The Quick Fix


Oct 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Hiking the Cranberry Backcountry and Wilderness
West Virginia has more than 1,500 miles of hiking trails, including the Allegheny Trail, a 300-mile north-south path, mostly in the Mon Forest. If you can't spare a month to take it on, head down to the Cranberry Backcountry and Wilderness, a little-known 62,000-acre wildlife oasis with more than 100 miles of remote trails. Start with the Cow Pasture Trail, which flanks the Cranberry Glades, a bog where orchids grow. From there, head north and hike to spruce and hemlock forest on Trail 102 along the South Fork of the Cranberry River before heading east (Trail 271) along the Williams River. The entire wilderness is a black bear sanctuary, but keep your eyes peeled for mink and bobcat, too.
HOW TO GO You don't need a permit to hike or camp in the Cranberry. There are three-sided Adirondack shelters along the South Fork of the Cranberry that are free to use on a first-come, first-served basis; tents and good navigation skills are required. Information and free trail maps can be found at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, just down the road from the town of Mill Point. Stock up on bug spray and stove fuel at Appalachian Sport (304-799-4050,, in Marlinton.
LODGING Off trail, check out the funky, restored pre-Civil War cabins at the Jerico Bed and Breakfast (304-799-6241,