds of miles of trails and back roads. The Monongahela provides a wide range of recreational opportunities, from backcountry camping and hiking to mountain biking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and visitor centers are located throughout the forest. Many outstanding Pocahontas County attractions are a part of the forest, including the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, Cranberry Backcountry, Cranberry Wilderness Area, Falls of Hills Creek and the Highland Scenic Highway. Go directly to the Appalachian Highlands Photo Gallery.
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is the largest region of bogs in West Virginia. If flowers and plants are your interest, you will enjoy seeing a variety of rare species common to the northern tundra growing here in this Appalachian setting. A convenient, half-mile boardwalk will allow you to take a leisurely stroll through two of the bogs. The boardwalk is also wheelchair accessible. As you walk along the boardwalk, you might see some of these plants: Bishop’s Cap, Jewelweed, False Hellebore, Indian Pipe, Turtlehead, Wild Raisin, Sundew, Grass Pink Orchid, and the Pitcher Plant.
Located in mid-eastern West Virginia in the Monongahela National Forest, Cranberry Glades is one of many exciting natural attractions in this beautiful highlands area. Here you can enjoy unlimited recreational opportunities including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, and fishing. We spent three days touring this delightful NFS wilderness in May 1999.
Driving along scenic Route 39 west of Mill Point and east of Richwood, there is a quiet area where three rambunctious waterfalls flow — each more spectacular than the other. One of the highlights of our adventure in the national forest was a hike through the Hill Creek gorge to the three different falls. It's fun going down, and a gorgeous walk through the woods, but your legs better be in shape for the climb back up; it's steep. We were huffin' and puffin'. It may not be the Rocky Mountains, but still at more than 3000 feet, it takes your breath away.
For wildflower enthusiasts, the forest carpet is alive with over 40 species of blooms, mostly in the spring through early summer. With a 63 foot cascade, the Lower Falls of Hill Creek is the second highest waterfall in the state of West Virginia. Located five miles from the Cranberry Visitor Center in the national forest, the 25 foot Upper Falls has a paved and easily accessible trail, but it stops there. The rest of the way down is dirt trail. The Middle Falls drop 45 feet. At the bottom of the trail, we were all smiles. Back up top we were looking for heart attack monitors.
Starting at the Cranberry Visitor Center on WV state route 39/55 and ending on US 219 north of Marlinton at the summit of Elk Mountain, enjoy 23 miles of changing elevation from 2900 to 4500 feet passing by the highest point in West Virginia, Spruce Knob. Four scenic overlooks along the way and dozens of NFS trail heads provide spectacular views of the Allegheny highlands.
While the Highland Scenic Highway is one of West Virginia’s most spectacular automobile destinations, you will want to get out of the car to take in the smells, listen to the wind, and scan for wildlife. Clear days offer astounding views of cloud inversions, hillsides colored with brilliant spring wildflowers, or a collection of crimson colored leaves across panoramic mountains during autumn.
Proceed to the Appalachian Highlands Photo Gallery