The Hatfield-McCoy Trails (Yes, THOSE Hatfields & McCoys!) are named for two families who could never quite get along near the West Virginia and Kentucky border after the Civil War. We had heard about these trails for some time now and decided to finally make the trip.
The trails are made up of several individual trail systems; some are connected by connector trails. We picked the Indian Ridge trail system with the hopes of also exploring the newest Pocahontas trail system. The area is made up of thick forest, rolling hills and a ton of fun, twisty trails. There are several places to stay but finding information about them online was almost impossible. We resorted to looking at UTV forums like rzrforums.net. Typically these sites will have a trail section where people share knowledge of places they have visited. We booked a warm cabin with direct access to the trails at Ashland Resort, WV.
Starting with a crude paper map and a few ideas of places to visit gleaned from last night’s campfire conversations with others staying at the park, we set off. The trails were marked and labeled with carsonite signs, and with the help of a map, we could somewhat figure it out. We quickly got the picture that most people just drive without looking at a map until they absolutely need to. While most of the short interconnecting trails were easy to moderate terrain with only a few difficult spots, one of the scariest was located on a steep ledge with a big tree root about the size of our rear tire. It took a few tries to get over the spot due to the slippery mud. The other tough spot was a tight squeeze up a rock ledge. If you missed the correct line, there was nowhere to go but down the side of the hill. Both these spots were avoidable.
As we climbed the hillside on some very fun muddy trails, we noticed several trails that continued off the sides but had markers saying “No Entry.” These trails lead to a joining area called the Outlaw Trail System – open to the publicand free to use. You do not need a riding permit to ride the Outlaw Trail System. You are required, however, to purchase a permit when riding on the Hatfield & McCoy Trails.
Our curiosity grabbed hold and we diverted north on our adventure. The first stop was at Rider’s Paradise, a place dedicated to the OHV enthusiast. Here they serve food and beverages as well as provide some lodging. It’s a good place to stop and take a break and stretch the legs. The owner pointed us towards a place he called the “Trestles.” The next few hours of riding ended up being the best part of our day. We rode along tracks and crossed under the train trestles several times on the easy trail. We love it when a trail offers something unique. Realizing that the Outlaw trail system had too many trails to cover in a day, so we decided to head back to the Hatfield-McCoy trails.
We used the main roads in the town of Crumpler and quickly re-connected to the trails. There was one last loop to make using trail #64. It had scenic views; two small waterfalls and we also caught a glimpse of our cabin below. We finally pulled into camp and reflected on the unique terrain and trails we had encountered. We are giving this place a healthy thumbs up and would gladly have stay 2-3 days more exploring the area.
Matt Peterson is co-author of FUNTREKS GUIDEBOOKS Inc., located in Monument, CO.