Marion County, West Virginia

Riding the Mountains in Logan County, West Virginia

Find heritage and culinary delights in the Hatfield-McCoy Region

By Brenda Kissko

If it has to be summed up, Logan County, in southern West Virginia, can be thought of as a storied destination ripe with new discoveries around every bend. This is the land where Shawnee Princess Aracoma fell in love with British soldier Boling Baker during the French and Indian War. This is a place named for Chief Logan, a Christian Native American who befriended the white settlers and was even named after one. This is where the “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Randolph McCoy families carried out their decade-long feud. And now, they’re the namesakes for the area’s vast ATV trails.

Take a ride on the wild side

Southern West Virginia has long been known as one of the biggest coal-producing regions of the country, but now it’s on the map for another reason. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails are one of the largest ATV trail systems in the country, offering more than 600 miles of professionally managed trails to ride and attracting visitors from around the world. There are seven trail systems that make up the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, with more on the way.

Two of the trail systems’ trailheads are in Logan County: Bearwallow (in Ethel) and Rockhouse (in Man). Bearwallow is open to ORVs (off-road vehicles like Jeeps and trucks), as well as the ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes the rest of the trails allow. This trail system is known for its great mix of easy rides along beautiful vistas to difficult, adrenaline-pumping trails. Someone who has never been on an ATV before can enjoy these trails just as much as a veteran rider. There’s a good mix of gorgeous drives through changing terrain, making the Hatfield-McCoy Trails one of the best ways to see the West Virginia countryside. And there’s several places to rent ATVs and book guided tours.

©BRENDA KISSKO

Kick off your day at the Rockhouse trailhead. Grab a map and take trail 33 to The Overlook for a breathtaking view of the Appalachian Mountains, which seem to go on forever. Then, take trail 31 and 13 to the waterfall, where the creek cascades over fern-covered rocks and nearby boulders invite you to sit a while. You’ll wind through lush forests and past flowering shrubs and climbing vines on your route. Keep your eyes peeled for owls, turkeys and deer.

Rockhouse connects with the Devil Anse trail system, which links to the Buffalo Mountain trail system, giving you more than 300 continuous miles to explore.

You’ll love the ATV-friendly towns along the trails, making it super convenient for you to discover local eats, listen to live music and refuel. You can drive your ATV within 10 miles of the trailheads. Just be sure to have the protective eyewear and helmet required on the trails and the roads.

As you exit Rockhouse to ride into Man, you’ll drive over a train trestle now repurposed for Hatfield-McCoy Trail riders. You’ll also cross the Guyandotte River, a popular place to fish and kayak, with kayak rental outfitters in the area.

Share
©BRENDA KISSKO
©BRENDA KISSKO

The drink of the devil

No real outlaw visits Hatfield-McCoy country without stopping at Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine. Master distiller Chad Bishop crafts authentic moonshine using Devil Anse’s original recipe. Chad’s mother-in-law, Nancy Hatfield, is the oldest living descendent of Devil Anse, and her father left her the recipe written on cloth, folded in a bible. Make the drive to the small-batch distillery to meet Chad, see his stills and learn how he’s making moonshine in the mountains, just like his ancestors did.

He tries to source as much as possible from right here in West Virginia. His labels, boxes, shirts and even his corn come from the Mountain State. Ask Chad about the hearts, mids and tails of liquor, and you’ll see why he’s a true craftsman and why his moonshine is so smooth.

Share
©BRENDA KISSKO

Appalachian eats

Another long-standing tradition in southern West Virginia is the act of breaking bread together. If you stroll through downtown Logan in the morning, you’ll run into locals and visitors lining up at Nu-Era Bakery for donuts, cream horns and those famous pepperoni rolls, the official food of the state. Italian immigrants Romy and Giovanna Comoretto opened this bakery in 1940 after moving here for a job in the coal industry. Libby and Larry Albright now own the bakery and continue to use the original recipes from Italy. And there’s good news—when you’re back home and craving authentic West Virginia pepperoni rolls (which you will), Nu-Era will ship them right to your door.

Walk across the street to Hot Cup Coffee, where not only can you get a great latte—try the iced Butterbeer macchiato—but also buy local art and once a month listen to live music. Their “Nerd Cave” is a cool place to share a cup of joe, and if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll squeal with delight when you see an exact replica of the cupboard under the stairs. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a book.

For lunch, grab hot dogs and fried chicken at Morrison’s Drive-Inn, open for more than 70 years and still serving curbside. For dinner, Chirico’s Ristorante & Fine Catering in Logan is the place to go to experience more of the Italian influence that runs deep here. Start with addictively delicious garlic bread, and then take your pick from a long list of traditional Italian dishes. Save room for dessert—their signature butter brickle is out-of-this-world.

After dinner, check out the Coalfield Jamboree Theater’s schedule. Catch a theatrical production, rock, bluegrass or gospel concert in this restored theater built in 1938.

Share
©BRENDA KISSKO

Stay awhile

You’ll find a wide variety of places to stay in Logan County, including hotels and motels, cabins and campgrounds.

Rent a luxury log cabin, furnished with pieces made from local cherry, pine and black walnut. You’ll find that some cabins feature unique touches, such as a lamp made from Devil Anse’s whiskey bottle and a mounted black bear at the top of a tree in the middle of one of the cabins.

You can also rent cottages in the area that present more like brand-new, full-size homes, with four private bedrooms, a full kitchen (showcasing West Virginia-made Fiesta® Dinnerware), dining room and fireplace. Patios overlook fire pits and feature furniture built by local vo-tech students. And the biggest lodge in the area is also local-minded—the coffee, lotion and soap in your room are made in West Virginia, and the bottled water is from Berkeley Springs State Park in the northern part of the state.

In Chief Logan State Park, you can swim, hike, fish and bike. Watch a theatrical production put on by The Aracoma Story, Inc. in the serene amphitheater, learn the area’s history at the museum, shop the recently opened gift shop and see bears in the wildlife refuge. Dance to Appalachian music every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. at Pickin’ In The Park.

To top it off, there are big plans to expand the Hatfield-McCoy Trails soon—as if you needed another reason to visit Logan County.

Share

Find more fun activities in Logan County.