What to do in Coopers Rock State Forest

**Information provivded by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources**

Coopers Rock State Forest gets its name from a legend about a fugitive who hid from the law near what is now the overlook. A cooper by trade, he resumed making barrels at his new mountain hideout, selling them to people in nearby communities. He lived and worked in the forest for many years.

During the Depression, between 1936 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built numerous structures in the forest, often using durable American chestnut wood from trees that succumbed to a blight that nearly wiped out the species. Eleven of these structures, including the rustic picnic shelters near the overlook, have been included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Coopers Rock State Forest is 13 miles east of Morgantown and 8 miles west of Bruceton Mills. Its 12,713 acres are bisected by Interstate 68. Although the forest serves as a recreation and preservation area, it has a wider range of uses. West Virginia's state forests also serve as areas of publicly owned land for forestry research, timber management, and watershed and wildlife protection.

The side north of Interstate 68, known as the WVU Forest, makes up the forest management area leased by the West Virginia University Division of Forestry for forestry research, teaching, and demonstration. To the south of I-68 is the main recreation area.

Bands of rockcliffs line the Cheat River Gorge and provide numerous overlooks. The centerpiece among these is the main overlook, which furnishes a panorama of the gorge and distant horizons. A maze of enormous boulders and cliffs fascinates hikers, and the trails are especially lovely in June when the rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom. Several trails wind through forest valleys and over ridges, and a number of creeks beckon the explorer. Glade Run is dammed to form a 6-acre pond that is regularly stocked with trout. The observant hiker can hear and sometimes see squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, owls, turkeys, turkey vulture, songbirds, fox and deer throughout the forest.

Picnicking

Numerous picnic sites and three shelters are provided for the enjoyment of forest visitors. These sites offer tables, grills, drinking water and toilet facilities. The shelters may be reserved by calling the forest office at 304-594-1561, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Picnic Shelters 1 & 2
Weekdays Weekends
$ 50.35 $ 100.70
These shelters will hold 100 people and they do have electric. Tax included in price.

Picnic Shelter 3
Weekdays Weekends
$ 34.45 $ 68.90
This shelter will hold 60 people and is located near Rock City Trail. Tax included in price.

Playground
Children's playgrounds are located in the campground and at various picnic areas.

Camping

Rates:.........................................$19.00
10% Discount to Senior Citizen 60 & older

All 25 sites have electric hookup
The campground opens April 1- December 1
Pets must be leashed and not left unattended
Price is for one tent or trailer per site and six people per site. Additional people are $3.00 per person and a maximum of 10 people permitted.
Hot showers are available in the showerhouse and water is available at an outside faucet
Firewood $4.00/bundle
Ice

$1.00/bag

Reservation policies

Up to 50 percent of the campsites at Coopers Rock State Forest are available for reservations, while the remainder are rented on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made by mail, phone or in person at least 2 days in advance for a minimum of 2 nights, up to a maximum of 14 nights. The reservation is held by paying a deposit of the entire camping fee plus a $5 handling charge. Campsite numbers will not be guaranteed; however, every effort will be made to assign the campsite requested. Payment may be made by check, money order, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover.

The camping reservation season begins the Friday before Memorial Day and ends Labor Day. Reservation requests are accepted from February 15th preceding. If a reservation is canceled more than seven days in advance the deposit will be refunded (except the first night's rental and a $5 handling charge).

You may print a campground reservation form to send by mail. Adobe Acrobat Reader required. Get adobe here.

The campground is open April 1 through mid-December (weather permitting). Only one tent or trailer is allowed per site, and check-out time is noon.

Recreation
Hunting and Fishing

Properly licensed individuals are welcome to hunt or fish in-season, in specified areas.No hunting zones surround all forest recreational facilities.

Hiking/BikingNearly 50 miles of trails wind through the forest.

Clay Furnace Trail - 1 mile. Red BlazeThis trail is a fairly level grade, however, it does have a few steep sections. Beginning at the furnace parking area, the trail ends at the Henry Clay iron furnace. Approximate walking time: 40 minutes.

Clay Run Trail - 2 1/2 miles. Blue BlazeView the historic Henry Clay Iron Furnace at the end of this moderate hiking trail. The trail begins across the road from the McCollum camping area entrance. Plan on spending about one hour and 15 minutes hiking this trail.

Darnell Hollow Trail - 4 miles.This moderate to steep hiking trail begins near the Calvary Church on Fairchance Road and ends at Chestnut Ridge Camp. Approximate walking time: 2 hours.

Glade Run Trail - 1 1/2 miles.Beginning at the left of Sand Springs Road and ending at Messinger Lake this trail is moderately steep and will take about 45 minutes to hike.

Goodspeed Highway Trail - 2 1/2 miles.This trail begins at the Quarry Run Road and leads to Chestnut Ridge Camp. Approximate walking time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Johnson Hollow Trail - 5 miles.A moderate to steep hiking trail that connects the Goodspeed Highway Trail with Quarry Run Road. Approximate walking time: 2 1/2 hours.

Ken's Run Trail - 4 1/2 miles.A moderate hiking trail running from the old Sand Springs homestead and ending at the archery range parking lot. Approximate walking time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Lick Run Trail - 1 1/2 miles.A moderately steep trail beginning at Sand Springs Road and ending at WV Rt. 73. Allow about 45 minutes to hike this trail.

Mont Chateau Trail - 3 miles. Yellow BlazeA moderate to steep trail that begins at the Henry Clay iron furnace and ends at Cheat Lake near the old Mont Chateau Lodge. Approximate walking time: 1 hour 45 minutes.

Rattlesnake Trail - 1 mile. Blue BlazeA moderate trail that connects the concession stand and Rock City. This trail will take approximately 40 minutes to hike.

Rhododendron Trail - 1 1/2 miles. Orange Blaze.This trail, which starts at the lower picnic area and ends at the Henry Clay iron furnace, is a perfect place to see our state flower, the rhododendron. The trail is moderately steep and requires about 45 minutes to hike.

Ridge Trail - 2 1/2 miles. Yellow Blaze.The ridge trail starts at the Rock City shelter, follows a moderate grade for 2 1/2 miles and connects with the Mont Chateau Trail. Approximate walking time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Rock City Trail - Red BlazeAn easy to moderate trail that runs from picnic shelter #3 to Rock City. Approximate walking time: 40 minutes.

Scott Run Trail - 2 1/2 miles. Yellow Blaze.A moderately steep hiking trail beginning near the forest entrance parking area and ending at teh McCollum camping area. Approximate walking time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Virgin Hemlock Trail - 1.2 milesVisit a large hemlock grove which is over 300 years old at the end of this trail which starts at WV Rt. 73. Approximate walking time: 45 minutes.

Cross Country Ski Trails - (signed only)# Intermediate Loop - 2 miles A loop trail beginning at the parking lot near the forest entrance.# Advanced Trail - 3 miles Beginning at the parking lot, this trail leads to the Henry Clay iron furnace.

Location
Exit 15 off I-68, turn south and follow signs, 13 miles east of Morgantown and 8 miles west of Bruceton Mills.

Climate
West Virginia experiences four distinct seasons, none of which are extreme. Temperatures in the highlands of the Allegheny Mountains are somewhat more severe than the rest of the state. Generally temperatures during the winter months range from 15 to 40 degrees F. Ample snow accumulation provides for cross-country and downhill skiing opportunities. Spring brings blooming trees and shrubs to the forested regions of the state, as well as warmer temperatures. During this season, March through May, expect mild temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers are normally hot with high humidity, especially at lower elevations. Expect temperatures to range from 70 at night to 95 during the dog days of August. Fall brings cool, crisp air to West Virginia and spectacular foliage color changes. Bring a light jacket for this season, which brings temperatures between 35, at night, to 70 degrees F, during the day.

Address
Rt. 1 Box 270
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525

Phone: 304-594-1561

Email: coopersrock@wvdnr.gov
  • Coopers Rock State Forest  Travel Q&A

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