There is never a path to nowhere for an ATV rider. All trails lead somewhere, but many times the journey IS the destination. The Hatfield-McCoy Trail system has been the destination and the jumping off point for thousands of riders and their individual journeys. Some venture only to the next town. For others it is the beginning of a lifetime of adventures.
The Hatfield-McCoy trail system just gets better with time. The system is already one of the largest, most well organized recreational trail networks in the country, yet there are always plans to expand into new areas, creating a trail bridge to neighboring communities. As each part of the network was built and opened to the public the planners of Hatfield-McCoy created distinct names, often times reflecting the systems individual characteristics. Each system has its own personality and while some systems are more scenic than others or include more challenging terrain, there are beautiful views and excellent riding to be found in every system. The entire Hatfield-McCoy system is open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access ATV friendly towns.
Visit any trail head on the Hatfield-McCoy system and you will find license plates from across the Midwest, the East, and the South. Clearly it’s not just the locals using the system, and it has been a welcome addition to the local economy. The Hatfield-McCoy system was not created without an immense amount of foresight, work, and commitment from many talented individuals, and it also wasn’t created in a single year. Today parts of the trail system have been in place for a dozen years but Hatfield-McCoy continues to improve and expand. We wanted to see the latest sections.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CONNECTIONS – THE NEW WARRIOR TRAIL SYSTEM
The term “outlaw” trails isn’t exactly accurate. A better description might be “unofficially recognized”, but whatever you call them they are really the unmarked, unmaintained trails local riders use to get around. The problem is, they’re not always the safest or they can sometimes venture onto private property. McDowell County, West Virginia has long had its share of unrecognized trails, and now some are joining the big league as part of the Hatfield-McCoy system. It’s a welcome change and a great opportunity for the local communities. The new Warrior Trail System will have access to the towns of War and Gary, and the City of Welch! The new system, which is just now being completed, is scheduled for a fall opening and will include a connector from the Indian Ridge trails. This will expand on the tourism generated by Hatfield-McCoy while providing unmatched riding and recreational opportunities. The trailhead for the new Warrior Trail is located in War, West Virginia, and when opened there will be 70 miles of new trails to explore. Once again, the planners of Hatfield-McCoy are on the gas!
FOUR WHEEL HEAVEN INVITE – TRAILSIDE LODGE
We had an invitation from Michael and Marcus Constantino from Four Wheeler Heaven to come down for a few days of riding, and to take in the local 4th of July celebrations. Four Wheeler Heaven is exactly the type of business state and local leaders had hoped to inspire with the creation of the Hatfield-McCoy system. The Constantino’s spotted an opportunity to serve the riders that would be enjoying the system, and they built Four Wheeler Heaven to meet those needs. Today Four Wheeler Heaven is actually two distinct houses – Blizzards Roost and Coaldale Condo - that can be rented by the day, weekend, or week. Both are very well equipped for everything you could need for your stay including towels, linens, utensils, coffeemaker and even a crockpot. A BBQ grill is onsite as well, and after a day of riding you can start burgers on the grill and cool off in the heated pool! A washer and dryer on site make it easy to keep you and your gear clean, and a grocery store only a couple miles away means you can shop for supplies when you arrive. Both places are clean, homey, and super convenient.
Just across the street from Four Wheel Heaven is the trail! Turn left to hit the Indian Ridge system, or go right to enter the Pocahontas trails. It doesn’t get any easier than this! The new Hatfield McCoy Trail Welcome Center is across the street where you can ask staff member’s questions, pick up trail passes, and explore maps of the system. There is ample parking for trucks and trailers as well. Just like the Hatfield-McCoy system, the Four Wheeler Heaven team is always looking forward, and new for 2018 they are offering the following:
- 4 new RV spaces
- A third rental house is under construction
- New secure garages for machine lockup
- New TRAIL CAM @ fourwheelerheaven.com/trailcam
- New 7in. Trail Tablets available with all the trails downloaded and GPS mapping.
Four Wheeler Heaven is now offering tablets with preloaded trail maps! The map includes both Hatfield-McCoy trails and other well-known trails in southern West Virginia. The idea sprung from requests by guests and it’s a first. We know of no other ride area offering this type of technology. If you intend to book a reservation and are interested in renting a tablet during your stay please let Mike and Marcus know. They’ll be happy to get you safely on your way. Any way you look at it, Four Wheeler Heaven certainly lives up to its name!
FRIENDLY BRAMWELL and the POCAHONTAS TRAILS
The Pocahontas trail system is a good mix of tight, winding trails and open mining or logging haul roads. Total mileage of the Pocahontas trail system is approximately 57 miles with about half being rated easy enough for beginners or new riders, and the rest at various levels of difficulty. Thankfully, the trails are well marked with numbers and color coded tags that represent what you can expect. Most of the Pocahontas trails are relatively dry, but depending on the season, you can expect plenty of mud and water holes. As with all the Hatfield-McCoy trail systems, access to gas, food, camping and lodging is extremely easy, and in most cases you can drive right up to the pump or restaurant.
We had visited historic Bramwell in the past and it was very nice to get back there to celebrate the 4th of July. The town sprung to life during the logging and mining heyday of decades past, and at one time could boast of more millionaires and their lavish trappings than any other place in the country. Today the pace is a little slower, but it’s got a charm that draws people in. Mayor Louis Stoker graciously gave us a tour, and the local citizens were happy to assist. The fourth of July brings out the best in people! During the festival all local restaurants and shops were open and we are especially fond of the Bramwell Soda Fountain and Corner Shop. It’s a delightful, old-fashioned soda fountain that takes you back several decades as soon as you enter their door. It’s fun! It’s not the only game in town though and there are several other restaurants and shops worth visiting.
A LIFETIME of ADVENTURE AWAITS
The Hatfield-McCoy system is continually evolving and it is already the largest contiguous trail system east of the Mississippi. There is no sign of them slowing down anytime soon. They welcome off-road riders like no place else, and for that reason and the excellent trails, once again Hatfield-McCoy and this region leads the nation. There are many choices for clean, comfy places to stay, and excellent trail access with connecter routes into towns where you can fill up both you and your machine. Best of all, it’s the jumping off point for a thousand new adventures. Go out and live one!
Special thanks to Mayor Louis Stoker for her gracious hospitality and joining us at the Corner Shop, Princeton Power Sports, Four Wheeler Heaven, The Corner Shop, Main Street Eatery, HillBilly Heaven Trail Guide Service LLC, the Town of Bramwell, Visitmercercounty.com, Hatfield McCoy Trails. And especially the Constantino Family for giving us one of the best off road weekends ever!
HATFIELD- McCOY TRAIL TIPS **************************
If you’re going to be riding in West Virginia there are a few things you need to be prepared for. Trail terrain can vary widely, from easy trails to challenging climbs littered with rocks. There is always a little (and sometimes a lot) of mud to be found thanks to water weeping out of the hillsides as well. It’s exactly the type of terrain most ATV and Side x Side riders love, but we recommend you bring a tire repair kit and a small 12v compressor along just to be safe. Speaking of safety, it’s always a good idea to bring snacks, water, a few tools and duct tape, a tow strap, and even a small medical kit. Cell service can be spotty, but you’ll want your camera so bring it along. We guarantee you’ll find plenty of places for great pictures. The other thing you should definitely bring along is a map, and even a GPS.
FOUR WHEELER HEAVEN
11197 Coal Heritage Rd, Bramwell, West Virginia
phone: (855) 587-2457
THE CORNER SHOP - BRAMWELL SODA FOUNTAIN and CORNER SHOP
Named one of top 101 most unusual places to dine in West Virginia, The Corner Shop is a delightful old-fashioned soda fountain.
171 Main Street Bramwell, West Virginia 24715
phone. (304) 248-7632
Pocahontas Trail: 174 Simmons Ave., Bramwell, WV 24715
phone: (800) 592-2217
SISTERS COFFE HOUSE
1606 W Main Street Princeton, WV
phone: (304) 487-8701
BRAMWELL WV and MERCER COUNTY
Mercer County offers the off-road enthusiast a vast and scenic trail network and a county known for its hospitality, great food, and wealth of history.