West Virginia has a number of trails with minimal obstacles. Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible. Here are just a few of them.
These links were found through Internet search. I would love to have some first-hand recommendations. With your help, we can share our knowledge with disabled people everywhere and also increase awareness of the need for more accessibility. Please e-mail me with your suggestions using the form in the sidebar.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests Supervisor’s Office Phone 540-265-5100
Phone numbers for the eight Ranger Districts Links to Maps Day Hikes National Forests Foundation: “The Jefferson National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The George Washington National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia and West Virginia.” Both of these Forests are primarily in Virginia. I am putting this one post in the pages for all three states. There are a ton of trails, many of them described as easy. You might pick an area you want to visit and call the appropriate Ranger District for advice.
Massanutten Storybook Trail in Lee Ranger District 0.5 miles described in Virginia Trail Guide. “…leads to a spectacular view overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Learn from the interpretive signs of how the Massanutten Mountains were formed.”
Lions Tale Accessible Trail for the Visually Impaired in Lee Ranger District 0.5 mile interpretive loop. Waymarking.com Backpacker.com “Listen to the gentle ripples of Passage Creek, feel the refreshing water running from the flume, and smell the sweet aromas of sassafras and birch.”
Pandapas Pond Loop Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District 0.9 mile “The pond is situated in a hardwood forest. Rhododendron and flame azalea are abundant. … The trail encircles both the pond and the adjacent wetland.”
Fenwick Nature Walk Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District. 1.0 mile. “…hikers can walk through an Appalachian forest, cross Mill Creek, pass through swampy wetlands, and get a nice view of a scenic waterfall. Wildflowers are abundant during the spring.”
Virginias Walk Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District 1.30 miles. “This 1.3 mile nature trail meanders around White Rocks Campground.”
Rhododendron Trail James River Ranger District. 0.12 miles There is a “…wonderful view of the Rich Hole Wilderness at the end.”
Beartree Lake Trail Mount Rogers National Recreation Area 0.8 miles paved and gravel-surfaced trail which encircles Beartree Lake.
Jackson River Fishing Trail Warm Springs Ranger District 0.85 miles. Primarily used for fishing access to the Jackson River, the trail follows an old roadbed and has scenic views of the river.
Hidden Valley West Trail in Warm Springs Ranger District 1.08 miles. Follows the Jackson River downstream.
Monongahela National Forest Phone 304-636-1800 Maps for Sale
Brochure and Map of Seneca Creek Backcountry
Lake Sherwood Area Brochure and Trails Map
Tea Creek Area Hiking Trails in Marlington Ranger District Map & Brochure
Falls of Hills Creek “The first 1700 feet of trail is a paved and has a wheelchair accessible path to the upper falls viewing platform.” “This popular 114 acre area contains three waterfalls – 25 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet. The lower falls, at 63 feet is the second highest waterfall in West Virginia.”
Whispering Spruce Trail #567 0.5 mile. “This nature trail winds through windblown rock where one can feel the sharp west wind blow. It then leads out to a point where giant boulders are scattered through an open field. Exceptional views to the east and west are seen beyond” “The wide hard graveled path has gentle slopes.”
Sherwood Lake Trail # 601 3.5 mile loop around Lake Sherwood. Judging from the topo map, this trail is pretty level. However, I haven’t found a difficulty rating. Call first.
New River Gorge National River Canyon Rim Visitor Center, 304-465-0508, Sandstone Visitor Center 304-466-0417, Thurmond Depot (seasonal) 304-574-2115, Grandview Visitor Center (seasonal) 304-763-3715
Fayetteville Area Trails Map
Canon Rim Boardwalk 0.1 mile “This boardwalk offers scenic views of the gorge and New River Gorge Bridge. An easy walk on a fully accessible ramp leads to the first viewing point…”
? There are three trails in the Fayetteville Area described as “easy”. They are the 1.2 mile Burnwood Trail, 1.1 mile Park Loop Trail, and the 1 mile Timber Ridge Trail. Call the Canyon Rim Visitor Center to learn if they are suitable for you.
Sandstone-Brooks Area Trails Map
Sandstone Falls Boardwalk 0.2 mile …crosses two bridges leading to islands and observation decks offering fantastic views of the falls and access to fishing areas.”
? The Island loop 0.5 mile is described as easy, but rocky. Better check with the Visitor Center to learn how difficult it is.
Blackwater Falls State Park Map Phone 304-259-5216 Trails Descriptions
There are a number of trails in this park rated for hiking as “beginner.” I am not sure what this means, but probably pretty easy.
Gentle Trail 0.25 mile “..a short, paved accessible path to an observation deck overlooking Blackwater Falls.”
Greenbrier River Trail State Park Trail Use Guidelines Phone 304-799-7416 Map Another Map
“The Greenbrier River Trail is a 78-mile long rail trail operated by West Virginia State Park system.” “The Greenbrier River Trail traverses one of the most remote areas in the state and lies adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest, Seneca State Forest and Watoga State Park. A trip along the trail is truly a “Wild and Wonderful” experience.””
Hawks Nest State Park Phone 304-658-5212 Map Trail Descriptions
? Hawks Nest Rail Trail “1.8 miles. One way. Easy. This gravel trail begins behind the Nature Center, follows Mill Creek, and ends near the town of Ansted. Two bridges, waterfalls, and remains of a coal mine that operated through the 1920s can be seen along this trail that was once a railway for coal trains. ” Be sure to call to find out if this can be accessed by wheelchair.
? The 0.5 mile Fisherman’s Trail and the 0.5 mile Park Loop Trail are described as “easy”. Call first.
North Bend State Park Phone 304-643-2931 Park Trail Map Trail Descriptions
Extra Mile Trail 0.6 mile round trip. “A self-guided paved interpretive trail for the disabled.”
North Bend Rail Trail 72 miles Map “The North Bend Rail Trail is a multi-use recreational trail operated by West Virginia State Parks. Formerly an abandoned spur of the CSX system, the trail is part of the 5,500 mile coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. Stretching 72 miles from I-77 near Parkersburg in Wood County to Wolf Summit in Harrison County, this scenic trail passes through 13 tunnels and crosses 36 bridges. Easily accessible from north/south Interstates 77 and 79, the trail nearly parallels US Route 50 east and west. ” rails-to-trails
Cranesville Swamp Preserve Nature Conservancy MD/DC Nature Conservancy WV
Trail Guide Brochure Phone WV 304-637-0160 Phone MD/DC 301-897-8570
“This 2,000 acre preserve straddling Maryland and West Virginia features five trails, including a 1,500 foot boardwalk.” I haven’t found any information as to whether you could get on the boardwalk in a wheelchair.
? “Although all trails are fewer than two miles and not difficult to walk, hiking boots are recommended as some trails may be muddy. “
Best Wheelchair Friendly Trails in West Virginia from AllTrails.com
Blooming Schedule for West Virginia by Maurice Brooks This great resource is on the website for the Monongahela National Forest, see above under Federal.
“This is a brief catalog of some of our favorite plant displays in West Virginia. It suggests times to see them, and how to get there. Dates given are only suggestive; in any given year vagaries of weather can upset any natural calendar by a week or more…I know of no other area in West Virginia which displays so many botanical climaxes as Dolly Sods. There will be frequent references to it. I have tried, however, to cover the state a little more thoroughly, and to follow a chronological pattern from spring to late autumn.”
This Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia is provided by West Virginia University.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in West Virginia.