Trails

Buckley Mainland (surrounding the Visitor Center near Williamstown, WV)

Birds and Butterflies Trail: This short loop is meant to showcase pollinator habitat, which the refuge manages to provide habitat for Monarch Butterflies, other butterfly species, and native bees. This is the trail visible from the visitor center parking area.  It is approximately 0.1 miles in length.

Upland Trail: Branches off the Birds and Butterflies Trail. The trail is meant to offer a look at the upland forest typical of areas adjacent to the river, which features a mix of trees and wildlife not seen as often on the floodplain or islands.  It is gravel, turning into a single track footpath when it veers off the gravel road. It is hilly, passing in and out of three ravines, then tracing up to a ridge before looping back to the visitor center.  It is approximately 1.2 miles in length.

Riverview Trail: Branches off the Birds and Butterflies Trail. In contrast to the Upland Trail, this trail offers a look at the Riparian Forest that grows exclusively on the floodplain and the river islands. This type of forest attracts a special collection of insects and migratory birds.  After descending to the lower floodplain on a gravel trail, the path turns to mowed grass.  The trail is approximately 0.7 miles in length.

Middle Island (the most-visited refuge unit, located near St Marys, WV)

Backchannel Trail:  Accessed from the first parking area, immediately after crossing the bridge onto the island.  This trail follows the length of the Middle Island backchannel, offering periodic views of the backchannel throughout the year (expansive views in winter when their is no foliage).  Like all trails on Middle Island, the trail is flat and six feet wide.  Trail is approximately 1.6 miles one way.  Can be combined with other trails to create a longer loop.

Nature Trail: This trail is most easily accessed from the second parking area, adjacent to the refuge buildings. Follow a 0.2 mile trail through meadow to a bird blind, where the trail splits into the Nature Trail Loop.  This 1.2 mile loop travels through meadow and riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
forest, and overlaps the Backchannel trail for a stretch, thus offering views of all the habitats of the island: meadows, riparian forest, and river backchannel.

Headland Trail:  This trail is most easily accessed from the third parking area, located at the end of the gravel road.  The trail goes through the most dense and mature riparian forest on the island, crossing back to the parking area via a powerline tract.

Back Channel Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.32
View Trail

Barrier Free Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.19
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Riverview Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.56
View Trail

Birds and Butterflies Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.13
View Trail

Buffalo Creek Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.72
View Trail

Headland Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.14
View Trail