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A trail system has been established on the more than 16,000 acre Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, opening 31 miles of existing roads and trails for wildlife observation, photography and education. Trails are open from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset, daily. Ten miles will be open exclusively for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. Thirty one miles are open to year-round pedestrian use (walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing). Twenty three miles are also open to bicycles. Twenty two miles are also open for horses. Seven miles are open for vehicles, bicycles, horses and pedestrian use.

1. Freeland Boardwalk Trail: (0.4 mile, including loop) Easy. Nice views of Canaan Valley abound on this short accessible boardwalk leading through a wet field, shrubland, and past a beaver pond and bubbling spring. An easy walk takes visitors to a stand of balsam fir, a plant community typical of Maine and Canada. Pedestrian only.

2. Idlemans Run Trail: (0.4 mile, one way) Moderate. This short pedestrian trail travels through woodlands along Idlemans Run. Trail length is 0.39 mile and is for pedestrian use only. Return on Forest Road 80 and back to make a loop which totals 0.9 miles. 

3. Beall (pronounced “bell”) Trails: (4.5 mile total miles) Moderate. A parking area at the end of Beall Lane Road, off Cortland Road, leads to 4.53 miles of trails. Loops go north and south from the parking area. Beall North trails pass through forest, field, shrub swamp, and bog habitats, with Hemlock Spur Trail leading to the Blackwater River. Beall South trails offer good opportunities for viewing grassland birds, before dipping into the forest, down to the Blackwater River. Pedestrian only. Beall Bridge Trail, at 0.5 miles, allows access for bicycles, horses, and pedestrians.

Forest Road 80: (1.9 miles) Moderate. This public access route is open for pedestrians, bicyclers, horse-back riders, and vehicles. Forest Road 80 provides access from the valley to Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.

5. Brown Mountain Trail: (2.4 miles, one way) Moderate. The Brown Mountain Trail travels north from the Camp 70 parking lot. This is a pleasant trail through the forest with a gently increasing grade. It leads to Brown Mountain Overlook Trail. Listen for different woodland birds, including scarlet tanagers and a variety of warblers. Open for pedestrian, horse and bicycle use.

6. Brown Mountain Overlook: (2 mile loop) Moderate. This loop on the valley floor provides a beautiful overlook of Canaan Valley's wetlands. Watch for a variety of water birds and wetland plants. Pedestrian only.

7. Camp 70 Loop: (2.8 miles, round trip) Moderate. Camp 70 Loop Trail travels east from the parking area. Provides excellent views of beaver ponds and the central wetlands. It is open for pedestrian, horse, and bicycle use.

A-Frame Road and adjacent trails: The road is 9 miles long from Route 93 to the endpoint at the Refuge parking lot. The road passes through the forested slopes of Cabin Mountain for most of its length. In a few locations there are nice views of the valley. Parking is permitted in the designated lot and along roadsides on the Refuge. A-Frame Road is a public access route open for pedestrian, horse, bicycle, and vehicle use.

8. Cabin Mountain Trail: (2 miles, one way) Moderate to Difficult. Passes through forested habitat and travels up slope for a beautiful view of the Valley. Look for woodland birds and other wildlife. Open for pedestrian, horse, and bicycle use.

9. Cabin Mountain Spur: (0.8 mile, one way) Moderate. This is a steep trail travels through northern hardwood forest for most of its length. Easy access for this trail begins at the A-Frame Road parking lot. Open for pedestrian, horse, and bicycle use.

10. Sand Run Trail: (0.9 mile, one way) Moderate. Beginning on Cabin Mountain Trail, this trail travels through forested and wetland habitat to join with Middle Valley Trail. A variety of wildlife can be viewed on this trail. Pedestrian only.

11. South Glade Run Crossing: (0.8 mile, one way) Moderate. South Glade Run Crossing travels through forested and grassland habitats to connect Cabin Mountain trail to Middle Valley trail. The trail crosses Glade Run on a footbridge and has nice views of the Glade Run wetlands. Open for pedestrian, horse, and bicycle use.

12. Middle Valley Trail: (6 miles, one way) Moderate; Blaze-White Rectangle; This trail crosses Sand Run and Glade Run as it travels along a low sandstone ridge. Near Glade Run alder thickets harbor unique plant and animal species. Bog goldenrod and cottongrass grow in the northern reach of the trail. From spring through fall be on the lookout for savannah sparrows, vesper sparrows, American bittern and many different warblers. Open for pedestrian, horse and bicycle use.

13. Blackwater View Trail: (1.4 mile, one way) Moderate. This trail travels from Middle Valley Trail, through forest, and ends at the Blackwater River. Look for belted kingfishers flying along the river and bald eagles soaring high above. Listen for wood frogs and spring peepers calling from ponds along the trail in the springtime. Open for pedestrian, horse, and bicycle use.

14. Valley Overlook: (0.1 mile, one way) Difficult. Experience a beautiful view of the northern end of Canaan Valley. The Valley Overlook is a short steep trail. Pedestrian only.

Page Photo Credits — Visitor on the boardwalk - Credit: Laura Moul.
Last Updated: May 01, 2014
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