Monongahela National Forest
The Monongahela National Forest just might be the definitive high-mountain forest experience that includes roughly a million acres and reaches an elevation of 4,863 feet. More than 900,000 multi-use, public-access acres make this the ultimate natural escape. Breathtaking vistas, winding country roads, pristine streams and lush meadows await your exploration.
Teeming with wildlife, the Monongahela is home to black bear, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, woodcock, grouse and more. Campgrounds and picnic areas are plentiful. Extensive trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, many of them railroad grades, make the Monongahela a perennial favorite where visitors marvel at a natural utopia that seems to go forever.
Travel to any of the 6 districts (Cheat Ranger, Gauley Ranger, Greenbrier Ranger, Marlington Ranger, Potomac Ranger, and White Sulphur Ranger) that include spacious campgrounds and river sites that can be rented for family enjoyment. Most campgrounds feature extensive scenic hiking, biking and horseback riding trails that differ in the level of difficulty and length, with the 47 mile Dolly Sods Wilderness trails being the most popular. Cast your line out to catch one of the 87 species of fish in the various lakes, ponds, rivers, and 600 miles of streams, or enjoy the limited hunting opportunities available. Spend the day adventuring outside while you view scenery from the many observation towers and wait in anticipation to catch a glimpse of black bears, whitetail deer, and songbirds that are found in the area. Sign up for an interpretive hike to learn more about the surrounding area for a beneficial educational experience. If temperatures are smoldering, take a dip in the authorized swimming areas in the river and lakes, or rent boats and canoes to glide along the fresh waters. If you are feeling courageous, hit the trails on the Allegheny Mountains while you snowmobile, ski, or snowshoe across the blankets of snow atop the mountain.