Marion County, West Virginia

Adventure Along the Trail in Mercer County, West Virginia

Discover a place with unique heritage and natural beauty

By Brenda Kissko

Mercer County is one of the southernmost counties in West Virginia and offers a world-class ATV trail system, diverse history brought to life through its attractions and beautiful terrain.

Miles of trails

Adventurers from across the country gather at the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, one of the largest ATV trail systems in the U.S. The lush, rolling mountains of southern West Virginia have borne more than coal and timber; they’re home to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, which were developed to further foster tourism in the area and diversify the economy. These ATV trails have quickly become a popular way to see the Mountain State. Ride through the mountains for exhilarating outdoor experiences West Virginia is known for.

The Pocahontas Trail System, one of seven trail systems within the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, is located in Mercer County and connects to the Pinnacle Creek and Indian Ridge trails, giving riders access to 300 miles of connected ATV trails. ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes are all allowed on the trail.

Ride through the mountains for exhilarating outdoor experiences West Virginia is known for.

A ride here gets you up close to a rich ecosystem. Oak, pauper, maple and cherry trees line the trails. Birds and butterflies fly overhead. Wild grapevines climb the trees. The Bluestone River winds throughout. Wildlife seekers—keep your eyes peeled for raccoons, deer and black bears. Scents of pine, honeysuckle and wild rose follow you along the path.

Riders of all skill levels can enjoy West Virginia’s ATV trails, which are clearly marked “easiest” (green), “more difficult” (blue) and “most difficult” (red and black), providing experiences for every comfort level. Whether you want to stay dry and drive through the countryside or are looking to splash through large mud puddles and jump rocks, your entire group is sure to leave with lasting memories.

Bring your own ride or rent ATVs from WV ATV Resort & Rentals in Rock or Crazy Mountain Cycles in Bluefield. Both outfitters provide a variety of options and will teach you how to use the vehicles. Crazy Mountain Cycles also offers guided tours. The owner, Mark, knows the trails well—where the best jumps are, where the mud is and which trails provide the best opportunity to spot a baby bear (if you’re lucky).

explore wv’s atv trails

Ride through the mountains for exhilarating outdoor experiences West Virginia is known for.

Ride hard, rest easy

Take your pick from a wide variety of places to stay in Mercer County, including hotels, cabins, B&Bs and even well-appointed tree houses. 

Stay in cabins at The Mud Pit ATV Resort, where mornings are spent on rocking chairs overlooking the river and evenings are savored with s’mores around the fire pit. Some cabins sleep up to six with full kitchens, charcoal grills and mountain views. Or, stay in one of the more luxurious lodging options in the area, including large cottages and comfortable hotels.

Along the trails, you may run into visitors from places near and far like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas and Canada. You’ll likely leave with a few more friends than when you arrived. Trails are open 365 days a year, and trail permits are good for the entire year. In Mercer County, any season is a good season to ride the trails. Snow is an experience, not a hindrance. Rent a cabin during the holidays, and hit the powdery trails with your loved ones for action-packed family memories.

choose from a variety of accommodations

Where millionaires walked

Break up your trail rides with a drive through the ATV-friendly towns along the way.  You can ride your ATV within 10 miles of trailheads, which means you don’t need to ditch your ATV to discover local restaurants and shops. The Pocahontas trailhead is just outside of the historic town of Bramwell, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

While in Bramwell, which was once one of the richest towns in the country, walk Millionaire Row. Here, coal operators built opulent homes in close proximity to the nearby mines that produced some of the purest coal in the world. The coal from this area was once used to heat Buckingham Palace.

They’ll make you a soda the old-fashioned way with an original soda fountain that was restored in Chicago.

Grab a Bramwell walking tour map to read the stories of the historic mansions you’ll see along the streets. The Cooper House was one of the first in the U.S. to have a copper roof. The Goodwill House has a ballroom on its third floor. Houses here have studies with leather walls, conservatories we thought only existed in Clue the board game and children’s playhouses larger than many real homes today.

A walking tour will give you access to the outside of homes, but come back in June and December for a look inside during the Tour of Homes. Live music and period costumes take you back to a significant time in West Virginia’s history.

Put the Bramwell Soda Fountain and Corner Shop on the top of your must-eat-here list. Choose from their long list of cleverly named (and equally delicious) burgers like the Chubby Checker Burger, which includes macaroni and cheese between the buns, or the Beach Boys Burger, with grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce. They’ll make you a soda the old-fashioned way with an original soda fountain that was restored in Chicago. And ordering one of their famous milkshakes is a must-do.

After an indulgent shake, walk over to the Coal Heritage Trail Interpretive Center at the Historic Bramwell Depot, where you’ll learn about the region’s vast history of coal production.

experience rich history

They’ll make you a soda the old-fashioned way with an original soda fountain that was restored in Chicago.

Venture beyond the trails

Though the Hatfield-McCoy Trails are certainly what attracts so many visitors from across the country to southern West Virginia, many cite all the other fun things to do as the reason they keep coming back to the trails.

In Princeton, a vibrant art scene flourishes. Walk down Mercer Street, flanked by giant, colorful murals. You’ll even find one by famous muralist Patch Whisky. Visit the Mercer County War Museum and the Princeton Railroad Museum during the day, and return in the evening for varied entertainment—everything from bluegrass to ballet.

Head to Bluefield for local dining at spots like The Blue Spoon Cafe (try the Signature Blue on Bleu sandwich) and nightlife at The Big Whiskey BBQ Co., where you can savor ribs alongside live music.

Mercer County has two baseball teams and two state parks. The Bluefield Blue Jays and the Princeton Rays baseball teams play June through August. Hike around Pinnacle Rock State Park, which features a 3,100-foot-high sandstone formation. Fish, camp and picnic at Camp Creek State Park and Forest. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, visit the Lake Shawnee Abandoned Amusement Park. Not for the faint of heart, it’s considered one of the most haunted places in America.

A new trail system in the Hatfield-McCoy Trails will be opening soon, with more on the way, giving visitors even more reasons to plan a trip to Mercer County.


Explore the scenic terrain of Mercer County.